Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley wrap-up our trip through memory lane with Amazing Spider-Man #13. Spidey takes a backseat to his new partner, J. Jonah Jameson, as he confronts his past mistakes.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
The gigantic “Big Man” that attacks our beloved heroes ends up being operated by Frederick Foswell Jr. (son of the original Big Man). His path to revenge on Spider-Man was set forth by a misguided Jonah on the day his father was buried.
Not only does Jonah continue to clean out as many of his past mistakes as he can, but he also saves Spidey’s ass. Before the issue’s end, he also makes a fool out of Mayor Kingpin, refusing to endorse him or let Spider-Man be used as political propaganda for the criminal mastermind.
JJJ has long been a favorite of Spider-Man’s many supporting characters, but right now we’re getting the best we’ve ever seen of the character. Chip Zdarsky’s fantastic Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man series started the trend–Nick Spencer has taken the ball and run with it with Amazing Spider-Man.
Peter and Jonah’s relationship is hilariously satisfying, loaded with so much heart. It’s also a place we haven’t gone before in Spider-Man comics, nor would it have worked before. Where we are now in Spider-Man history is the perfect time for this development, and it’s being handled by the perfect batch of creators.
Amazing Spider-Man #13 has plenty of gut-wrenching moments as well with Jonah revisiting the missteps of his path. Without these moments of pain and reflection, the emotional impact of his new role would fall short. The most impressive feat is that Spencer and Ottley illustrate these progressions without betraying the character we’ve loved all these years–he’s changing, but he still sticks to his guns.
Jonah is bettering himself, which is making Peter reflect and better himself as well. ASM #13’s message is clear, the mistakes of your past don’t own who you are today. The duo is perfect for each other and for compelling comic book reading.
The main plot of this issue brings back a lot of early Spider-Man characters (Big Man, The Enforcers), it’s hard not to get the feeling of “classic” Spidey. The slow-burning subplot carries a classic feel of its own, drenched in total mystery.
Scorpion is the latest to get roped into whatever Taskmaster and Black Ant are up to. He finds himself locked up with a handful of other villains and one of the many curious subplots continues to thicken.
Teasing and managing future drama in these subplot breaks are a part of comic book storytelling that is making a comeback. Nick Spencer does it masterfully, every little snippet we get makes us want to read the next issue immediately.
Ottley delivers another gorgeous issue, loaded with emotional beats and satisfying action. His artistic vision for Amazing Spider-Man is the evolution of what has always made the character such a comic book staple. The more classic elements and characters you bring into the mix, the more his art continues to shine.
Spencer and Ottley are a dream team working on the perfect title. Each issue hammers home the point more and more; we are in a great era for Amazing Spider-Man comics. The two words that come to mind the most are memorable and iconic.