Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson put their friendship and partnership to the test in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12. They’re in over their heads facing off against a parade of JJJ’s troubled past in the form of a death trap by Arcade.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
J. Jonah Jameson has been one of the most interesting characters in Spider-Man’s web over the last few years. He’s gone through some dramatic changes and developments, most of them leading to some unforgettable and enjoyable storytelling. Nick Spencer has picked up the thread and furthered JJJ’s growth as well.
Amazing Spider-Man #12 takes us through Jonah’s tragic history. A rare glimpse at the other side of the equation. We always see how Jonah makes Parker feel, but never get to see why exactly he’s prone to those activities. Any more time spent with Jonah is time well spent so this issue is loaded up.
There’s actually not a lot of Pete in this issue, outside of a few lines of banter and slick fighting moves. Ryan Ottley’s coming back from break didn’t exactly explode into our brains, but it’s still a damn good read. It’s easily the least Ottley has had to do so far on the series.
With a number of a blank, white backgrounds within Arcade’s JJJ History Death Trap, Ottley must’ve had an easy week. The pencils that we do get are flawless. Silly cartoon expressions blend perfectly with the sleek design and movement of action sequences. It’s nice to see Scorpion back in his classic, dull suit.
Story wise, there isn’t a lot of new information or development here. If you’re a decently well-read Spidey fan, the key moments covered here are common knowledge. The enjoyment comes from seeing Ottley illustrate the classic moments.
The writing may be on the wall for Jonah and Pete’s possible breakup of partnership. Amazing Spider-Man #12 is a major stress test for the two New Yorkers. How they come out of this death trap will either ruin or strengthen their relationship. Hopefully strengthen because I cannot stress enough how crucial JJJ has been to Spidey comics recently.
Outside of the few busy pages, colorist Laura Martin doesn’t have a whole lot to do either. The pages with Jonah’s past bursting out and chasing the two explode with color. Inker Cliff Rathburn might have been the busiest art team member given that JJJ is wearing a black tux the whole time.
In no way is the art lacking in this issue, there’s just a noticeably lesser amount of art being displayed. Our journey so far with Spencer & Ottley’s Amazing Spider-Man has been one fully loaded with gorgeous superhero art. After coming out that strong, issues like this will stand out, it’s not a big deal.
Nick Spencer does a great job briefly touching on all of the plot points here. All the many balls he’s currently juggling in the air, he doesn’t miss a beat as far as furthering a narrative. He also provides splendid commentary along the way, whether it be from Peter or the narration itself. He’s always got a way to poke fun at what’s happening without taking us out of the story.
There’s a lot to like about Amazing Spider-Man #12, this arc is all about Jonah and Peter’s relationship and history–and that’s fine with me!