Much as I’ve been loving writer Nick Spencer’s run with Spidey, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 feels like a step in the wrong direction. I understand it’s been a while since we last saw Jameson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, but I’m not sure giving us a history lesson about the guy was what we needed.

Spencer takes an unnecessary break from his usually progressive storytelling in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12. Instead, we get too much Jameson backstory and not enough growth in his relationship with Peter. Granted, this issue is humorous and entertaining, for sure, but not for all the right reasons.

At the very least, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 looks fantastic. Artist Ryan Ottley returns with another spot-on issue. Spidey and Jonah have never looked better, and the same can be said for just about every cast member in this issue. Truly, the team of Ottley, inker Cliff Rathburn, and colorist Laura Martin cannot be beat.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 Subtly Reminds Who Jameson Is

That’s sarcastic, by the way.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 picks up immediately where #11 left off. Spidey and Jameson are essentially in deep trouble. They’ve got a bunch of bug-themed creeps to deal with, including Mac Gargan, aka the Scorpion. But apparently, all of them are a hallucination, or LMDs, or something else entirely. Whatever they are, they’re being orchestrated by a mystery figure who’s in business with the villain Arcade.

This mystery man sends Spidey and Jonah down a path of remembrance. We essentially see all of Jameson’s history; at least, everything before the 2000s, that is. We’re basically being reminded of who Jameson is and where he came from, that kind of thing. Frankly, I can’t gripe too much about all of this; there were one or two things I wasn’t aware of that AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 reminds us about.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 page 2. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This trip down memory lane includes a few bouts with some Spider-Slayer bots and, of course, the Scorpion, who might not actually be fake. At the very least, Spidey gets to make a clever quip about the whole situation seeming very “Ghost of Christmas Past” like. And he’s not wrong.

Come the finale of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12, a villain from way, way back rears his ugly head. Though it’s not the most significant reveal in Spidey history, I’ll stay my words from spoiling this one for you guys.

A Solid Story, Just at the Wrong Time

Much as I enjoyed reading AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 (and I definitely did), I was kind of bored at times. I understand the reasoning behind revisiting Jameson’s past, especially when you consider the big reveal at the end, but it feels unnecessary. I can’t really imagine how vital it is for all of us to remember all these little details, some of which are fairly fresh in our minds.

Also, the inclusion of Arcade in this arc feels really tacked on. Like, couldn’t this mystery baddie just do everything him or herself? I worry that we’re going to see an issue or two wasted at some point down the line where Spidey has to go catch Arcade for no good reason other than his inclusion in this arc. Unless Spencer means to include Arcade again at some later point, he probably could’ve been scrapped from this story.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 page 9. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

On the upside of things, though, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 does, at least, tell a cohesive story. And while it might not be entirely necessary, it’s nice to be reminded of some Jameson backstory; it’s nice to know he’s not just some old codger who screams incessantly all day long. I only wish some more time could’ve been spent focusing on Spidey and Jameson’s relationship, because it’s hardly touched upon. You’d think that would be a more important storytelling angle, considering these two are finally on the same side.

Looks Can Make a Difference

One of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12’s saving graces is the artwork. Ottley, Rathburn, and Martin deliver once again, to absolutely no surprise.

Ottley’s artwork is truly definitive, especially in the realms of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. The sharpness of his style brings a new edge (no pun intended) to Spidey, aesthetically speaking. And this might sound odd, but I love how Ottley emotes Spidey’s eyes. It’s very subtle, but you can still read a ton of emotion from Pete, even with his face hidden behind the mask.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 page 20. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

And, I must say, though I’ve never been a big Scorpion fan, it’s fun to see the villain back in action. He’s still just as pig-headed as ever, and Ottley’s style fits the character well. Mac Gargan always comes off as a consistently tense character to me. Ottley captures that outward expression of Gargan’s character perfectly; he’s always angrily grimacing.

Seriously, I can’t say it enough: if there’s one reason you should be reading this run of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, it’s for Ryan Ottley’s pages.

A Less-Than-Ideal Reveal

I feel like unless you’re an old-school Spidey fan, the big reveal of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 won’t really matter to you all that much. Hell, I’m not even sure old-school fans will care that much. But, it’s a peculiar reveal, nonetheless. I’ve tagged Spencer’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as peculiar since the get-go, so it seems appropriate.

Though this isn’t Spencer’s best, it’s a good effort, regardless. He risks a little too much story on pointless Jameson backstory, and not enough of how all that affects him and his relationship with Peter. Hell, Spidey hardly has anything to do in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 other than fight a few guys and make a few passing comments. I’m hoping for something more come the next issue.

On the artistic side of things, however, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin don’t miss a beat. They continue to deliver great work, and I’d easily call this another successful issue for the three of them.

Should you pick up AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12, you’ll certainly have something to enjoy. I just hope the next issue gives us something more.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin
Though AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 doesn't do a lot to move the relationship between Spidey and Jameson forward, it's still an entertaining read, with tons of fantastic artwork to lift the whole thing up.
87 %
Fun, But Lacking

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