The “Lifetime Achievement” arc in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has given us a fairly solid retrospective look at J. Jonah Jameson’s character. Similar to his reevaluation of Peter Parker, Nick Spencer has done the same for Jameson as part of this arc. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 is the culmination of Spencer’s work with Jameson.

In what is palpably Spencer’s style as part of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, he saves some of the best for last with his most recent arc. Though AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 is softer on the action side of things, it’s a more emotional issue for Jameson. Considering we don’t get many issues like that, I’m very appreciative of the calmer story beats featured here.

And as is common at this point, the team of artist Ryan Ottley, inker Cliff Rathburn, and colorists Laura Martin and Andrew Crossley absolutely nails the artistic side of things. Ottley’s style is starting to bring me back to the Todd McFarlane days.

Hello and Goodbye to the Big Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 opens with a quick recap of the previous two issues. Shortly afterwards, Spidey gets the snot kicked out of him by a giant robot version of the villain the Big Man. It’s eventually revealed that the man behind this whole plot is none other than Frederick Foswell Jr., son of the late Sr., who was the original Big Man.

As a refresher: Frederick Foswell Sr. was a reporter for the Daily Bugle back in the day. One of the best, apparently. He got in deep with investigating crime, to the point that he became obsessed with it and became the Big Man. He gave up that moniker eventually, though, and wound up sacrificing himself to save Jonah in a conflict with the Kingpin.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 page 9. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Foswell Jr. reveals this was essentially a revenge plot, and also a means of possibly winning Jonah back over to his Spidey-hating ways. Foswell Jr. has a faulty memory of how things went down with his father, however. He’s convinced that all his heartbreak was because of Spider-Man.

Jonah does his best to ease Jr., but it doesn’t really work; the kid’s sort of off the deep end at this point. Luckily, Jameson still has control of one of his old Spider-Slayers, and he manages to take Jr. down. Spidey destroys the robot, and he and Jonah have a good old heart-to-heart talk. And to cap AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 off, Jonah trash talks Kingpin in a sweet, satisfying way.

Jonah’s Reckoning (Kind of)

It’s not often we see an apologetic, self-aware J. Jonah Jameson. It’s more often he’s yammering about one bit of nonsense or another. But Spencer gives Jameson a lot of time in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 to take a look at himself and say, “Yeah, I was a bit of a scumbag way back when.” Of course, Spencer uses more delicate and sensible terminology, but that’s about the gist of it. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13, and the two issues prior, have really given Jonah a chance to account for his past sins. In turn, we get a more respectable Jameson.

Of course, the character’s been on the moral mend for a while now. But Spencer’s “Lifetime Achievement” arc is a very big step forward on the path towards true redemption for Jonah. After all, he’s got almost 40 years’ worth of crap to make up for.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 page 14. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Beyond Spencer’s handling of Jameson’s character, I’m also a fan of how he reintroduced this fairly obscure villain into the fold.  This was an interesting way to bring Big Man back and give his name some meaning. There’s some legitimate emotion in the moment Spidey destroys the Big Man robot, because he’s destroying the villain and everything he stood for, in a sense.

My only gripe with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 (and this bugged me in the last issue, too) is that Spencer wasted the first two or three pages pointlessly recapping the previous two issues. Seriously, I didn’t throw all my knowledge of the previous issues out the window. Those two pages could easily have been cut to add more to the main story.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13: Looking Fresh!

Is anyone surprised that Ottley and co. delivered yet another exquisite looking issue of Spidey? I think not.

Ottley, Rathburn, Martin, and guest colorist Crossley hit all the right notes in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13. There aren’t many flashy pages in this issue, and yet it still feels active and engaging. This is surely due to the believably expressive characters. The artistic storytelling alone is also worth noting, as removed from Spencer’s script. The pages themselves tell the story even without the words.

The intro is appropriately explosive, though. And that initial energy helps you plow through the rest of this emotionally grounded issue. The Big Man robot brutally tosses Spidey around like a ragdoll, in a manner that I’m not sure Pete really should have survived. But, hey, we need a peaceful resolution, so whatever.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I’m convinced Ottley and co. can do no wrong at this point. They’ve just so consistently owned each issue they work on. Though there are minor hiccups, it’s easy to ignore such things when the rest of the issue looks as good as it does. For example, Jonah’s gunshot wound looks a little odd towards the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13. But, you can look past that given Spidey chucked a massive robot into the air in a fiery explosion.

Ottley essentially puts on a neat little balancing act, one that I hope doesn’t end anytime soon.

On the Hunt

Without spoiling the true ending of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13, I’ll just say that it involves more build up to a certain event that may or may not be in Spidey’s near future. I mean, if you’ve seen recent Marvel solicits, you know what I’m talking about. If not, then don’t go looking! Remain suspicious and uninformed. It’ll be more fun for you that way. Probably.

Whatever you choose to do, at least choose to read AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13. It’s well worth your attention, as Nick Spencer perfectly closes out his “Lifetime Achievement” arc. As with his other arcs, it was slow to build up at first, but the payoff at the end is well worth the wait.

And when you get to enjoy such wonderful art as Ryan Ottley’s, why wouldn’t you check this issue out? Ottley and the rest of the artistic team have once again delivered a vivid depiction of Spider-Man and his crazy world. I’m eager to see more from this team.

Here’s hoping Jonah makes another appearance as part of Spencer’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and that Spencer can work his redemptive magic on a handful of other Spidey characters who could seriously use some time in the spotlight.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, Laura Martin, and Andrew Crossley
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 succeeds in how it slows down to take a deeper look at J. Jonah Jameson. Spencer does a great job working to further redeem this character. And Ottley and the artistic team absolutely nail this issue, through and through.
95 %
Redemptive and Powerful


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