Writer Nick Spencer has been carefully placing all the pieces he’ll need for his upcoming Spider-Man event “Hunted” pretty much since he started his run with the wall-crawler. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 very much continues this trend. For the most part, we get more filler, but it’s heartfelt filler, nonetheless.

Much like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 takes its time to tell more of a relaxed story, with minimal action and more character-driven experiences. Which would be fine, except that Spencer panders a little too much to the audience at times. It’s not awful, but certainly noticeable.

Joining Spencer again on the artistic side of things is artist Chris Bachalo, whose pointedly unique style remains as crazy as ever. As was the case in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14, I’m not entirely sure his style is appropriate for this story, but it’s great art to look at, nevertheless.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 Reminds Us That Aunt May is Really Important to Peter

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 picks up right where #14 left off. We briefly observe some more drama in the Connors family. Billy’s still pissed at Curt, and Curt’s just trying to be an understanding parent. Try as Curt might, though, this whole conflict is clearly headed in an ugly direction.

Meanwhile, Aunt May had a building explode around her. In the midst of his fight with Black Ant and Taskmaster, Spidey leaps into action to try and save her. Taskmaster tries to backstab him, but Pete is having absolutely none of the villain’s crap, slapping him right back outside.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 page 3. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

However, due to Spidey’s focus being solely on saving Aunt May, this leaves an opening for the two villains to capture Rhino, who’s less than happy about Spidey abandoning him. This felt very much like a cheap way to get Spidey back on Rhino’s bad side, but I guess I can allow it.

Eventually, Spidey helps to save everyone in the restaurant. All except one, that is. Remember that homeless guy Aunt May was treating to dinner? Turns out that was the clone of Ned Leeds (from CLONE CONSPIRACY). Unfortunately, Ned doesn’t make it, but not without first passing off what seems to me like a sort of cryptic message to Spidey. It’s as if he’s trying to warn him about something involving Betty. Guess we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

Meanwhile, Kraven’s plans are becoming more and more apparent. He’s commissioned Arcade to basically make a smaller-scale version of the planetary shield that locked out a ton of Earth’s heroes during SECRET EMPIRE. He seemingly means to trap all his captives inside Central Park and probably go on some wild hunt. But that’s just my theory.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 Features Some Heartfelt Exposition

Overall, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 jumps around quite a bit. Thankfully, it’s nothing too jarring or difficult to follow. It actually helps to make what would normally be a fairly straightforward issue feel a bit more intense. On top of that, Spencer does a great job of driving home the importance of family in this issue.

Perhaps a little too well, though. Much as I love getting some focus on Aunt May, I feel that Peter’s exposition is a little too obvious. I’ve never questioned how important she is to him. I mean, hello, he sacrificed his marriage with MJ to save her (not that I want to be reminded of that story).

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 page 12. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

However, what I do appreciate is Pete telling us how much he’s learned from her. He lives by Uncle Ben’s words, of course, but also by the example Aunt May has set for him his whole life. This is, I feel, a side of their relationship we don’t see often enough, and I think Spencer did a great job highlighting this, even if it was somewhat brief.

I also enjoy how Spencer seemingly takes a few hints from the recent PS4 Spidey game, though. Towards the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15, she winds up back at the F.E.A.S.T. shelter. It’s pretty desolate now, having been left a decrepit ruin for years. It seems that May is going to revitalize the place and do some good with the name once again, which I am all for.

So, although AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 is slow and repetitive at times, it’s still an endearing story, one definitely worth checking out.

Still Not Sure If This Art Style is Appropriate…

Chris Bachalo’s trademark manic style is back in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15. My eyes were immediately glued to the pages, as they typically are when Bachalo is involved. Though his art might be a bit much for first-timers, it’s still an attention-grabbing layout, nonetheless.

The initial few pages featuring the Connors were actually some of my favorites. As I mentioned in my previous Spidey review, I love how Bachalo draws the Lizard. And he clearly had more time to focus on Curt’s lizard family this time around. They look slick and creepy, yet also believably natural. And his work on the villains featured in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 is to be commended, as well.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 page 21. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

But, like last time, I’m still not too sure his style is appropriate for these issues. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take every issue featuring Bachalo’s artwork I can get. But I’d prefer it be in a book or for a story where the style fits the atmosphere a bit better. Nothing about the current story is wild enough to really deserve Bachalo’s style.

Then again, why should we refuse such a good thing? Like I said, I’ll take all the Bachalo-drawn issues I can get. So, much like last issue, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 features a vividly crazy artistic flair that, while it might be a little undeserved, is enjoyable through and through.

The Road to “Hunted” Begins

The ending of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 has got me somewhat excited for “Hunted.” I haven’t been highly anticipating this story, but Spencer’s slowly getting my attention. I hope the payoff is worth the wait.

As for the rest of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15, overall, it comes across as a heartfelt filler issue. It works well in how it establishes some new character dynamics, as well as reacquaints us with some familiar ones. And though it can feel heavy-handed at times, there’s never an exhaustingly dull moment. It’s worth reading, to be certain.

And if you’re not going to check it out for the story, at least check it out for the art. Chris Bachalo excels throughout AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15. And, again, though his style may seem a little unfitting, it’s exciting and filled with energy, which is sure to get your attention.

And with that, we’re one step closer to “Hunted,” everyone.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 by Nick Spencer and Chris Bachalo
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 excels in highlighting certain characters and building towards what comes next. Nick Spencer's attention to detail is superb, and Chris Bachalo's artwork is as great as ever.
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Heartfelt Filler

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