Amazing Spider-Man #14
Story: Dan Slott
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Oliver Coipel
Color: Justin Ponsor
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Spider-Verse’s final chapter has finally arrived. On the whole, the event proved to be one of Marvel’s better endeavors in recent years. In a lot of ways it did for the Spider portion of the Marvel U what Sinestro Corps War did for Green Lantern. Both revealed an extensive importance of the character to their respective publishers that can sometimes be lost in the shadow of more publicized line-wide events. The premise, build up, and start of the arc were engaging and captivating which makes its ending in Amazing Spider-Man #14 feel a bit flat, but not in the way you might think.
Amazing Spider-Man #14 is all about the final battle between the Spider Totems of multiple realities and the vampire like Inheritors. The spiders converge on Loom World in an attempt to stop the blood ritual before it puts an end to every Spidey that was or will ever be. Writer, Dan Slott doesn’t skimp on the action or one-liners in this finale. You’ll even see a gif making moment with Spider-Gwen that makes the wait for her own series feel that much longer. So much of the prime cuts of the event have centered around the dynamics between this eclectic group — Miles and the Web Warriors, Gwen and Silk, and even Peter and Otto — yet in the finale it gets over shadowed by the spectacle.
The issue is haunted by the feeling of exclusion. Should you not have read any of the tie-in books, you’ll likely be missing a lot of context for the return of Karn the Inheritor and some of the reasons not all the Spiders you saw in early chapters are nowhere to be found here. While it’s easy to forgive and accept spiders disappearing, the twist of Karn turning on his family should have been handled in the series proper. Now that the event is over and Spider-Man is firmly on the road to Secret Wars, issue 15 could be the epilogue that gives us the character moments between all of the Spideys that didn’t get enough breathing room here.
Despite its faults, the issue really drives home the nature of what it means to be Spider-Man… Woman… Gwen… Pig, etc. Slott builds the tension to the moment of victory and manages to unite them all under the trait that separates Peter from the rest of the Marvel U, mercy. His solution to ending the conflict is well thought out and very in-tune to the nature of Spider-Man. He’s not a murderer and while that would have been an obvious way to go it’s a bit more satisfying keeping that part of Peter Parker intact.
Another thing the book does well, that others most times fail at, is sharing the art duties in a single story of an issue. Giuseppe Camuncoli is joined by the returning Oliver Coipel. While their styles aren’t remotely similar, the book manages to find an even flow that doesn’t halt or hinder the reader. Final battle chapters of stories are supposed to be visually big and this one does not disappoint one bit on the art front.
Ultimately, Spider-Verse couldn’t avoid the recent Marvel event syndrome of starting strong and finishing on a low. It had all the ingredients to end with more moments than it did, but instead steamrolled through the material and past character developments. The necessary finale gravitas is there, but anyone who isn’t Peter Parker doesn’t get an ending worth all the months of developing these awesome new spiders. If you’ve come this far there’s no reason to skip ASM #14. Those who want to come on board just for the ending, wait for the collected edition and enjoy Spider-Verse the right way.
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