Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) #13

Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley are a dream-team. Every issue they’ve worked on together has been magic, and their passion is clearly visible on the page. With Amazing Spider-Man #13, we’re given an issue that’s focused heavily on characterization rather than spectacle. While it isn’t the best issue of the series, it’s certainly a very good one.

What intrigues me about this series is that since the first arc, there’s been a focus on Spider-Man’s side cast rather than Peter himself. This is not a criticism, as Spider-Man has possibly the best supporting cast in comics. This arc focuses heavily on Jonah’s past, and his continuing growth as a person. Jameson is a character who has over the years been very consistently characterized. At his core, he’s a good dude, but his hatred and jealousy of Spider-Man is the fatal flaw that paints him in such a poor light. It’s consistent because it works, and it’s a fun dynamic that rarely needs tampering. While it may not require tampering, it’s getting some anyway. This diversion from the norm has formed a sort of awkward truce between Spider-Man and Jameson. It’s a nice change of pace. It’s interesting to see that flaw plucked from Jonah’s character and how it affects his entire state of being. This issue is a strong demonstration of that idea, and it culminates into one of the best Jameson stories in recent memory. I know eventually things will return to the status quo and Jonah will go back to normal, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.

The story itself is a tad strange. Maybe it’s because I have little knowledge of Big Man outside of his original appearance in the Lee/Ditko era, but this heavy focus on his history feels a bit out of left field for me. It wasn’t poorly done, but it feels more like a vehicle to develop Jonah’s character rather than an organic story beat that will end up with any relevancy. I enjoyed it while it was happening, but it doesn’t feel particularly memorable.

What has truly set this arc above your average Spider-Man story is the Ryan Ottley art. While the Ramos issues look great as well, they can sometimes feel a bit familiar due to his previous work on the character. With Ottley, the book feels like an entirely new beast. Since he came to fame with his incredibly long run on Invincible, I really only know his work in that context. Seeing it in a different book changes the feel of the art significantly. It’s perfectly fitting for Spider-Man, but not because it looks like the books I’m used to. It just has the energy and heart that you expect while looking entirely different.

Amazing Spider-Man #13 puts a cap on another very strong arc, though it’s not the best we’ve seen from this team. It has that patented Nick Spencer humor, paired with some wonderful art by Ottley that makes the book sing. The two work together brilliantly, despite the plot feeling somewhat forced. Regardless, strong characterizations and storytelling still hold the book to a level that is more than worth your time.