Amazing Spider-Man #15
Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith and Marte Gracia
Lettering by Joe Caramagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
‘Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
In Amazing Spider-Man #15, the deadly supervillain Regent questions about whether or not he can handle using so many superheroes at once — and it’s a question that could easily be asked of Dan Slott and Christos Gage, as well. Concluding their “Power Play” arc featuring Spider-Man and Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man #15 has some great character moments with the inclusion of Mary Jane Watson as the new Iron Spider, but the comic does falter a bit trying to cram so much resolution in the span of 20 pages.
But for those who have been fans of Mary Jane Watson and the retconned Spider-Marriage, you’ll find a lot to smile about here, seeing Peter Parker’s one-time wife donning her very own super-suit. Slott and Gage put the emotional heart of this entire arc in MJ’s capable hands, giving her a very unique perspective on superheroics as she single-handedly rescues two of Marvel’s biggest icons. Even though Mary Jane isn’t in the Iron Spider costume for long, the writers utilize her well, with her clawed spider-arms acting as a nice middle ground between Peter and Tony’s power sets.
That said, with so much focus on Mary Jane, Slott and Gage do struggle to pack in so many other characters, leading to plenty of other subplots getting wrapped up in too-swiftly a fashion. Harry Osborn, for example, has been captured by Regent, but makes his escape just to be an inspiring hostage for Peter — meanwhile, the inclusion of Miles Morales feels underdeveloped, as he’s sprung from his prison cell just so he can… take down Regent’s henchwoman. Regent himself is taken down off-panel, as Slott and Gage end his story with a splash page filled with superheroes, making Spider-Man and Iron Man feel unnecessary in their own arc. Given the lengthy amount of time the writers spend with their epilogue — they spend a quarter of the book checking in with Peter, Tony and MJ — it feels like the balance is off here.
But Giuseppe Camuncoli continues to impress with his character designs, particularly the way he nails Mary Jane’s Iron Spider design, playing up the best of both Spider-Man and Iron Man’s looks. While he doesn’t get a huge chance to play up his expressiveness (which makes sense, given that three out of his four main characters all wear masks), he does some fun work with the action choreography, particularly when we see Peter do a one-handed bounce off the ground to springboard himself back into the fight. That said, with such a dense script, it’s unavoidable for Camuncoli’s pages to feel a little crowded - in particular, the splash page with all the heroes feels a bit anticlimactic, with about a dozen tiny figures not feeling like a strong conclusion.
Ultimately, “Power Play” likely won’t be seen as the strongest Amazing Spider-Man arc Slott and Gage have been involved in, with all the different characters and subplots muddying the waters of what this arc began as: the rivalry between Spider-Man and Iron Man, and the very different characterizations of Peter Parker and Tony Stark. While fans of the Spider-Marriage will likely cheer as Mary Jane Watson steps up to the plate, fans without that emotional connection can likely wait until Slott’s “Dead No More” arc begins.