J. Jonah Jameson has pissed off quite a few people over the years, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that someone is trying to kill him. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you talk to), Spider-Man is along for the ride, so JJJ has a helping hand as a bizarre death trap filled with his past unfolds in front of him. Whoever is pulling these strings has hired Arcade to help plan this elaborate revenge setup.
Much of Amazing Spider-Man #12 is like an episode of “This is Your Life” for Jonah. His past literally plays out in front of him and Spidey and it’s highlighting all of the worst parts, from his abuse at the hands of of his father to the death of his first wife and friends. It’s full of tragedy and as annoying as JJJ can be at times, you definitely feel sorry for him. The poor guy has been through a lot so it’s no surprise that he funneled all of his anger at the world around him into Spider-Man, but where does all that go now that he and the webhead are buddies?
There are some great awkward moments when the interactive slideshow gets to the part where Jonah was rallying against Spider-Man. Artist Ryan Ottley has one of my favorite panels of recent memory showing the demonization of Spidey with his face superimposed over villains like Doctor Doom and Galactus. That is how far JJJ’s anger stretched that even something as implausible as that was not that far off in his mind.
This whole thing is most definitely a show. The puppet master behind it all is enjoying pulling these strings. Letterer Joe Caramagna conveys that emotion with the word balloons popping up from thin air. The voice could be coming from anywhere and it’s reveling in the misery it’s causing.
These memories are mostly taking place in front of a white abyss, only showing the important parts which mainly comes down to the people involved. Colorist Laura Martin gives these images a faded look, adding to the memory element, like they’re being pulled from the deep recesses of Jonah’s mind. Him and Spider-Man stand out in bolder tones, so they’re easy to distinguish as they make their way through these flashbacks.
Ottley has these two weave through the past in this way, like they’re literally walking through Jonah’s memories. JJJ is reacting to each one in real time. He’s forced to witness every one of his failure’s over his long life and that’s no easy task, especially in such a short amount of time. This provides some more depth to the character and certainly paints him in a new light.
Writer Nick Spencer has been spinning many plot threads at once throughout his tenure on Amazing Spider-Man so far. We’ve seen bits and pieces of a larger narrative at work and then we get smaller, more personal stories like this one. They’re all working to tell some fun stories which is just the kind of stuff I want from a Spider-Man comic.