Amazing Spider-Man #14 Is Packed To The Rafters In Plot Threads

by James Ferguson

Peter Parker’s life gets more and more complicated as his super hero antics put Aunt May in the crosshairs. No, he hasn’t revealed his identity again. It’s just that he’s trying to stop Taskmaster and Black Ant from getting their hands on the Rhino. That’s after Peter has an awkward dinner with the Lizard and his family and Kraven starts to build a plan of attack against Spider-Man. Remember when I said it was complicated?

There’s a lot to pick apart in Amazing Spider-Man #14. Writer Nick Spencer crams this with elements to move a number of plot threads forward. He also structures this so it’s very welcoming to new readers. This retreading of information can be a little tiresome to long-time readers, but it’s usually inserted in an organic way so it gets you up to speed without derailing the story.
This issue features a few montages of sorts, going through the recent history of the Lizard and Aunt May. Letterer Joe Caramagna pulls us through these sequences like we’re descending a spiral staircase of memories. Each caption box is positioned in such a way to guide us through the varied panel layout.

Artist Chris Bachalo’s style works in both the casual scenes of Peter in his street clothes as well as the action-packed sequences where he’s in his super hero attire. Although one artist handled all of the pencils and colors, there are four different inkers credited on Amazing Spider-Man #14. Ai Vey, Wayne Faucher, John Livesay, and Tim Townsend all contributed some work to this book and there’s a definite difference in approach. This creates an uneven reading experience as the inks adjust Bachalo’s pencils in unique styles.
One detail I really like is how rough the Rhino looks. His skin looks like it’s made of stone. There are many intricate little lines, like cracks in his hard shell. You’d get a hard scrape just by patting him on the back. This makes him look so uncomfortable and more than a little monstrous. He’s shown in a pale grey, like this armor is incredibly dry. I just want to give him some lotion.

Aunt May is painted in a very good light. I mean, she’s rarely been shown as a villain. She’s a frail, charitable old woman. Between this and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, it makes me wonder if there’s thoughts of killing her off. She is a fantastic role model and a great person, but she’s often lost in the shuffle of all the other supporting characters in Peter Parker’s life.

Amazing Spider-Man #14 juggles a number of plot threads, each working to advance the overall narrative. I’m most intrigued by what Kraven has up his sleeve as that paints a very ominous tone. In any case, I doubt Peter’s world is going to get any less complicated any time soon.
Amazing Spider-Man #14 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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