The sprawling saga "Spider-Verse" hits its penultimate chapter in the Dan Slott-written, Giuseppe Camuncoli-drawn "Amazing Spider-Man" #13. Kicking off the action on Loomworld, the dastardly Inheritors' base of operations, this comic bounces between two dimensions and features scores of characters, masked and unmasked.
Slott uses the relative quiet of Loomworld to set the stage for the story and has the Inheritors provide status reports as well. Unfortunately, some of those status reports spoil the conclusions of adventures contained in other comic books also released this week but without extensive details. The writer puts the spotlight on the usual Spiders here, giving the 616 characters (Spider-Man, Spider-Otto, Silk, AraÃ±a, Kaine and Spider-Woman) more prominent roles throughout the issue, alongside Spider-Gwen and a handful of other featured Spiders as they prepare for the battle of their lives. This supports and emphasizes the point that one of the "lesser" Spiders makes, as he presumes himself and the others to simply be cannon fodder, intercepting fire intended for the "main" characters.
It's fun to see the wide array of characters in one place, but the fun stops at the fingers holding the comic. The Spiders are all on their heels, taking the fun that is essential to Spider-Man himself out of the tale, at least for this issue. Slott's doing a fine job giving the characters depth and personality, but the only character apparently finding any levity in an otherwise tense situation is Punk Rock Spidey, who's got a bit of a death wish. Slott is having fun, the readers should be having fun, but the Spiders are limping along at this point. That's a temporary state, but there needs to be some fun in the stories of one of the world's most recognizable heroes.
While they're prepping for the end, no matter what form it takes, the Spiders spend time bolstering one another's flagging spirits and strategizing one more attack. Some interesting character moments are posited for readers to consider and personalities are put on display, helping differentiate these grossly similar characters one last time. The final attack is yet to come, but this issue provides confirmation of the importance and identities of "The Bride," "The Scion" and "The Other."
The visuals from penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli and inker Cam Smith are solid throughout "Amazing Spider-Man" #13 and really receive a boost from colorist Justin Ponsor, who brings a nice array of effects to enhance the appearance of this book. Letterer Chris Eliopoulos visibly packs in the fun, with sound effects like "FWASH" cropping up as the Spiders leap from world to world. Ponsor's colors set the tone and temperature as much as Camuncoli's work provides the visual story, if not moreso. Yellowing flashbacks, purple dimension hops and cold, gunmetal bunker rooms freckle the story, helping the reds, blues, whites and blacks of the various Spiders to pop out of their backdrops. Camuncoli keeps the storytelling strong, especially since he has to largely rely on hand positions, gestures and body language to tell the tales most artists transcribe to faces.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #13 is a solid, readying-for-war story that gives readers lots to enjoy, including over-the-top action and amazingly spectacular characters. Slott and friends might be finding spots to shoehorn in some spotlight moments, but the story itself is still vital and progressing. Next issue is the big battle, and this issue is the grand table setting. Slott's learned from past events and gives readers plenty to look forward to.