“Amazing Spider-Man” #13 is the second part of the “Power Play” storyline, which introduced Augustus Roman as Regent, a new hero who imprisons super-villains and uses their abilities for himself. While there’s a lot of potential in such a storyline, Dan Slott, Guiseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith’s comic seems to hinge solely on Spider-Man and Iron Man acting incredibly immature and oblivious in order to propel this story forward.
Continuing the conflict from the previous issue, Peter Parker and Tony Stark spend most of this issue in a childish squabble, to the point that they’re still fighting when Miles Morales gets captured by Regent. That’s more or less all the pair do throughout “Amazing Spider-Man” #13. After eleven issues of Peter Parker as a very accomplished CEO, his behavior in these past two issues is virtually unrecognizable; he borders on inept, both as a superhero and a businessman, while Tony Stark doesn’t come across looking any better. This sudden shift in tone is so jarring that it’s actually hard to see this as being part of the same storyline, and that’s a shame.
The only characters who really come across as observant here are Harry Lyman, Betty Brant and Mary Jane Watson. While I appreciate that the non-powered supporting cast are the ones who have their wits about them, it is a little frustrating that all three of them can see the incredibly obvious in front of them, while Iron Man and Spider-Man come across as either oblivious or a little stupid. I’m not entirely sure what Slott is driving at here, but it’s not a pleasant journey.
Camuncoli and Smith’s art is good overall, with Regent looking imposing, even though it is near-impossible to mistake him for anyone but Augustus Roman. I also enjoy how Tony Stark looks with his Iron Man visor up, while he otherwise wears the armor; it’s a strange mixture of formal and casual that fits the scene well. I’m still not crazy about how they draw Harry, but that has more to do with a strange character design (specifically his hair) that has never looked natural no matter who tackles it. In the end, though, the art is strong enough to keep this comic from feeling like it’s completely gone off the rails.
“Amazing Spider-Man” #13 is a painful issue to read. Though things may turn around quickly, “Amazing Spider-Man” feels like it’s shedding everything that made the first eleven issues so much fun.