The Amazing Spider-Man #14
- Zeb Wells
- Michael Dowling, Kyle Hotz, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Ryan Stegman, Tim Townsend, JP Mayer
- VC”s Joe Caramagna
- Cover Artist:
- John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna, Marcio Menyz
- Release Date:
- Richard Isanove, Dan Brown, Terry Dodson, Matt Hollingsworth
The Amazing Spider-Man #14 gives Peter Parker time to lick his wounds after his recent rumble with the Hobgoblins. This new issue pivots to focus on his clone, Ben Reilly, who has also gone through his fair share of difficult times. The story, which is the prelude to the new arc “Dark Web,” is split into four parts with different creative teams contributing to the book, with writer Zeb Wells and letterer Joe Caramagna of VC being the only constants throughout. “Spring” is drawn by Michael Dowling and colored by Richard Isanove, while “Summer” is drawn by Kyle Hotz and colored by Dan Brown. Rachel Dodson handles the inks, and Terry Dodson takes charge of penciling and coloring duties on “Fall,” while Ryan Stegman draws, Tim Townsend and JP Mayer ink, and Matt Hollingsworth colors “Winter.”
Poor Ben. Always the spider-bridesmaid and never the spider. After having his memories erased by the Beyond Corporation, he searches for a way to make sense of who he really is. Helping him in his search for answers is his partner, Janine Godbe. However, Ben, now going under the alias of Chasm and wearing a new costume, finds an ally in the most unlikely of people/clones: Madelyne Pryor.
While Wells splits The Amazing Spider-Man #14 into four parts, the flow is never interrupted as it reads coherently. The structure is utilized to showcase how long Ben Reilly has been searching for his lost memories. There’s something intriguing about a darker Ben, and Wells captures this aspect of his personality in a way that’s eerily reminiscent of the early appearances of Eddie Brock. An edge suits the character — otherwise, he’s simply another version of Peter Parker under a different guise.
The pairing of Madelyne and Ben is pure genius. Comic book fans of the ’80s and ’90s will be wondering why no one ever thought of creating a team out of two of the most famous Marvel clones, and Wells pens their characters in such a way that the reader can’t wait to see all the mischief these two are about to get up to. More importantly, the introduction of the new villain, Hallows’ Eve, fits like a glove in this storyline. The birth of the character also feels like it could have come been pulled straight from the ’90s with all its pomp and circumstance.
While the art teams for all four parts put out exceptional work, two sections of The Amazing Spider-Man #14 stand out: “Summer” and “Winter.” In “Summer,” Hotz and Brown craft the ultimate love letter to the wild and wonderful Spider-Man comics of the past. It’s over-the-top, colorful, and bursting with unforgettable character designs. “Winter” feels like the spiritual sibling of “Summer,” as Stegman, Townsend, Mayer, and Hollingsworth end the book with glorious panels that will have Spidey fans squealing with glee.
Wells’ time on the book has walked the tightrope of nostalgia and respect for the source material with grace. It’s a familiarity that instantly evokes the seminal stories of the past. The Amazing Spider-Man #14 continues the winning streak, as it manages to find a way to take two characters from Marvel Comics’ past and make them compelling and interesting in new ways.