The Amazing Spider-Man #13: Beyond the Prelude
The Amazing Spider-Man #13 – written by Zeb Wells, with pencils by John Romita Jr., inks by Scott Hanna, colors by Marcio Menyz, and letters by VC’s Joe Caramanga – continues his short Hobgoblin storyline, as Peter attempts to reconcile the latest issue reveal of Rodrick Kingsley and Ned Leeds wearing the costumes. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is still in the hospital debating whether or not to get involved in the fight. As Peter is beaten by the two Hobgoblins, Norman springs into action and dons what we know to be the Gold Goblin Costumewho should play a central role in the next dark web crossing.
Wells’ script for this issue comes together better than the previous one, still lacking the your moist established with the first number of this mini-arc. The problem is mostly a long extended fight sequence between Peter and the Hobgoblins, and there’s no execution of Peter’s intelligence or ingenuity in the fight, just a willingness to accept his death at the hands of the enemies before Norman arrived. This decision for the character of Peter is a direct contrast to what was established prior to this run, as the Beyond the storyline saw him recover and regain his confidence under the guidance of Black Cat and Captain America.
The problem, like Peter, feels like a half-hearted attempt to deliver something new, but functions as little more than building something else. Wells’ cliffhanger for the issue reveals that someone else is manipulating both Kingsley and Leeds, taking the agency away from the two Hobgoblins and making pawns for the next story arc, ensuring this story was never just another prelude to the stories to come.
These first 13 numbers read like a checklist of beats that needed to be featured before a full story could be told, but again, Beyond was in a similar position, with the teasing of what happened in between. There’s nothing wrong with setting and mystery, but when it overshadows the whole run, it makes for about as interesting a read as a Wikipedia entry with great art.
The book’s art and coloring are by far the show’s selling points, with Romita Jr., Hanna, and Menyz hitting a pace that allows them to tell a cohesive visual story while tweaking their look and formula for the book. . The fight between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin duo is well rendered, with Romita blocking and composing stunning shots that sell the desperate Peter and the furious Goblins.
There’s a notable panel where Spider-Man hits the roof of a building after flying with the goblins and falls on it. He has a nasty cut in the back of his costume, and Romita illustrates the move using six outlines of Peter in the panel. The first and last are usually colored, with the middle four rendered with simpler lines and flat colors. Every position of his body is connected by the cut, his blood creating arcs that sell the trajectory of the body. It’s a stunning use of color and inking to sell the physical toll of combat and showcases the inventive craft of art and coloring on display in this title.
Menyz’s color is the other strong element in this book, working with Romita’s distinct style to ensure the figures don’t appear too blocky or distorted. The use of strong, somewhat muted colors fits perfectly with the story that was set at the start of the arc, and it’s a shame that the story strayed away from that tone, because it gave a new life to the book. Menyz’s color pairs perfectly with the rooftop fights, and his use of muted colors in the depicted sequence does a great job of showcasing the range of his palette.
Menyz also brings a strong color resonance into the energy gauntlets the hobgoblins wield, illuminating half the page with blazing orange energy applied directly to Spider-Man’s face. The coloring goes hand in hand with Romita and Hanna’s rough art, giving the issue an edge that makes it enjoyable to watch in isolation.