With Spidey #12, writer Robbie Thompson and artist Nathan Stockman close out the all-ages-friendly series, giving readers a nice, shiny bow on top of the gift of the previous eleven issues. Either I was not aware that this series was scheduled to be finite, or I chose to ignore it, but the fact that Spidey #12 is the final issue caught me a bit by surprise. At any rate, Thompson, Stockman, colorist Jim Campbell, and letterer Travis Lanham serve readers a satisfying slice of webslinging in Spidey #12.
As he has done throughout the series, Thompson condenses a story into a single issue. Immediately accessible, thorough and complete, Spidey #12 can be enjoyed all by itself or as part of the series, adding a smart-fitting capstone to the series.
Just how does a series like Spidey end? How about Peter Parker at the homecoming dance with Gwen Stacy? Or a smile from Aunt May? A paycheck from J. Jonah Jameson? A fight with the Sinister Six? If any of those pique your interest, or challenge your ability to suspend disbelief, then you really should check out Spidey #12, if for no other reason than to see how Robbie Thompson molds those story ideas into a tale titled “Spidey No More!”
Clearly, from the cues mentioned above, Spidey #12 turns the focus onto the young man behind the mask – Peter Parker. Always the heart (and frequently the voice) of any Spider-Man story, Peter Parker (and all things Parker) is celebrated in this comic. It’s still got webslinging and wisecracking, and action and suspense, but it all flows organically from Peter Parker and the events he endures in Spidey #12.
Stockman’s art is as solid as ever, with little winks and nods sprinkled throughout (like the photo on the wall over Gwen’s shoulder in the diner) that augment his storytelling. Every panel of Spidey #12 has some fun in it, as Stockman makes this issue every bit as approachable visually as Thompson does with the story. Stockman draws Peter and Gwen as teenagers, not miniaturized adults or tall babies. That said, there are panels where I saw Tom Holland creeping into Stockman’s art, which is more than appropriate given Peter and Gwen spend some time at homecoming, a natural crossroads for a comic story written by a guy known for scripting television. It’s not an official plug for any upcoming film, but it is another nice wink towards the readership of Spidey #12.
Spidey #12 leaves the door open for readers. It serves as a nice conclusion to a fun series, but does what every great Spider-Man story should do: it leaves the reader wondering, “What next?” and looking for a bit more. Thompson, Stockman, Campbell, and Lanham do a fine job with this issue and leave the series as approachable on the final page of the final issue as it was on the first page of the first issue. If Spidey didn’t find its target audience, it is no fault of the creators involved. The upside is, Spidey has enough modernity to it that it will stay evergreen for a bit, giving comic fans, retailers, and critics something to point to as a gateway to the tangled web of everyone’s favorite wallcrawler.