Written by: Dan Slott
Artwork by: Christos Gauge
So here we have another Marvel Comics #1 of their primary Spider-Man book “Amazing” Spider-Man. They’ve probably released as many number ones’ of Spider-Man as Anchor Bay has reissues of the Army of Darkness movie on DVD and Blu-Ray. The creative team from the series remains intact with the number one just representing a major new upheaval in the Spider-man universe.
This issue sets things right with Peter Parker returning to control of his own body. For the last year or so Spider-Man and Peter Parker have been inhabited by Doc Ock. Ock made many changes in Peter’s life during this run including completing Peter’s PhD, starting up a technology company, and even fighting some bad guys but doing so in a pretty malicious way. He even started up a new love interest for Parker. So this issue finds Pete returning to his body and trying to deal with everything that Doc Ock has done since Pete was forced out of his own body. The first thing the book does right is it synopsizes everything that’s new in Spider-Man land since Peter Parker was himself. This is a good thing for readers that gave up the book and have been waiting for Marvel to set things right. So in a matter of a few panels we are caught up on everything that Pete has to contend with for the rest of the book. I haven’t been following Superior spider-man and this whole Doctor Octopus debacle so it says a lot that I didn’t feel lost jumping into this issue.
What the book does right is that it brings back all of Spider-Man’s signature humor and it puts a period on his constant bad luck in nearly every situation. It appears to set the tone for the upcoming story arc and that tone is in many ways classic Spider-man. Now there are fans, many of US, that loved the direction Spider-Man was going years ago when J. Michael Straczynski was writing the book. Marvel head honcho John Quasada pulled the rug out from under Straczynski and the fans of that series by demanding an abrupt and senseless reboot of the character. As I read this new Spider-Man book I sadly felt myself missing that old Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
This issue does have bright moments though, mostly all involving some Spidey humor with the one exception of what seems to be a darker and interesting subplot involving J. Jonah Jameson. With that said the fights and action of the book do come off just a little too silly at times, feeling a little too retro. Those old 60’s era Spidey books are fun but that sort of characterization and presentation just doesn’t fly with today’s older skewing and more sophisticated fan. For what it doesn’t execute as well as I’d hoped I can’t argue that this story arc does set Parker in a very new and unique situation; something he hasn’t dealt with before. But really, do we need another successful genius that owns a tech company in the Marvel U?
The artwork does not do much to help this book. The faces, Peter’s in particular just have an odd sort of Archie and the gang feel to them that definitely does not work for the wall crawler. Also the art feels inconsistent because the scenes featuring Jameson take on a much more serious, if still retro comic book, style presentation. Sure this portion of the book is more dark and brooding but the art should still be consistent style-wise. Colors were well defined and matching of the drawing style even if the drawing style doesn’t work overall. Just take a look at Peter’s face on the cover of the book to get an idea of just how bizarre and off putting the artwork is. Unfortunately what the art does best in this book is further accentuate the flaws in the writing.
Overall this new start for Spider-Man is just mildly interesting; it doesn’t bring back much that worked well for the book other than the humor. If you’re a diehard Spider-Man fan then the strands of possible goodness to come might be enough to keep you around but if you are a casual and curious reader this is not the book to pick up.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10