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    Review: Amazing Spider-Man #1

    By | May 1st, 2014
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Peter Parker returns to his own solo title for the first time in over a year! Come celebrate his return with us in the most ordered comic book in the last ten years and see if Parker’s returned with any new tricks.

    Written by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Joe Caramagna, Peter David, and Chris Yost.
    Illustrated by Humberto Ramos, Javier Rodriguez, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Chris Eliopoulos, Will Sliney, David Baldeon, and Ramón Pérez

    The Greatest Super Hero of All Time RETURNS!
    The world may have changed since Spidey’s been gone, but so has Peter Parker. This is a man with a second chance at life, and he’s not wasting a moment of it. Same Parker Luck, new Parker attitude. Putting the “friendly” back in the neighborhood, the “hero” back into “super hero,” and the “amazing” back into “Spider-Man!” Also returning: The recharged and reenergized ELECTRO!

    I know this might sound like sacrilege but I don’t know if I truly missed Peter Parker during his death. I mean, neither did a lot of characters in the Marvel Universe but that was due to them being duped by a super villain wearing their loved one’s skin. For me, and presumably other readers, it was because the team behind Doctor Octopus as “The Superior Spider-Man” did an excellent job of creating a new spider-hero that, while miles away from Parker in terms of personality, still filled in that space in our hearts for web-slinging misadventures. It lasted long enough, not to become the new status quo, but to almost make us forget what the comics were like without Peter underneath the mask.

    Then you open “Amazing Spider-Man” #1 and everything, the quips, the thwips, and the soap opera drama comes back to hit you like a ton of bricks. “Superior Spider-Man” wasn’t a completely dark book, it wasn’t “Watchmen” or anything, but it certainly had a much more sinister tone than previous incarnations of the Wall Crawler. With this relaunch, Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado cast away Doc Ock’s machinations and bring back Parker’s optimism. The body language in Peter swinging around through the city, enthusiastically carefree, is a breath of fresh air after over a year of SpOck. The coloring form Delgado feels more vibrant, brought back to life the same way Parker was and when the script get into some more tragic moments, his shadows only accentuate the humor in these dire circumstances.

    Really if there was one huge thing to praise “Amazing Spider-Man” #1 for it would be the humor. Dan Slott is the cool uncle of the comics industry and the pun-laden script here is a testament to his affinity for puns. Easily a solid quarter of the dialogue in this issue is pun, puns so bad they orbit the Earth several times before coming back around to straight up divine. Conveyed excellent by Ramos’s art (the look on the crowd’s face during the first big splash page is process), the humor in “Amazing Spider-Man” reaffirms the title character’s place as one of the funnest characters in Marvel canon. Regrettably (or happily if you’re not me), the issue isn’t entirely wordplay and tomfoolery (though all the new villains feel like they were introduced for the sole purpose of said jokes). The plot itself mostly consists of Peter running around trying to tie-up some loose ends from “Superior” which might be a problem if you’re one of those people who decided to jump onto the comic because it’s a relaunch or because of the movie. There are plenty of great moments that can be enjoyed without context (“You’re tweeting this?!”) but so much of the more somber moments of the comic revolve around the continuity that Dan Slott has been building for the next couple of years. For fans who’ve been keeping up with the title, it’s pretty great. If not, then you’ll probably be wondering who the hell Anna Marconi and wait JK Simmons was mayor and whoa hold up what the hell is a 2099. Basic rule of thumb for drawing in new readers with a relaunch: don’t bring up Spider-Man 2099.

    Even then, the main story of itself doesn’t offer much in way of a new direction for Peter Parker. A lot of it is just reaffirming Peter’s place in the Marvel Universe and, though it’s done expertly, the marked-up price is a little unjustified. It’s evened out by the back-up comics which range from really good premonitions of where the series will go (The Electro and Black Cat stories) plug-ins for other series (Spider-Man 2099 and The New Warriors) or a short and weird yet charming reintroduction of what Spider-Man’s whole deal is. The most interesting of the back-ups belongs to Slott and Ramón Pérez who begin to introduce Clash, the upcoming villain of “Spider-Man: Learning to Walk” and, without going into too much spoilers, he seems to be an incredibly interesting parallel for Peter Parker in the same vein as everyone else who seeks all the power and none of the responsibility (to borrow Scarlet Spider’s saying.)

    Continued below

    “Amazing Spider-Man” #1 is a fun and at times moving epilogue to the “Superior Spider-Man” saga but it seems like it’s gonna take a while for it to build up some of its own  momentum.

    Final Verdict: 7.3 – Brows

    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.