Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014)

So here we are, a pretty Saturday morning, heading out for Free Comic Book Day. Westfield Comics has two posters up that my daughters are looking at as they get excited about picking up free comics. One poster is the cover to this issue, with a very happy-looking Peter Parker joyously swinging over New York, reveling in being a super hero. The other poster is Batman Eternal #1, showing the dour Dark Knight splashed in blood brooding on a rooftop. Now, I admit the Batman image is striking, and well within the expectations for the character. But I asked my daughter, “who’s blood do you think that is?” and she couldn’t answer. I can’t either. At this point, I honestly don’t know which is more likely, that Batman would be posing on rooftops after getting the crap kicked out of him, or if he’s stand around showing off the tremendous about of blood he managed to wring out of some criminal. Either way, I know which comic I want to read.

Dan Slott has clearly been waiting to bring back Peter Parker. There are multiple things in this issue that simply would not have worked with Doc Ock in the webs. The silliest part is Skein (formerly Gypsy Moth) dissolving Spidey’s costume. Spider-Woman’s response to this is absolutely perfect, and nails the tone Slott wants in this issue. Peter Parker has crazy adventures, folks, and he’s got bad luck that won’t always hurt him, but he isn’t going to come out looking good.

Slott takes time to check in with most of Pete’s supporting cast, and they all seem pretty OK with the returned Spidey. I’m one of those older readers that will always pine for a return to the Pete & MJ dynamic, but it certainly doesn’t seem imminent here. That’s OK, at this point most new readers wouldn’t even recognize that as an acceptable status quo. I also love that the cliffhanger comes from a Peter Parker relationship, not from a super-villain. If that doesn’t scream “Spider-Man” then I don’t know what does.

I LOVE the villains used in this issue. I’m not the world’s biggest Humberto Ramos fan, but he does draw striking ladies, so giving him a team of cute animal gals (and the Hippo) is a good choice. White Rabbit is fun as always (maybe Marvel should start treating her like Harley Quinn?), and Skein is always interesting. Although I have to say, I don’t know how to pronounce her name. The newest member of the Rabbit’s Menagerie is a panda villain with the type of too-clever pun name that makes comic books work.

One other comment on Ramos’ art; my daughter didn’t says he disliked it, but she did comment that Spidey looked awfully skinny to have such huge muscles! She also commented that the art looked a lot like one of her other favorites; Nova.

This is a fun, entertaining comic and a GOOD sign that Spider-Man’s continuing adventures are still in good hands. 

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