AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 BRINGS THE “ZING” (AND PETER PARKER) BACK FROM THE DEAD

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-1-ReviewThe day I’ve long awaited for has finally come; the one true Peter Parker is back in the driver’s seat of his own body, and “Doc Ock’s” Superior Spider-Man has gone the way of New Coke.  Poof.

Okay.  Some of you might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about…so I will give a quick recap:

Over a year ago Doctor Octopus, on his deathbed, switched brains with Peter Parker just before he was going to die.  Peter could not reverse the effects before it was too late.  His final act before biting the dust was convincing Doctor Octopus to use his “great power” with “great responsibility.”  Doc Ock then vowed he would be more than “amazing,” he’d be SUPERIOR!

backgroundThis was in Amazing Spider-Man #700.  The next month saw the release of Superior Spider-Man #1 and continued for 31 issues in which Doc Ock learned what it means to be a hero, but most of the time was just an ass.

I’m not going to go too much more into Superior Spider-Man than that.  If you want to know more of my thoughts on the title you can check out my past review here.  Bottom line is that Dan Slott is a damn fine writer; however, he wasn’t writing a character I wanted to read.

I wanted Peter Parker.  The “real” Peter Parker.  In all his fumbling glory.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 delivered on all levels.  If you’re like me and have been missing the true tone (the zing) of Spider-Man, then this book is for you.

There’s a lot of GREAT stuff in this issue, and while I’m normally against titles renumbering themselves at #1, I think it works well here.  The book feels recharged, and like Peter, has a “new lease on life.”

ASM1I think that is going to be the best thing to come from the whole “death” of Peter Parker/Superior Spider-Man storyline; I know a lot of readers have always complained that Peter could just be too downtrodden at times, even downright whiney what with all his guilt and “dumb Parker luck.”  They’re not wrong; the character is often written with too much gravitas.  I’d even go as far to say he could, occasionally, be the Eeyore of the Marvel Universe.

excels-e1356302356362But with the whole “new lease on life” I think Peter is going to learn to have a little more fun and to not let the great weight of past mistakes keep him from loving his life–a lesson we can all take to heart.  In Superior Spider-Man #30 when Peter is fighting to return from the grave there is a great panel where he realizes this:

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“Every triumph.  Every tragedy.  The heartache–and the joy.  Family.  Friends.  The Adventure of it all.  And the fun.  My God, there was so much fun.”

If that’s not an epiphany moment I don’t know what is, and I think that epiphany is going to carry through the Amazing Spider-Man title for quite sometime.

The humor is back in the book as well: from Spider-Man fighting an animal-themed costumed group (one of them is dressed as a panda!) calling themselves “The Menagerie” and arguing about their code-names, to him losing his clothes and having to spin makeshift undies for himself out of webbing! #spideywhiteys!

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-1-review-2What is also fun to read is Peter responding to all the changes Doc Ock made to his life when he was in his body.  Peter is now the C.E.O. of a company, has a PhD, a robot butler, and a girlfriend whom he lives with.  I’m certain all these plot points will not only serve as material for great humor (especially the robot butler), but will also be pivotal for future story development, especially the character of Ana Maria Marconi, the woman Doctor Octopus fell in love with during his tenure as Peter.  In fact, the first issue ends just before the two have a crucial, honest conversation.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but I guarantee you’ll be hooked into picking up the second issue.

Anna Maria was actually one of, if not the best, parts to Superior Spider-Man and I’m really looking forward to seeing her character more in the pages of Amazing and what her role will be in the “real” Peter’s life.  Could they become romantically involved?  Will she become a new pillar of strength for our hero?  Or will she fade away after only a few issues and a half-fast resolution (I sure hope not!!!)?  Only time will tell.

Everything about this issue is spot on.  Dan Slott’s writing is as sharp as always.  He shows great understanding, not only for Peter’s character, but for his supporting cast as well.  The dialogue is natural and the book’s pacing flows without a hitch.   And then there’s zestful Humberto Ramos’ art.  Ramos is one of my favorite artists and his style lends itself so well to Spider-Man; it’s kinetic, fun, and emotive.  His character’s faces tell as much of a story as Slott’s words do and his fight scenes punch without the need for a bold-typed “POW.”

All in all Amazing Spider-Man #1 is a book for many: the die-hard Spidey fan like myself who has missed their favorite wall crawler’s heroics, those who once criticized the character for spinning too many webs of woe, or the brand new reader who needs the perfect jumping on point.

This is the Spider-Man I love, and I think if you give this book a chance, it’s the Spider-Man you’ll grow to love as well.

Amazing-Spidey-HeaderAgree?  Disagree? Have a really good recipe for snicker doodles? Let us know what you thought of the issue in the comments below.  We’d love to hear from you!

And as they used to say in Marvel’s letters’ pages: until Aunt May owns and operates an S&M club (the safe word is wheat cakes!), make mine Geektastic Podcast!  Excelsior!

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