Editor’s Note — This review is for the issue’s main story. There are several other mini-stories as well as the entire issue of Inhumanity #1 in our review copy.
In the last few years, we’ve seen comics relaunch, reboot, and renumber.
None of have seemed as appropriate — if at all — as The Amazing Spider-Man #1 which features Peter Parker back in his own body, alive and very well.
See, the last The Amazing Spider-Man title ended with Parker’s death, kickstarting a new series called Superior Spider-Man which followed Doc Ock’s exploits as he put on his former rival’s mantle. The storyline and how it came to be was controversial, and it was only a matter of time before the original would come back because, like Superman, Peter Parker can’t stay dead too long.
Or fans will riot.
So, after 31 issues of Superior Spider-Man, our favorite web-slinger is back in his old shoes — except these shoes have added a few miles to their soles. While Peter was dormant, life moved on. Posing as Parker, Doc Ock dumped Mary Jane, earned a PhD, started a company, moved in with girlfriend Anna Maria Marconi, and burned a lot of bridges with his personality quirks.
For readers jumping back into comics or just testing the waters of Spider-Man, there’s an inkling of a greater story at large which is introduced in the very first pages of the issue. Recounting Spider-Man’s origin when he was bit by a radioactive spider, we’re told that much can happen in a split second.
Fast forward to the present — Spider-Man is back in action, taking on the Menagerie, a cute little team of villains inspired by animals. It’s a warmup that doubles as a sort of homecoming — we see reactions by the Avengers, Johnny Storm, and even Mary Jane.
There’s plenty of explication for the new readers as well as some foundation setting from Dan Slott. Slott writes Spider-Man the way he was written in the metal ages of comics with words like “razzum frazzum” and “darn” spoken by various characters. It’s a bit jarring if you’re into the gritty direction comics have gone in recent years, but it hearkens back to the days when superheroes had fun doing what they do best.
At the 2014 Wizard World Sacramento Comic-Con, artist Humberto Ramos said Marvel could have gone with a more popular artist, but he asked for the chance to draw this first issue. Ramos is a top-notch talent whose pencils fit well with Slott’s vision of the story and characters. Besides Anna Maria Marconi looking rather childish, Ramos gives us the Spider-Man we both need and deserve.
Credit should also go to Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado whose inks and colors give the issue a nice polish. This is, after all, Marvel’s flagship title, and with sales already breaking recent records, The Amazing Spider-Man #1 needed to be a grand slam.
So, is it?
For now, it’s the equivalent of the legendary point by Babe Ruth, and we’re just waiting on the pitch and swing. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 amounts to a primer for new readers and the calm before the storm for returning readers familiar with the characters. As someone who hasn’t read any Spider-Man for the past few years, Slott’s scripts are gentle and inviting — a status quo I’m hoping will shift as Spider-Man takes on new and familiar threats.
If it fails, they can always relaunch Superior Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014)
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Words: Dan Slott
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Chris Eliopoulis
Next Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #2 Review
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