The Amazing Spider-Man #1 – Comic Review

In a comic book filled with several stories, Peter Parker makes a bright and brash return to the Marvel Universe.

What The Amazing Spider-Man #1 offers:

  • Artwork that makes use of perspective – close and long distance artwork – and builds tension across panels.
  • Humor and Banter between characters makes the comic entertaining.
  • Rated T for teen readers, some of the content is not suitable for younger readers, with Spider-man‘s costume dissolved and medium violence.
  • A short, three page comic called “How My Stuff Works” included that is pitched at younger readers
  • Themes of renewed  life.

This Review covers the story “Lucky to be Alive”, which is the first, and longest, of the Spider-man stories within the comic book.

Early pages use gold light effectively. The artwork eases transitions between scenes, captures movement, and guides readers past the consequences of Superior Spider-Man

Art found on the first page recaptures the art of the 1960’s Spider-man comics. Scenes are recreated in detail and cast in a warm, gold light. It’s a tone that implies good memories of times gone by.

Later, as the artwork shifts to the present day, where plot threads are picked up: Scenes that move rapidly from close up perspectives to long range capture the debris leftover from Superior Spider-Man’s conclusion. It’s a bit bewildering early on. Close ups build tension and capture movement across panels, however. Clear artwork with great use of full page work make these transitions flow with ease.

Peter’s body shape seems to be rendered in a different size and shape compared to earlier stories. There’s something older about his face also. The war of minds between Parker and Otto Octavius has taxed Spider-Man’s health. The pencil work, and inking depict an older and slightly thinner man.

Characters banter and the sense of humor in this comic are first class. Peter returns to new responsibilities, and a new thread is woven into the Spider-man mythos

Readers looking for answers (how did Peter return? What about the Avengers?) might find the large scale text difficult to read through. The comic opens with a calm tone, however. Answers unfold slowly. Marvel comics deftly weaves a new thread into the Spider-man myth: another person received a radioactive spider bite from the same spider that bit Parker. She wears an ankle bracelet with a tiny, green crescent moon attached.

One Page in this comic is devoted to J. Jonah Jameson. It’s like a miniature, one page version of J. Jonah Jameson’s own comic. The character is large and loud enough that this page feels like a miniature comic of its own.

The humor and smart remarks between characters in this issue is first class. Banter between villains White Rabbit and the villain formerly know as Gypsy Moth – now called “Skein” – is excellent. They argue over the need for a ‘motif’: an animal theme in this case.

One hard fact remains. After Otto Octavius finished being a Superior Spider-man, his reputation as a friendly hero was warped into a dictatorial commander complete with thugs and giant stomping robots.

A large theme of returning to life – resurrection – appears. Spider-man’s costume damage is a plot point, and represents his tarnished reputation.

There’s a theme of returning to life – Peter’s return is somewhat of a resurrection. White Rabbit’s appearance prompts one character to make an Easter reference. Since Easter is a festival that celebrates renewed life, it makes sense to add this theme to Peter Parker’s return.

Spider-man’s loss of costume raises several points:  The damaged suit, unraveled, makes a point of Peter’s damaged reputation and identity. No costume emphasises Spider-Man’s vulnerability. He’s emerged into a dangerous new world.

His disrobing also plays into the plot effectively. Spider Woman sees footage of “Skein” attacking Peter on a live television feed. She believes that Spider-man has run into such bad luck for this to happen, that there is no way he is a dictator or commander any longer.

The plot point also reveals a closer relationship with Anna Maria Marconi – a science student Otto Octavius dated while in control of Spider-man’s body. Marconi recognises Peter is Spider-man when she spots freckles on his stomach normally concealed by the red and blue costume.

A popular culture reference: A passerby on the street references Miley Cyrus when Spider-Man’s costume is destroyed by the “Skein”. She compares Spider-Man to Miley Cyrus from her “Wrecking Ball” music video.

The Amazing Spider-man #1 is published by Marvel Comics ($5.99 USD). Dan Slott (W.) Humberto Ramos (P.) Victor Olazaba (I.) Edgar Delgado (C.) Chris Eliopoulos (L.) Cover Artwork by Humberto Ramos.

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