Review: Avenging Spider-Man #2 by Zeb Wells and Joe Madureira

Avenging Spider-Man #2

Written by Zeb Wells

Art by Joe Madureira and Ferran Daniel

Avenging Spider-Man continues to surprise and impress.

Even those burnt out on all the Avengers, Hulk, and Spider-Man titles and, not to mention Marvel events should give this storyline a look, as Zeb Wells writes some of the funniest Spidey dialogue since early Ultimate Spider-Man while giving General Ross and J. Jonah Jameson even more swagger.

There was much to joke about with this series, even from those who have a fond memory for Joe Madureira’s art and the most die-hard Spidey and Avenger fans. Spider-Man is already on several teams, across twice as many books. Do we really need a book focusing on his time with the Avengers? We already have that. In the Avengers and Spidey titles.

No, we don’t. But thankfully this is a  Spider-Man Team-Up at it’s heart, and Zeb Wells knows how to keep his stories light and frantic without patronizing you and robbing you of a deeper entertainment. While this is clearly a pop-comic (pop in the sense of something sweet, not good for you, but good despite itself), it isn’t some mindless cash-in. So it’s got that going for it.

Last issue, the Mole Man crashed New York City for his annual takeover bid. Or so we thought. Turns out there’s a new race of subterraneans, and Mole Man bows to them. Thankfully, Wells abides by New York City cliche, so J. Jonah Jameson takes a stand while Spidey and Red Hulk sort things out in cliche buddy cop fashion.

So there’s nothing new here. Spider-Man’s been playing the comedic foil to Wolverine, Punisher, Moon Knight, real Hulk, you name ’em, for a while. And General Ross, while interesting as the stoic military man, isn’t bringing anything new to the table for the dynamic either. It still works, though.

Zeb Wells’ script powers along as well as it did last issue, ever self-aware of it’s comic book-ness, offering a nice respite from all the big events thundering overhead. He has a solid grasp on how to write Spider-Man (as Spider-Man, not Peter), but for this book, that’s what we want. He’s a quipping underdog foiling the more competent titans he shares the world with. It’s a beautiful, more focused synergy than anything the Avengers titles have offered of late. I’m glad Avenging is in the title, so that I can say this is technically the best Avengers book on the shelves right now.

The perfect popcorn to Wells’ pop is industry legend Joe Madureira. Sure, he’s already off the book in the future. What did we expect? This is the guy who dropped Battle Chasers for PlayStation. But I’ve seen Joe’s work since he was sixteen (I was younger!), and I still cherish the original Astonishing X-Men and his Uncanny run. Uncanny X-Men #325 is still one of my all time favorite issues, ever, and it’s because of Mad. And dammit, I still like Battle Chasers.

While Joe initially had an anime-esque style (and ushered in that era), his style was gorgeous. Is gorgeous. His over the top, exaggerated figures, deft linework, and cartoonish sense of scale are perfect for this title, this script.

Ensuring that it’s all rounded out is colorist Ferran Daniel, who honestly had some tricky scenes to pull off. Having been educated in coloring myself, that’s a lot of red on red and brown on yellow. Daniel pulls it all off and gives the book a classic four-color comic punch to the face and a nice spit shine. There’s a fantastic pallette at work, and for several big panels and spreads, you really should just stop and look and admire.

What Zeb Wells and Joe Madureira (and Ferran Daniel) have done is give us a wonderful comic book that has a lot happen in the self-contained issue, leads nicely to the next, and doesn’t feel like some overwrought magnum opus. It’s a comic book. It’s fun. And this creative team is just fun people.

Sad to see Mad go if the future solicitations are true, but if Wells can keep this tone and pacing up, he may have a shot at ousting Dan Slott as my favorite Spidey writer.

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