The Amazing Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

Amazing Spider-Man #1

Written by: Dan Slott
Pencils by: Humberto Ramos
Inks by: Victor Olazaba
Colors by: Edgar Delgado
Lettered by: Not even credited.
Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $5.99

Don’t be fooled by the numbering. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 reads like an epilogue to The Superior Spider-Man more than the kickoff of a new era for the newly returned Peter Parker. Don’t be fooled by the pricing and page count. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 boasts a hefty 80 page count for $5.99, yet it’s all set-up and teaser material for future stories. Marvel mastered the art of anchoring devoted film fans in their theater seats with their tantalizing post-credit scenes, and The Amazing Spider-Man #1 hints that this trend could spring to your comic shelves or comic apps.

For starters, the Amazing Spider-Man tale contained in the front of the book is a superb return to form for Peter Parker and Dan Slott. I enjoyed Slott’s decidedly grim and melancholy tale of Otto Octavius, The Superor Spider-Man. The Spidey canon is rife with tragedies, and rise and fall of Otto Octavius doing his best as Peter Parker and Spider-Man is bound to be one of the more memorable events. It relied on a love for the characters and taking them to familiar breaking points while still carving out a new tale and new lessons for all involved. It was dark, though.
With Peter back in the webs, Slott falls effortlessly into the areas he’s excelled his entire run. Exaggerated action pieces, finely tuned bad jokes, and a well paced balance of drama and action with just the right amount of panel time for every character needed to make the story satisfying and hold your interest until the next issue.
This issue, Peter deals with the ramifications of Otto’s role. He runs a company that specializes in tech Peter isn’t equipped to deal with, his allies and enemies are still wondering what’s going on behind the mask, his fans are losing faith, and most importantly, he shares an apartment with Otto’s ex-girlfriend. She only knows him as Peter Parker. All this while dealing with the White Rabbit.

Classic Spider-Man. I can’t say it’s a good first issue, as it lacks the immediacy and action a good first issue grabs the reader with. Even with the expected but dramatic ending this could easily have been The Superior Spider-Man #32. It’s still a good story if you’ve been following Spidey, but this has to be the hollowest effort yet in Marvel’s renumbering efforts. Humberto Ramos is as energetic and bold as ever with his art, though. I loved the stylized introduction and storyboarding of the action.

I wouldn’t recommend it to a reader wanting to jump in, even readers who may be interested by a movie coming out, perhaps? There are better things to start with.

Certainly not a story worthy of a $5.99 cover price, #1 stamped on the front or not. That $5.99 is there because the rest of the issue is an anthology of teasers. Maybe that softens the blow.
What’s cool about the main story is there are little hints of things going on outside of Peter Parker and Otto Octavius. Several short stories expand on this to show that nothing truly escapes Parker’s orbit.

Marvel has a big event coming up dubbed Original Sin, which seeds various retcons and historical twists throughout the Marvel Universe. Peter Parker was not the only one bitten by a radioactive spider that day, and the issue kicks off with this important event, to be expanded upon in The Amazing Spider-Man #5.

Electro has a short set up (wonderfully penciled by Javier Rodriguez, inks by Alvaro Lopez, and colors by Javier Rodriguez) for his current predicament and motivations, to be continued in Amazing Spider-Man #2. On and off again Spider-Lover Black Cat (a beautiful piece illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, with inks by John Dell and Cam Smith and colors by Antonio Fabela) has a score to settle with her wall crawling ex, even if it was the wrong man who crossed her, to be continued in The Amazing Spider-Man #3. There’s also Spidey 2099 (coming in July) and Scarlet Spider (New Warriors is on sale now, by the by).

We mustn’t forget the last plug. It’s important.

Smart guy, star mathlete, rock star physicist superhero aspiring teenager named Clayton Cole happens to have been there when a teenaged Peter Parker got his start as Spider-Man. This tale is told in a wonderfully anachronistic art style (a stylized homage by Ramon Perez with colors by Ian Herring) blending modern day smartphones and Beats headphones into a Steve Ditko stylized 1960’s Spidey origin. The burglar even cameos. Clayton Cole is inspired by Spider-Man to try his hand at superheroics, to be continued in The Amazing Spider-Man #1.1…
…yes, we’re still doing the .1 nonsense, this time in a throwback Year One sort of tale.

That’s two new twists in Spidey’s origin. I feel like I’m in the New 52.

This is why I’m less than impressed. Tighter scripting (and it’s seen in the first 20 pages) would have been enough lead up with Electro and Black Cat. I excuse those tales because Dan Slott and Christos Gage did a good job expanding on their agendas, and I like the characters. The rest seem to be clinging to The Amazing Spider-Man’s hype to advertise and pad the page count. They end up dragging it down and devaluing the asking price. You’re not getting bonus stories, you’re paying for commercials.

This is a big year for Spider-Man. He’s back in his own back, there’s a movie sequel, and Spidey 2099 is getting a push after decades of fan demand. I understand wanting to breed interest in the other Spidey family books and this title. I want to be excited about this book and those projects.

I’m not. Marvel shoots itself in the foot with too much, too fast, at too much. What should have been a return to form for The Amazing Spider-Man is dragged out and decompressed into middling anthology book that’s pure advertisement for the book you’re already reading.

That cover price and page count could have delivered a lot more satisfying first issue, and the Electro and Black Cat shorts by Slott and Gage tease at this to the point of disappointing disinterest once that part is over.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 hints at promising things to come for the title, but I can’t recommend this particular issue. After a year of success with an honest and interesting Spider-Man story, the entertainment just isn’t there in this issue.

Overall: 5/10

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