Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #1

An alien invasion hits New York City and the only one who can stop it is…Spider-Man?! But that’s far from all you’ll find here – a revelation from the past puts Peter Parker’s job, relationships, and whole life in jeopardy! And if even that’s not enough, you’ll see a new roommate, new love interests – and a new villain!

Despite by disdain for writer Nick Spencer‘s recent Secret Empire, his writing on Superior Foes of Spider-Man (which if you haven’t read, it’s excellent) had me interesting in reading his debut on Spider-Man with The Amazing Spider-Man #1. After one issue, I already long for Dan Slott. Spencer excels when he focuses on humor but it seems that’s only the case when paired with artist Steve Lieber, his partner in crime on Superior and Spencer’s Image Comics series The Fix. Here, he works with artist Ryan Ottley coming off of his impressive work on Skybound’s Invincible.

Spencer’s first focus? Stripping everything that’s left of Peter Parker really setting him up for basics and to start from scratch. He’s already lost his company but what’s left to take? Spencer finds some things and in that sense the comic is interesting. The issue is that everything is delivered in such quick, rapid, bursts, it’s hard to stay focused. Again, this feels like Spencer’s previous comedic work, but this issue shows that Lieber was a key to bringing the quick hits together into a cohesive narrative.

Ottley’s work looks good. In fact, it looks like Ottley’s previous work in that Peter and MJ look a lot like the characters from Invincible. Ottley has a distinctive style and while characters vary, there’s a familiarity of them that makes them all seem a bit too recognizable. Ottley is joined by inker Cliff Rathburn, colorist Laura Martin, and letterer Joe Caramagna. The art combined with the story creates an ADD-like experience that can’t focus and delivers a lot in a scattershot way. It looks good though, and there’s a lot thrown in there for Ottley and crew to work with as so many heroes are depicted (and since when is Black Cat a good guy again?) doing battle.

The comic sets up a lot and features a return to the more humorous Spencer but something doesn’t click like his previous work. I can only conclude it’s the art which doesn’t gell. There’s some good ideas though, and potential fun. But, when a first issue has you longing for the previous creative team, that’s not a good sign. Spencer had a goal with this issue, strip everything that Peter still has and in that sense, it succeeds in setting up what’s to come with a new direction.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Ryan Ottley
Ink: Cliff Rathburn Color: Laura Martin Lettering: Joe Caramagna
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.25 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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