I’ll admit I tend to be hot or cold when it comes to Spider-Man. I usually pick up the series when there’s a new launch or team and read the first arc, maybe. But, I usually trail off, overwhelmed with so many choices. I’ve enjoyed storylines here and there but I rarely read or follow entire runs. I enjoyed “Beyond” realizing it was a short term arc before the “next phase” of the character began. And, it arrives with Amazing Spider-Man #1, a new start to help celebrate 60 years of the character.
Zeb Wells kicks off the new era as the writer teamed with artist John Romita Jr. making his triumphant return to the character. Unfortunately, while the comic should be an exciting celebration, it overall feels a bit disjointed and choppy at times focused more on the setup than the now.
Opening with a mysterious event, the comic skips six months later. We find that Peter is down on his luck, dodging bill collectors and generally ghosting his friends. He’s the usual sad sack but instead of the loveable loser, he comes off more as just a jerk. This isn’t the Peter we feel bad for. He’s much more of an ass making it hard to cheer for him. This is depressing Peter, not funny quippy Peter who can’t get his act together. This Peter deserves to be slapped to get his act together.
From there, it’s action, reveals, and catching up with characters as to where they are. Yes, there’s some surprises and a few characters get some growth but overall the goal feels like surprises taking advantage of the six months time skip. Answers will come but those surprises create the disjointed feel at times, like it’s a series of vignettes as opposed to a flowing narrative. But, where the comic works, it really works. A dinner with Tombstone has such great personality and is a highlight of the comic.
John Romita Jr.‘s art to me is also a bit hit-or-miss. I know individuals like his style but I’ve never been the biggest fan. With ink by Scott Hanna and color by Marcio Menyz, visually the comic is all over. It lacks the “classic” contortionist look made popular over the years and instead we get Romita’s style which at times is more baffling than the contortionist take. I think my issue with Romita’s style is that the characters look so much the same with a generally blocky head, like LEGO figures that have certain parts changed but the base remains the same. But, like the story itself, there’s some great artistic moments. They’re just spotty and few and far. If you’re a fan of Romita’s style, I’m sure your take will be much more positive but this is really a personal preference and taste.
There’s a lot to take in with Amazing Spider-Man #1. It shows a lot of potential with where the story’s going and generally feels like a new and interesting direction for the first arc at least. Hopefully, things get a bit smoother going forward as it all plays out but as a start, it’s just so-so.
Story: Zeb Wells Art: John Romita Jr.
Ink: Scott Hanna Color: Marcio Menyz
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review