Review: ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #1 Misses The Mark
by Tony Thornley
I had high hopes for Amazing Spider-Man #1. Unfortunately the new volume of the series misses the mark, in some really unusual ways.
The relaunch comes from Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna, Marcio Menyz and Joe Caramagna.
Six months ago, Peter Parker’s life fell apart. He’s still trying to put the pieces of it back together, but he’s doing it alone. MJ, Aunt May, the Fantastic Four and all his other friends and allies want nothing to do with him. Too bad there’s also a gang war brewing in New York City.
The art in this issue was probably the thing I was most worried about at first. Romita and Hanna step up with the linework though. Romita seemed to have lost a step at DC, but he gains it back here, with some really solid layouts, and great action work. In a few places Peter is a little too skinny (which could also be the inks), but overall, this issue looks fantastic.
Menyz is growing more and more as a color artist by the issue, and I really enjoy how vibrant he makes night time New York feel. Caramagna’s always great work is welcome here as well, as he is able to weave the dialogue through the story extremely well.
The story from Wells is where this issue struggles. The gang war is great. Every one of the gangsters is engaging, and I really like that he’s using characters like Tombstone and the Rose instead of the usual suspects. The conflicts in the lives of Peter’s supporting cast are fascinating, and I want to know more about the final page twist in particular.
So what’s the problem? Once again, Peter Parker has been reverted to the down-on-his luck sad-sack, who’s barely scraping by, and Wells doesn’t give us a reason to care or why this time is different. And what makes it worse is that this focus is the vast majority of the issue. Peter puts on the costume (for the limited time he does) the story lights up and gets exciting.
The moment it’s off though, we have to try to figure out why we should care that once again Peter is in such a tough spot. The mystery of “What did Peter do?” isn’t engaging enough in this issue for me to care. Maybe that will change next issue, but as it stands right now, I kind of don’t care.
I hope this was just a bumpy start, and not an indication of things to come. If it’s the latter, I worry that I might end up dropping Spider-Man once again, which disappoints me to the core when one of my favorite writers is paired with my favorite character.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 is available from Marvel Comics now.
Solid art doesn’t make up for a story that relies too much on old tropes. Hopefully the series can improve quickly.