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Amazing Spider-Man #1

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1

Capsule Review

The Paradox of Theseus asks if a thing remains what it was if all of its parts are replaced. In this reboot we have the Paradox of Peter Parker — is Spider-Man still Spider-Man if he’s no longer short on cash, worried about his aunt, juggling needy girlfriends, on the run from the cops, vilified by J. Jonah Jameson, misunderstood and disrespected everywhere, and getting his ass kicked on a daily basis (before bouncing back to triumph, of course)? After reading this reboot, I’m not convinced you can take all or most of those things away and still have Spider-Man. Writer Dan Slott has guided Spider-Man for the better part of a decade, and has forgotten more about the character than I will ever know, but I didn’t warm to his vision of an adult Peter Parker, heading a multi-national corporation that’s made its fortune selling Spider-Man technology, with Peter himself a sort of kinder and gentler Tony Stark. Peter still has his insecurities, and he remains the same deeply caring guy that he’s always been, but it is as if the science geek side of the character has ballooned up to crowd out every other aspect. It may well be that Marvel’s (frankly, bloated) new line of multiple Spider-Verse books has no room for a kvetching post-adolescent Peter Parker (maybe that role is reserved for Miles Morales?), but even if that is the case, so fundamentally changing this flagship Spider-Man book solves a publisher problem at the reader’s expense, which is rarely a good idea. Despite my griping, the storytelling is strong — artist Giuseppe Camuncoli draws Spidey’s new corporate world in an expansive, big-shouldered fashion, and Slott keeps the pace up (and keeps the quips coming) while managing a swirling constellation of supporting characters. (The back up stories were mostly disposable). It’s a good book! It’s just not my flavor.

Approachability For New Readers

So-so. Weirdly, the less you know about Spider-Man, the more likely you are to jump into this tale, because you won’t be tripping over your assumptions. It will be tricky for fans of the movies, cartoons, or (most of) Spidey’s comics to merge into this one.

Read #2?

No. Not my Web-head!

Sales Rank

#2 October

Read more about Spider-Man at Longbox Graveyard

Read more capsule reviews of Marvel’s All-New All-Different rolling reboot.

Amazing Spider-Man #1

 

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on November 30, 2015, in Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. word_in_edgewise

    I can totally relate to the Parker That Has It All. What IS your problem, dude? 😉

    Like

  2. I’m being brief, because I gotta poop, and not because I’m being flippant or rude. All those missing plot points that defined classic Spidey belong where they are: the past. It’s been done, and, fifty years later, they have become crutches to hamper storytelling rather than enhancing them. Same is true of X-Men at the school, for example; it’s old and tired. Give me something new. Poo time.

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    • If Spider-man isn’t good for them anymore (and you) I dare them to create something new.

      Something Marvel didn’t do since the seventies (and barely so).

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      • The problem, of course, is that while the market might say they want new things, they vote otherwise with their wallets, at least with the Big 2 publishers. And so we get endless character reboots and yet another X-Man or Avenger. So we really can’t blame Marvel and DC from going up their own backsides again and again to provide new characters. They’re in the business of selling comics, and with the market down to we few grousing band of brothers, they can only offer up what the converted will buy.

        It is worth considering who or what was the last big original character hit from the Big 2. Deadpool has been a B-List guy (but the movie may change that), but he was born as an X-Men line extension, and not from some huge outburst of originality. Harley Quinn grew out of the Joker (and was originally a creation of the animation division — the comics guys had nothing to do with her at first).

        Who was the last truly great stand-alone character introduced by the Big 2? Do we go all the way back to Wolverine? That was 1974!

        So if your track record for originality really is that dire … heck, yes, jumble up the costume bag and give us another X-Avenger. The sales numbers do not lie.

        (There is an original comics golden age going on right now, but it is at Image, not Marvel or DC!)

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    • I hope everything came out all right, Mojo!

      I won’t disagree with you about the importance of trying new things, and it may even be that I am overreacting in this case, but I think it is a mistake to characterize core character tenants as “crutches” merely because they have been around for a long time. Characters don’t need to radically change over time to remain interesting — I remain fascinated with Conan, the Simpsons, Sherlock Holmes, Mickey Mouse, Dracula, Batman, Spock, Tarzan, and Sgt. Rock despite those characters changing minimally, if at all.

      Have they been reinterpreted? Yes, many times. Have they been updated, or shifted in time? Several of them, yes. But their core remains essentially unchanged, and it is from the core that these characters draw their strength.

      I know it is silly to get my shorts in a knot over these changes to Peter Parker. He is bound to revert to form eventually, and I’m not even that great a fan of the character to begin with. But this seems more a stunt than an evolution to me … and I might even regard it a bit lazy. Certainly it belongs more on the make ’em all zombies/bend their genders/change their identity side of the intellectual property spinning wheel than it does, say, over next to Frank Miller’s Batman.

      To me, the real crutch is making wild changes solely or mostly to grab attention. Frankly, ideas are the easy part. Execution is hard. Tell me a fresh story about the Peter Parker I already know and I’ll beg for more. Am I the only fan alive who hasn’t tired of Spider-Man? Like I said, I’m not his biggest fan, but I recognize greatness when I see it.

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      • I think the fundamental difference between us in this case is that I still see the core of Peter Parker in the current iteration. To me, it only makes sense that a kid who was inventing next-next-level shit in his bedroom becomes a billionaire. So now “Parker luck” can hit him on a grander scale with whatever billionaires worry about.

        (Not to go off on a tangent, but Parker luck is blown wildly out of proportion. This nerd, who literally swings around Manhattan to blow off steam, makes a living taking amazing action photos, and was dating the hottest girls on the block. More were chasing him, and he married a super model. I don’t want to hear about his problems.)

        Yeah, I get that the nice guy version of Tony Stark is not relatable to the everyman, but that’s splitting hairs. There’s nothing relatable about swinging from rooftops and having radiation give you anything other than cancer. While Dan Slott was building this world over the past few years, Peter still had a crazy personal life to juggle, and in-story, the whole reason he’s in the position he’s in today is thanks to Doc Ock, who was the one to actualize Parker’s potential while inhabiting Pete’s body. There’s a logical progression from one thing to the next and here we are. I grew up and found new problems, new successes. So did Spider-Man.

        For the most part, I do believe Slott when he says he doesn’t do things to grab attention but to tell good stories. Similarly, I think he’s done a great job, especially when it comes to pulling a lot of random characters out of the Spider-vault. (I’m a mark for Cardiac.) Superior Spider-Man was refreshing, aside from the cheap, easy-out they took in restoring Peter to his own body, which completely contradicting everything said and done to that point. Peter’s essence was wiped clean from his body, only to somehow reappear when the story called for it. This was a HUGE mistake, and nearly killed the whole saga for me, because it was so weak. Otherwise, I don’t think Slott has pulled many stunts like this.

        Okay, I’m rambling now.

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        • I failed to account for Slott’s “Superior Spider-Man” run, which of course makes this a less jarring transition … but part of my (self-appointed) brief here at Longbox Graveyard is to look at things from an outsider perspective. That means from outside the comic shop, and from outside the editorial offices at Marvel. And from that perspective, I expect to be able to pick up the first freaking issue of Marvel’s oldest and most important flagship comic title and not wonder what the heck happened to Peter Parker. I think it crazy that a #1 issue of a reboot doesn’t work harder to onboard NEW readers, instead of servicing ongoing continuity from the last time the damn thing was rebooted (what, like, ten minutes ago).

          I’m cranky and need my meds.

          I will concede this is not a stunt, but I will not concede it a wise idea. But I am clearly not the market. (Which I think is a big problem for Marvel, but whatever).

          Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Scott. Exchanges like this are my most valued reward for writing this blog, and I mean that sincerely.

          Like

  3. Was I really reading what you wrote Paul?
    When one thinks Marvel hit a bottom then they prove they can sink even deeper.

    Pathetic.

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    • I should emphasize that this is a high quality book — fine writing, good characterization, very attractive art. But it’s a stunt and a gimmick. And maybe that’s what comics are good for, I dunno. Seems the wrong approach for Spidey, to me at least.

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  4. Gotta’ agree with MojosWork here on that. It’s way past time Peter Parker was allowed to grow up and actually benefit FINALLY from his long-standing genius in the science department. Just because he’s finally being successful in that aspect of his life, doesn’t mean or guarantee he’ll have smooth sailing for the other parts. As they saying goes, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” He’ll still be slightly insecure deep inside, still be that scared and very emotionally-scarred teenage boy who’s parents died and left him and an early age, and who was somewhat complicit in his other father-figure’s death. Those elements, and his the good ol’ Parker luck won’t ever go away. But I do get your point to an extent. And now, that is indeed where Miles will pick up on the older Spider-Man’s former adolescent issues and go on his own personal journey to conquer them.

    Besides, everything will just be reset anyways eventually. Either in time for the next the Spider-Man movie or soon after. That’s just how Marvel rolls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make the very mistake that any good writer should avoid.
      Essentially: don’t give the readers what they think they want, give them what they need and that is the writer’s job.

      You can update a character but you can’t strip a creation from its core concepts.
      What you would like for Spider-man is a reader empathy that goes against what makes this character unique.

      Like

      • There’s a saying that it takes a hundred years to grow a tree, and about ten minutes to burn it down. These legacy comic book characters have been growing for decades. Who they are and what they are is down to the work of hundreds (thousands?) of hands. That you can so change and (frankly) risk invaluable intellectual property like Spider-Man means either that the editorial leadership at Marvel are a bunch of wild-ass, balls-of-steel visionaries, or that they aren’t watching out for the characters so much as they are watching out for next month’s sales.

        (Or, more likely, these comics are selling so few copies in the scheme of things that no one really cares what happens in them. Movies and television are all that really counts, and I expect it will be a long, long time before we see such a radical reinterpretation of Spidey in film).

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        • Marvel, like so many soulless corporates, has long time ago traded creativity for shallow marketing vacuum being operated as it is by headless running ducks (which is still a much finer poultry than turkey by the way).

          Like

    • You are right, of course, that it will all be reset eventually. To paraphrase Alan Moore, aren’t they ALL imaginary stories in any case?

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