Amazing Spider-Man #1/ Writer: Nick Spencer/ Penciller: Ryan Ottley/ Inker: Cliff Rathburn/ Colorist: Laura Martin/ Publisher: Marvel/ Release Date: July 11th, 2018
Nick Spencer: the writer who drew fandom’s ire with his controversial Captain America storyline. Ryan Ottley: an artist primarily known for drawing the subversive super-hero comic Invincible. The question on everyone’s minds: How will they fare tackling Marvel’s flagship series and character in Amazing Spider-Man #1?
The answer: Spectacularly. (Pun only slightly intended.)
I first learned of Spencer’s work reading the highly underrated Superior Foes of Spider-Man, which was basically It’s Always Sunny in Philidelpha with super-villains. He brings that same tone to Amazing Spider-Man proper, and it works like gangbusters. Parker is in perfect form here-cracking wise, slinging webs, and watching his life go to crap. (Not for long though…more on that later.) I only sporadically read Dan Slott’s run, but I always felt like something was missing. Reading Spencer’s first issue, I realize what that something was: Heart.
Peter Parker, for all the quips and angst, wears his heart on his sleeve. He genuinely cares about the people in his life, and tries to be his best for them. But sometimes we fail the people we love, and that is worse than fighting a horde of super-villains or an alien invasion. There is a moment between Peter and his Aunt May that is so heart-wrenching, it nearly brought me to tears. Later in the issue, there is a moment that brought tears of joy to my eyes (again, I will return to that.)
A good writer needs a good artist, and Ryan Ottley is as good as they come. He re-teams with his Invincible collaborators, Cliff Rathburn and Laura Martin, to tackle the Marvel Universe, and it looks GLORIOUS. From Marvel heroes battling a horde of extraterrestrials, to Spidey crashing through a window, Ottley’s hyper articulated animated style is a perfect fit for this book. His artistic collaborators do a great job of fitting his bloody style into an all ages title like Amazing Spider-Man. The only minor complaint I have is with scenes between Peter and Mary Jane Watson; at times they look a bit too similar to Invincible and Atom Eve.
Now it’s time to talk about the ending of Amazing Spider-Man. I was NOT expecting it to happen…and that’s a good thing, because the build up to that ending came naturally and the payoff was satisfying. I can’t say too much because of spoilers, but if Spencer infuriated Captain America fans with Secret Empire, he’s looking to win back a large segment of Spider-Man fans (yours truly included) with this development.
All in all, Amazing Spider-Man #1 is a wonderful first issue. Highly recommended to seasoned and neophyte Spider-Man fans alike, as well as comic fans in general. I think we’re in for something special here, folks.
VERDICT: 5 out of 5 web fluid cartridges.