Posted - June 15, 2014 : Updated : August 24, 2015
Amazing Spider-Man v3 1
The cover of the first issue of this 3rd volume of Amazing Spider-Man made me really reluctant to read the comic.
It's because of Peter's face. What is that? Dorky, goofy, comical? Parker is supposed to be a genius, he looks like an idiot here. The thing is, the powers that be at Marvel, meant for Peter to look this way - this is a cover after all - of the first issue of a new series, no less - not some inside panel that an editor can overlook. Hmmm, maybe the younger fans would like it, to another eye it might be interpreted as 'playful' maybe? Even fun? If you're put off as I am by the cover, I suggest you ignore it. I read the comic and this is a good, solid issue.
It is, in fact, a comic book in several parts:
Part the First: Lucky To Be Alive
"Lucky To Be Alive" opens with the origin of Spider-Man, a tale that was first told in 1962 and has been retold countless times in the comics, several times in the movies, and I don't even know how many times in animations. With that, I dutifully read it trying to suppress a yawn. Wonderfully, there were two surprises. First, is the insignificant, yet interesting, detail that Peter's radioactive bite wound both burned and glowed - I was under the impression that it was just the average insect bite until Pete started feeling the effects. Second, is the very significant incident of a second recipient of the radioactive bite. A heretofore unrevealed female has also been bitten the same day as Peter by the same spider. No more is said of this after that, but Dan Slott has definitely planted the seed for a future storyline here. Come to think of it, this first issue is spent planting a lot of future storylines.
We learn that while Doc Ock had control of Peter, he had (1) completed a Phd, (2) started a company, (3) made the previously disabled Aunt May walk again. Ergo, Otto Octavius was the Superior Spider-Man.
What's the best way to prevent a Peter Parker-centric storyline to collapse on itself? Super-villains. In this case, sexy ones. Enter: The Menagerie.
This panel could have been so much better. The villainess on the right, Pandamania, looks good, specially with that really great show of super-strength. The leader, the one on the left, White Rabbit - I couldn't even tell she was supposed to be a rabbit until much later; and that unfortunately drawn pocket watch, placed right there, in that particular spot in front of her hip, makes here look like she's wearing diapers. It just throws off what could have been a really good panel. The Penguin-inspired umbrella blaster made me smile. It's nice to know that Marvel has access to DC's props.
Another great detail is the attempted heist of the Faberge eggs.
Wads of cash in bags are so cliche.
Just as the issue was beginning to take off, it crashlanded again with this panel.
When Peter had to borrow DDs costume, that was funny, this one is just sad - and hideously drawn, I think.
Later, Peter, who has been remiss in attending to the company that Doctor Octopus created for him -that's how it is isn't it? - gets a little lecture from Jay.
Spot on. Employees can be less than enthused about the 9-to-5 but when a person creates a company its most likely in pursuit of a dream. Jay is right, what could be more important? Little does Jay know he isn't talking to the person who created the company.
Now the story segues over to Doc Ock's lady love, Ana Maria:
I have two first names, and I know a lot of people with two first names but I've never used both my names in referring to myself or heard anybody else do that either, so to see Ana Maria referring to herself as 'Ana Maria' is a bit weird. It would be more natural for her to refer to herself as either Ana or Maria.
With Amazing Spider-Man 2 hitting the theaters, the choice of Electro as a villain comes as no surprise. We are treated to this wonderful panel of Electro unleashing his powers.
Now its time to look into J. Jonah Jameson. Mayor Jameson has been forced to resign. In a fit of anger, he does this:
How many of you, during an angry moment, have ever smashed a flat screen tv or anything of comparable worth? If you have, then congratulations, you're rich. The rest of us, no matter how angry we get, we don't touch the expensive stuff. You have to have money to fly into this kind of rage.
So Peter is stuck with the company. Not only that, he is stuck with taking over Doc Ock's formidable scientific workload. This panel shows us pretty much how Peter reacts to all this.
Now that's confidence. Peter knows he's smart and reacts appropriately. A person with no confidence in his brain power would be sweating buckets or looking to sell at this point, or, most likely, both.
I love the shot of Parker Industries' Spider-Man related projects
Next up, Menagerie again with a much better panel than the last one:
Marvel history alert: Gypsy Moth is not a new villain - she was a part of the first Spider-Woman series; that was either the early eighties or late seventies. Skein? Gypsy Moth is a much better name. All told, I really like this Menagerie panel.
Another thing I notice is the Spider-Man one-liners are 'off'. Off meaning unfunny. I mean: ". . .Motif, mo problems. . ."? In response to a statement from White Rabbit about the Menagerie having a motif? That was just painful.
Nearing the end of this first part, we get a nice shot of MJ.
Part the Second: Recapturing That Old Spark
This part is about Electro.
I first came across the super-villain hangout called The Bar With No Name in the pages of Brand New Day. I think its a great idea. What I don't like about this visit, to the bar, now, is this:
Supposed villain with an 8-Ball for a head. That just sucks.Yes, yes, everybody goes around in tights, but an 8-ball for a head?! I'm not even going to dignify this by asking what his power is.
Incidentally, the art for this part of the comic reminds me of Shaky Kane's Bulletproof Coffin art. This level of quality cannot carry itself on its own - like, for example, Lee, Perez, or Coipel art - it has to have a good story underneath it. And just like that, the dialogue shines through:
A hack would have the bartender say something like "No fighting" or "Take it outside" or some other unimaginative line but that piece of dialogue reflected a bartender who knows his business and writers - I'm looking at you Dan Slott and Christos Gage - who respect their work; and therefore, I will respect it too.
There is reference here to the uber-powerful Electro initiating a huge escape from the Raft. I'v e read those New Avengers issues way back. It's nice to know what happened to Electro after that.
There might be no honor among thieves, but, evidently, there is a sense of gratitude.
Here's another fine detail:
When other people are thinking about their careeers or global warming and such things, I find myself theorizing on Electro's powers. Here we learn that its not always "full on" but has to be built up. That's a good detail because, if you think about it, electrical powers are really on the upper scale of the super-power list.
This part is literally about kicking back in a bar and reminiscing. Very laid back, then we get a bit of a shock with this panel.
What is that? Are all those people dead because of Electro? Looks like the light-hearted bar talk has come to an end.
I was talking a while back about seeds being planted for future storylines. This part is one of them, it ends with Electro having a major bone to pick with the Wallcrawler.
Part the Third: Crossed Paths
This third part begins with the brutal attack of Otto Octavius as Spider-Man on Peter Parker's sexiest girlfriend ever: The Black Cat.
Not letting up on the shock panels it follows up with an equally heinious shot of Felicia Hardy mopping up in prison.
I've read up on those old issues of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man, and I know that Ms. Hardy, not wanting to do a deal with the devil, went for something a bit worst: a deal with the Kingpin. That deal gave her powers, real powers. So with that, what's Felicia doing mopping up in prison?
Short answer: power dampeners. Yup.
Later on, the power goes out, the power dampeners go off, and we have a very angry Black Cat out to get the Spider. Yet another one of those infamous seeds for future storylines.
My only hope, is that when it comes time to to tell the full tale they get a really good artist because the Black Cat drawn right is worth many times the price of admission.
Part the Fourth: How My Stuff Works
Welcome to the space-filler part. Drawn in the cartoony tradition of Fred Hembeck - no, that is not a complement.
To match the Archie comics art we have the appropriate subject matter: Spider-Man's powers and abilities.
I take issue with the statement that Spider-Man can leap three stories. Three stories? I don't think its three stories. I think Spidey is more powerful than that. I think he should be more powerful than that.
Then we come to the part of the web-shooters, about how they used to be organic for a time then mechanical again. If the comics didn't 'kiss ass' to the movies so much we don't have to have this elaborate explanations.
That's it, let's get out of this part and hope that, in the future, Marvel confines stuff like this to their free MacDonald's promos or things of that nature.
Part the Fifth: Homecoming Sort Of
This part is to promote Spider-Man 2099, who has an upcoming new series.
I know nothing of Spider-Man 2099 because I've ignored all previous comics about him but this part has got me interested.
First of all, it opens with a breathtaking panel by Will Sliney:
Just look at the details on that. The crisp linework.
Then we get more interesting details, like Spider-Man 2099 isn't in 2099. He's in the current time period. Nice.
As I said, I'm not familiar with him, so references to powers like 'acceleration vision' has me curious.
So Spider-Man 2099 rescues what seems to be a damsel-in-distress from a trio of thugs. Here he is punching them out.
Marvel has good costumes and bad costumes. This is one of the good costumes.
Entertainingly, this part ends with a sort of cliffhanger. Remember I referenced the victim as "seems to be a damsel-in-distress"? Well, she is royally pissed at being rescued. Why? Don't know. This part ends without explaining it.
For some insane reason, I think that's a great way to end this part.
Part the Sixth: Kaine
This part is about Scarlet Spider and is a promo for the upcoming New Warriors series.
I find the concept of 'The Other' particularly interesting.
Kaine is a product of the Clone Saga event that nearly destroyed the Spider-Man comicbooks in the 90s. He's all about how we react to feeling abused and threatened and feeling worthless, about how our choices at that moment define our life at that moment. The Other symbolizes the evil choice in such an instance, the giving in to the pain and anger.
This part gives us a treat at the end; a wonderfully done panel of the New Warriors.
Part the Seventh: Amazing Reality
This part addresses the question: What if during Spider-Man's early days smartphones were already widely used? No kidding. Here's that famous wrestling match being recorded on a mobile.
Notice how the art for this part approximates the Ditko art of the early Amazing Spider-Man issues?
So if Spidey's brush with Pro Wrestling was ever recorded and uploaded to UTube(?) how many hits would it get? Answer:
Personally, I think that's on the low side. 'Gangnam Style' got two billion hits in total for heaven's sake.
That kid with the smartphone is some kind of Peter Parker-level genius and he's rigged up his own gear - yet another seed for future storylines; in this case Amazing Spider-Man 1.1. That's right, not 2 - one point one.
Bonus Part: Inhuman
This part is free, so who am I so say no? Besides, I've always had a soft spot for the Inhumans - always a great read and this part is no exception.
So the Terrigen Mist has been unleashed on both sides of the Atlantic and latent Inhumans are discovering that they are, well, that they are latent Inhumans.
But before we get into that, just check out this beautiful panel of a Norwegian street by Joe Madureira.
Getting into the superhuman,or rather, Inhuman, part of the , eh, part, we come across Lash.
For a while there, I thought this was my favorite X-Man, the Beast. No its Lash - I'm pretty sure the Beast can kick this guy's ass.
Lash not only looks great but he adds to the ever-growing Marvel mythos by coming from a place called Orollan. Orollan is an Earth-based - as opposed to the former Moon-based New Attilan - Inhuman colony not under the sway of Black Bolt. They have a sparse supply of Terrigen so everybody can't be exposed to it - just a select few. Because of that, the Orollan Inhumans practice a sort of 'Terrigen elitism' that dictates that not all are worthy of the change brought about by the Mist. Interesting. I just love how deep Marvel lore becomes as time goes by.
Speaking of Black Bolt, here is a wonderful panel of him and the equally awesome Medusa.
Costume by Kirby right? After all this years the King is still the king.
The Inhumans are Marvel's ultimate statement about unity in spite of physical diversity. I mean, Lockjaw looks like a giant bulldog but he is as 'human' as the other Inhumans. Here's another one, Eldrac:
Eldrac looks like, and is mistaken for, a piece of infrastructure, but he is, in fact, an Inhuman with 'gateway' powers. Here he is transporting Medusa.
As the tale progresses we meet Dante. Dante is young and single but he has an ailing mother and a pregnant sister with a dead husband. He makes the hard choice to sacrifice what freedoms should have been available to him to stand by them. Here's what he has to say about family.
"... You get it. You step up. You grow up . . .". That's a great line and its reality for a lot of us.
Don't have enough of Medusa? Remove the word balloon on this panel and you've got a wallpaper-worthy spread.
Wow. And that's the first issue of Amazing. Lots of great art. Tremendous amounts of stuff for future storylines. Lots of shameless plugs for other Marvel series, but really good ones. Overall, I really enjoyed the variety this issue brought. I think this is a great start to the further adventures of one amazing super-hero.
Posted - June 16, 2014 | Updated : August 26, 2015
Amazing Spider-Man v3 1.1