Friday, December 20, 2019


THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 1 / #802 (2018)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Nick Spencer
PENCILS: Ryan Ottley; Humberto Ramos
INKS: Cliff Rathburn; Victor Olazaba
COLORS: Marte Gracia; Edgar Delgado
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
COVER: Ryan Ottley with Laura Martin
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Shane Davis and Michelle Delecki with Morry Hollowell; John Romita, Sr. and Terry Austin with Jason Keith; Erik Larsen with Dean White (Remastered); Jim Cheung with Justin Ponser; Greg Land with Jason Keith
56pp, Color, $5.99 U.S. (September 2018)

Rated  “T”

Spider-Man created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee

“Back to Basics” Part One

Here we go.  Back in the summer, Marvel Comics published yet another The Amazing Spider-Man #1, but the publisher did not jettison its “Legacy” numbering.  So this new #1 comic book is also The Amazing Spider-Man #802.

It is a fresh start, of sorts, with a new creative team.  Nick Spencer is the new series writer.  The new art team is Ryan Ottley (pencils) and Cliff Rathburn (inks).  Laura Martin is on colors, and Joe Caramagna is on letters.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 finds Peter Parker still trying to get his life back together in the wake of the crash and burn of his company, Parker Industries.  He shares an apartment with roommates, and he has reconnected with M.J. - Mary Jane Watson.  But something is wrong.  People are giving him the side eye, when they aren't being outright hostile and dismissive.  And he and the Avengers are in the middle of a massive alien invasion.  Is there a conspiracy against Peter Parker and Spider-Man?

I enjoyed Dan Slott's run on The Amazing Spider-Man.  Of course, I only experienced the second half of Slott's long tenure on the title, and I understand that some readers and fans were ready for Marvel to move on from him.

I don't know if readers are satisfied now, but I like this almost tripled-sized issue.  Without reverting Peter Parker to childhood, Spencer takes Peter Parker back to the days when he suffered the bane of a hero's existence – no good deed goes unpunished.  Indirectly and directly and by action and inaction, Parker and Spider-Man are causing trouble for the people for whom they care.  Obviously, there is a lot of dramatic tension and conflict.  Still, Spencer writes a light-hearted comic book with both wry humor and dark undertones.

Ryan Ottley, known for his long run on Robert Kirkman's Invincible (Image Comics), is the perfect Spider-Man comic book artist, for now.  He reminds me of Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man, and, at the time (late 2000), both that comic book and Bagley were much needed breaths of fresh air for the Spider-Man franchise.  Ottley recalls the past while being something different, essentially an indie superhero comic book artist taking on a venerable mainstream superhero franchise.  Ottley is back to basics without being retro.

Cliff Rathburn on inks accentuates the newness of Ottley's clean pencil art.  Laura Martin's colors seems out of place, too heavy for Ottley and Rathburn's illustrations.  There is nothing distinctive about Joe Caramagna's lettering.  At least, it seems that way to me.

Former Amazing Spider-Man series artist, Humberto Ramos, delivers a killer back-up story.  With his striking illustrative style, Ramos usually presents potent storytelling, and his tale enforces my belief that this Amazing relaunch could be something special... at least for awhile.

8 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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