I’ll admit that I’m not a long-term reader of “Amazing Spider-Man,” and in fact the last time I’d read the series was before the other Spider-books were cancelled and “Amazing Spider-Man” had shifted into a publication schedule of several times a month. But with “Superior Spider-Man” having come to a close, the new “Amazing Spider-Man” series seemed like a great place to jump back on board and see what’s been happening with everyone’s favorite webslinger. After all, a new #1 (and now #2) should mean a new entry point, right?
To Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos’s credit, that’s exactly what readers have been given. In many ways, the book actually rewards new readers because they’re on the same page as Peter Parker. Every time that Peter discovers another thing that Doctor Octopus did while possessing Peter’s body for the run of “Superior Spider-Man,” it’s a surprise to me (and other new readers) as well. Parker Industries, his new girlfriend Anna Maria Marconi, even his new web fluid. It’s a series of, “Hey, what the heck?” moments and it’s pretty fun.
As fun as all of the surprises are, though, it’s how Slott writes Anna Maria that interests me the most. She seems like a smart and savvy person based on these first two issues, and she’s an interesting addition to the cast. Having her as an ally looks to be a bit of game change, and I appreciate that she’s someone who can clearly hold her own rather than being a damsel in distress. She’s the high point of the comic, and while the pace seems a little slow here, I did like that a lot of the focus was on her.
On the other hand, there’s something vaguely uncomfortable about the entire Parker Industries setup, one that continues on from last month’s debut of the new series. Watching Peter fumble his way through running a company centering around cybernetics (something that’s not Peter’s specialty at all) doesn’t seem funny, or clever, or even that interesting. It’s just cringe-inducing, really. I get that Slott’s trying to make Peter’s post-Doc-Ock reintegration full of problems that aren’t an easy fix, but there’s something about this one that feels — well, not attention-grabbing the way that Anna Maria, or the experiments on Electro, or anything else from Ock’s past has. If anything, it feels almost out of character for Peter, between his promise to avoid Spider-Man (a strange reboot of the relationship he had to have with Spider-Man when living with Aunt May back in the day) now his new plan on the direction for the company. As uninteresting as having Peter going back to being a mostly penniless photographer would be, I’m not sure this is a direction that works much better.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Ramos’s pencils on any sort of regular basis, and that’s a definite enticement to read “Amazing Spider-Man.” He’s very dependable, someone whose art hasn’t changed since I last encountered it years ago. I like how his characters have full faces (rather than the typical superhero emaciated ones), for instance, and the energy that his characters have in fights. From a punch that ripples off the page towards the reader, to an explosion of energy as Spidey leaps into the fray, every moment feels carefully mapped out for maximum effect. Some of the coloring obscures a bit of the art, like in the Electro battle, so hopefully that could get toned down a bit in future issues.
All in all, “Amazing Spider-Man” #2 was a fun read, enough to make me want to come back for more. Slott has a lot of balls up in the air, and provided they keep moving forward, I think we’re good. I’ll come back for a third issue next month, certainly.