The hazard of reading a lot of comics for the purpose of review is that it’s easy to get behind. So, with “Amazing Spider-Man” having recently kicked off a new series, it felt like a good opportunity to jump back on board with the latest #1. The new series may only be two issues in, but — for the moment — Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith give us a lot to keep hopes high.
What works most in “Amazing Spider-Man” #2 is how Slott makes sure to provide just the right mix of elements. There’s action, there’s humor, there’s excitement and there’s just the right overall take on the character of Peter Parker. Peter and Hobie going after the Zodiac works if you look at this comic with nothing but a desire for superheroes going after bad guys; the pacing is strong, the foes aren’t presented as too weak or too strong and there are some real stakes in the battle.
There’s a lot more to enjoy here than Spider-Man chasing down some bad guys, though. The rapport between Peter and Hobie is entertaining, and Slott gives some fun moments to Zodiac troops that would have otherwise come across as faceless. The best part, though, is Slott’s ability to keep away from the old hoary trap of Peter Parker as affable loser. It’s nice to see him continue to apply his great intelligence, be it through inventions or by outthinking his opponents in a way most people would never even notice. This is a Peter Parker you can get behind all the way; the old take on him, where he couldn’t catch a break, felt like an attempt to have readers empathize with him, but I prefer the idea that Peter should be inspirational. Let him have his proverbial cake, then come up with a device that duplicates it at high speed so he really can have and eat it too.
I’ve enjoyed Camuncoli’s pencils ever since his work on Vertigo titles like “Swamp Thing” and “Hellblazer,” and he and inker Cam Smith work well here, too. Little moments, like Peter standing at the end of the board room table, are beautifully composed; it’s an attractive suit he’s wearing, the pose is pensive and Camuncoli and Smith’s art is accentuated by Marte Gracia’s careful coloring to provide gentle and subtle shades, even as Gracia adds show-stopping effects to the sky outside. Other smaller moments throughout the comic look great as well, like the Aquarius base being below a shelf on the ocean floor rather than out in (semi-)plain sight, or how Camuncoli makes sure the Spider-Man and Prowler outfits are similar yet distinctive. It’s a strong looking comic, one that ramps up the emotional content of Slott’s scripts with a real emotional power in its pages.
“Amazing Spider-Man” #2 is a real pleasure, one that can have a character concerned for his own well-being while making sure that unconscious bad guys get rescued from a base that’s going to be destroyed. Slott has been writing “Amazing Spider-Man” for a while now, and this issue is a reminder not to take his presence here for granted. “Amazing Spider-Man” #2 is a strong issue that’s a good jumping on point for those who have been holding back.