Warning: some SPOILERS for the issue follow.
“The Amazing Spider-Man #1” comes directly after the conclusion of Superior Spider-Man, bringing us right into the action of Peter Parker’s return to the webhead mask. With Peter returns his light-hearted and sarcastic Spider-Man, which is quite nice after his long absence. However, the overall quality of this new #1 issue is somewhat mixed.
Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos’ main story features the welcome return of Peter Parker, and doesn’t gloss over the fact that Doctor Octopus occupying his body has had great effects on Peter’s life. However, the book doesn’t always transition elegantly between comedy and drama, making the goofy moments feel strange sometimes, and making the serious moments lose some of their weight sometimes.
Case in point, the relationship Otto had with Anna-Maria. It’s good that it’s not forgotten by Slott, but it still feels like it doesn’t have the requisite impact that it should. The way Anna-Maria acts in this issue, particularly the fact that she doesn’t question what is presumably a severe shift in how her boyfriend is surely acting toward her, feels strange.
The issue also contains several minor stories written and drawn by various creative teams. These vary in how fun they are to read and how strong an impact they have. A number of these serve to build future stories for Spider-Man, some are essentially previews of new series to come, and some are casual vignettes.
“The Amazing Spider-Man #1” isn’t a true beginning. To understand its plot, one would need to be well-informed of the happenings of Superior Spider-Man. Its tone feels a bit awkward occasionally, and the characters behaviors seem strange at times. Having said that, this issue also has positive sides to it: From the return of the jovial Spider-Man, to the care the writers have for the continuation of important story lines from Superior Spider-Man, and through some of the more enjoyable minor stories (the humor and fun fourth-wall-breaking attitude of Joe Caramanga and Chris Eliopoulos’ “How My Stuff Works” was a personal favorite). This issue should not be confused with an actual “big #1”. The only truly “big” thing about it is the page count, and the reason it’s a #1 is because Marvel wanted it to be so. This could just as easily be “Superior Spider-Man #32”. However, on its own merits this is a good issue, with good promise.
Asaph Bitner is a staff writer for Capeless Crusader. His other activities include studying for a college degree and dreaming of visiting the Song Of Ice And Fire universe as a future-tech wielding Jedi secret agent. You can follow him on twitter at @AsaphBitner.