Even though I’ve dabbled in the Marvel Universe from time to time, the announcement that Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos would be taking over the creative duties on The Amazing Spider-Man had me interested enough to seek out the issue, eager to read. So will I continue to put the title on my list, or will I retreat back to my Ultimate (Comics) Only Stance?
Previously in The Amazing Spider-Man: Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and gains great powers and responsibilities. Lots of things happen; he gets married, has a baby girl, doesn’t have a baby, gets cloned, reveals his identity, fights battles, loses battles, goes into space, joins the Avengers, is hunted by everyone, loved by everyone, hated by J. Jonah Jameson, makes a deal with Mephisto so he can get out of his marriage and date other women…Hmmm? Well I don’t read the book, so I’m summarizing what I remember…
A NICE JUMPING ON POINT
Poor, poor Peter Parker. The guy just can’t catch a break. While he may be leading the Avengers as they take down an invasion of Doc Ocks giant robot Octopi on New York, he also finds out he’s homeless, and no real job prospect. On the other hand, there are some things that are really looking up for the man. He does have a nice new girlfriend, but she doesn’t want things to move along too quickly, so he’s stuck going from door to door hoping to find a friend or family member who will take him in. Luckily, Aunt May has married into the right family, and her new grand daughter just so happens to know Max Modell – brain man extreme – and lands Peter an informal job interview, which leads to job with Horizon Labs (and more money than he’s seen in years).
There are some other things going on in the issue, such as the appearance of the Sinister Six, Hobgoblin, the Kingpin, and Venom, and while I don’t know what the heck is going on with all the villains that appear, they are generally serving as set dressing or foreshadowing elements for stories yet to be told.
Again, I haven’t been reading the main Marvel Universe Spider-Man books, so there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge of the characters and their most recent history, but writer Dan Slott was able to draw me in with the way he reveals his tale. Readers are dropped into the middle of the action with each and every scene, so there isn’t a lot of standing around posing while the writer fills the page with decompressed dialog. We’re made privy to the most important information in each exchange, and that helps the issue seem longer than it really is. By the end of the issue, I feel like I know all the characters, even though I don’t know all of the characters. And that goes a long way when drawing new readers in and keeping them hooked.
COME FOR THE STORY, STAY FOR THE RAMOS
Whenever someone mentions Humberto Ramos, my ears instantly perk up, and I’m ready to grab ahold of whatever it is he’s working on. I usually don’t follow creators or artists from book to book, but when it comes to Ramos, and Adam Hughes, I’ll generally pick up their books just to marvel at the pretty pictures. And in this issue, Ramos doesn’t disappoint. The lines are perfect, the layout is wonderful, and the staging of characters in each panel is done to aid the story and not simply to show off a female character’s butt, or the most popular character of the moment.
Ramos does have a way with the way he draws women, and his take on Spider-Woman, Sue Richards, Norah Winters, and even Mary Jane certainly bring the WOW. One of the things I’ve always loved about Ramos’ style is the way he can make an expression or pose over dramatic without it falling completely apart, and his rendering of Mary Jane and Peter having a good laugh together is near perfect. If there was one thing I really miss, it’s Ramos’ big eyes/big feet/bigger boobs style, but I’m glad it is toned down here, as it works better with the more serious tone of the series.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT
Since I didn’t put this issue on my pull list, I had to visit our local bookstore a couple of different times until I found it on the shelves, and I’m glad I went through the extra effort to track it down. While it is nice to see things going right for Peter, I know it won’t last long as it seems Spider-Man/Peter Parker is destined to be dumped on time and time again. Dan Slott tells a great tale, and Ramos and the rest of the art team clean up with some fantastic images, and I’m now on board The Amazing Spider-Man for the foreseeable future. Dogs and cats aren’t living together in harmony just yet, but this issue was powerful enough to illicit 5 out of 5 Stars from me.