The Amazing Spider-Man Spider-Island Summer PREVIEW!

 Greetings cheapskates! Dazzlin’ Don Grant here to bring YOU the most AMAZING, SENSATIONAL, SPECTACULAR look at the free Amazing Spider-Man Summer Preview of 2011! Wallopin’ STEVE WACKER, Righteous RICK REMENDER and Delicious DAN SLOTT answer YOUR frying questions about the biggest event in Spidey’s life EVER! So hold on to your hats and fasten those webshooters, WEEEEE’RE OFF!


Indeed it’s true! On Wednesday July the 6th 2011, the Web-Trust delivered to my local comic book shop (or LCS for nerds in the know!) a free copy of a promo book, spotlighting the upcoming Spider-Island saga that will supposedly turn Spidey’s world upside down. Promotional content has been frequent as it’s been recent in this modern era we currently enjoy, so I figured it might be neat to present this to the masses here at the Crawlspace and see what everybody thinks of this lil’ ole thing.

We begin with a five-page preview of ASM #666. Details of what goes on in this and the next preview will be shared in the review, so let’s see how it stacks up as material aimed at potential new readers of Spider-Man. We have Spidey stopping an armed robbery, and then going off to save Firestar, Gravity and Spider-Girl from the ever-hydrated Hydro-Man, (named Morrie “Beach” in this issue for some reason as opposed to “Bench”) with J. Jonah Jameson blaming the Wall Crawler for ruining the city and his rep as NY mayor.

For comic book readers who don’t read Spider-Man, this is a fairly solid way of bringing them into the upcoming story with little baggage to confuse them. It’s essentially Spider-Man 3. Spidey’s loved by all, except Jameson. Reminds me of something in retrospect. Anyway, new readers might be taken aback at just who the heroes that tried to fight Hydro-Man are. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends might be a notable Spidey cartoon, but I’m not sure if the kids today know much about it, unless every kid and America watched reruns of it early in the morning on ABC Family like I did in high school. Be that as it may, Firestar’s the most well known of the three in broadstrokes. Spider-Girl, formerly Arana, is still someone who’s not only a character younger than ten years in publishing terms, but not even recognizably the Spider-Girl marketed towards little girls in various merchandise. On top of all that, in the preview she’s seen from the back. The reader can’t tell what she looks like from the front. And Gravity…I don’t even know who that guy is, and I’m supposed to be the die-hard fan!

Obviously the actual issue is more concerned about the summer arc at hand rather than appealing solely to new potential readers. That as it may be, if this was still an intended effort than it does fall short.

  Then we get an interview with Dan Slott, and man was this precious. You can just tell that the guy loves writing Spidey, because he ends about half of his talking points with words in ALL CAPS and exclamation points! It’s this type of frenzied, childlike excitement that can be endearing to fans of the character when a writer comes off like this. Despite the first question misstating that Slott’s been the sole writer for nearly 20 issues, (Fred Van Lente and Christos Gage both co-plotted and scripted intermittently) the notion that he’s been working non-stop on Spider-Island does appear to be genuine since he promotes it so bombastically. Some notable quotes I twigged include the following:

“…it’s CRAZY! Stuff is ALWAYS happening! And happening FAST!”

“Venom, Anti-Venom, Shang-Chi, Cloak and Dagger, Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman, Mister Fantastic-everyone’s going to have a role to play in Spider-Island! The city’s going grazy! If someone breaks the quarantine-if this spreads off the island-we could be looking at global contamination! NYC needs heroes to hold the line! And when everything is coming apart at the seams-that’s the perfect time for villains to take advantage of the chaos! Especially if THEY’RE gaining spider-powers TOO!”

 He (Humberto Ramos) is KILLING IT on SPIDER-ISLAND!…He puts stuff in the fourth panel of a four panel page that’d BREAK a mere mortal penciller!”

Seriously, the man is like a Spider-Man fan on PCP. It’s really fun to read him barely contain his glee when talking about this arc. For better or worse, it builds up the hype for the arc all the more, making it that much tougher to please the die-hards. Here’s hoping it somehow does!

I did find the interviewer’s questions a tad bit softball. There’s no way to know who the interviewer was or what he was representing, but I wish the questons had a bit more substance to them, in order to really chew the beef on what to expect. Questions like “Is J. Jonah Jameson finally right? Does Spider-Island prove that people with spider-powers are menaces to society” don’t really earn much credible answers because Slott would either have to say “yes” and degradate investment in our hero, or “no” and exactly nothing would change. The question was so lacking, Slott seemed to have realized it as he didn’t directly give an answer.

Rick Remender’s interview comes next, and while it’s much more dialed back in terms of “slap-you-silly” energy, it presents itself as more honest and contemplative toward the character of Flash and what’s in store for him during Spider Island. It does however resonate towards readers of the Venom title, or people strictly in the know concerning that particular status quo. New readers may be confused as to why the creator of the phrase “Puny Parker” is now Mr. “Brains for Dinner”, but the interview and Remender’s answers are just interesting enough that it may garner interest to bring in new readers to that title, which can only be a good thing.

The next five pages consist of the various tie-in books surrounding Spider-Island, presented to us as article in the Daily Bugle. What follows is the preview for ASM #667 which is the first true part of Spider-Island.

 Ahhh…Carlie Cooper. The world’s most adorable four eyed ginger/blonde. Look at those spaghetti straps she has on, they totally match with her purple crocs. She’s perfect for Peter, you see. How? THE FACT THAT SHE HAS SPIDER-POWERS OF COURSE!

The concept of Spidey having a girlfriend with the same powers as him will to many potential new buyers be a fresh one, so this might definitely be something they may want to follow. Although Peter is more concerned with driving his Aunt to airport than his radioactive girlfriend, this will definitely lead to Carlie learning Peter’s true identity and fighting along side with him as the Cantankerous Spider-Carlie. And with the suggestions that she have a costume, special tracer and signal to go along with the powers, what’s not to love?!

The preview concludes with Shang Chi and Madame Web overlooking the Jackal make his public reappearance with his two new bodyguards, Spider-King and…TARANTULA?! Is that Kaine? If it is, how would he ever come to for for the Jackal?! He hated him back in the clone saga!

Well, all this is sure to be readily answered in the included pages of the actual issue. For now, this promo ends with a checklist of all the tie-in issues that Spider-Island is absorbing.

So how did this promo piece fair?

I’m not going to grade it since it’s not an actual issue, but as a free comic dedicated to garner interest in the upcoming issues of ASM, it certainly wants for attention. The main thing I would say against this is that it’s trying to bring in new readers to the titles through a means that current readers would recieve it. I’m not sure if the average Vertigo or Image reader would find the previewed content in here terribly exciting, but the kids might find this fun to check out. Too bad it’s rated T+ for it’s text-heavy interviews not really meant for them. That must be what the rating was about.

Overall, if you’re reading ASM, you could be interested when picking up this 0.00$ comic. If you aren’t, you might be interested when picking up this 0.00$ comic.

Or not.

Anywho, I’m outie. See you guys in hell! That is to say, in the issue after the next which is #666!

Auf Wiedersehen!

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