Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 Review: AndrewRoebuck’s Take


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TO PREPARE FOR SPIDER-MANS FUTURE WE MUST VIEW HIS PAST. Okay its nothing that dramatic…merely a flashback issue. Yet is this a flashback series that will go up in history like Slott’s previous mini-series Spider-Man and The Human Torch or are we destined to relive John Byrne’s Spider-Man Chapter One?

“Learning To Crawl, Part One: The Show Must Go On”
WRITER: Dan Slott
ARTIST: Ramón Pérez
COLORS: Ian Herring
LETTERS: Chris Eliopoulos with Joe Caramagna
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe

PLOT: This issue begins days after Amazing Fantasy 15 and follows Peter as he wanders down a deserted street. He thinks to himself about the guilt he has over Uncle Bens death, and declares himself the new man of the house. The next Morning he awakens to find Aunt May cooking up a nice breakfast, unfortunately she is still setting a place for Ben unable to fully comprehend his loss. Peter tells her to take it easy and then gets in a discussion over the phone regarding Uncle Ben’s estate. We find out that they are in dire need of money causing Peter to continue his TV appearances. Back at school its revealed that Peter is missing classes (due to his TV appearances) and his Principal is trying to coax Peter into receiving guidance from one of the councilors at the school. From here we see a Young Liz Allan who invites Peter to her house to watch a live TV appearance of Spider-Man. For obvious reasons Peter has to make up a ham-handed excuse that angers Flash Thompson. The two almost come to blows but they are interrupted by the coach of the school.

 
From here we cut to Clayton Cole who was introduced in the backup story for Amazing Spider-Man #1 last week. His parents are debating on whether or not he should get early access to college but he is quite content to just sit an reminisce about Spider-Man. He buys tickets to go to one of Spidey’s live performances. It’s at the performance that he learns that Spider-Man designed his own web-shooters and realizes that he is just like Peter. From this revelation we go to Uncle Ben’s funeral, Aunt May is in good spirits seeing all the souls that Ben had touched throughout the years. She tells Peter that money is not the most important thing in life. The next day Aunt May walks Peter straight to school into the waiting arms of his Principal and The Coach who is going to be his guidance counselor. Peter lets out his frustrations with the counselor in the privacy of his office and runs off to do a show. Distracted and irate from the last scene he makes a miscalculation during his live performance and the entire set nearly crushes the audience. Spidey saves the audience but the stage owner angrily kicks Peter and his agent out of the building. In the last panel we see Clash suiting up for the first time.

 
STORY: This is a fantastic start to what looks to be a fantastic series. For the first time in a while I have no qualms about this issue it is perfect in every sense of the word. Peter feels like Peter, and the story introduces a plethora of small characters in the background, that will play a big role in Spider-Man’s life somewhere down the line.
The main reason that this book excels so much is because it taps into a previously unseen area of Spider-Man. In betweenM Amazing Fantasy #15, and Amazing Spider-Man #1 there is a substantial time gap and this helps bridge it together perfectly. We see a brooding darker Peter who is still in mourning over Uncle Ben, and doesn’t exactly know how to channel his feelings. It feels like a very natural state of grief in this issue that works really well. Alongside Peter’s grief we see Aunt May’s grief. Her grief is more subtle as she is doing a much better show of staying strong than Peter is. She doesn’t wallow around doing nothing she makes an active effort to use tragedy in order to help Peter learn and grow. Exactly how Uncle Ben would have intended it.

 
The addition of Peter still doing TV performances makes sense, and the character of his Agent is the kind of slime ball business man that sixties J. Jonah Jameson would turn out to be. It also makes Peter’s interactions with Jonah a little more believable. This is Peter’s first job meaning he started out with a slimy Penny pinching boss, so naturally when Jonah treats him the same way he just assumes that’s how the working world works. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing that you don’t really receive in the Agents small appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.

Of course the main reason I love this book so much may be in part due to the time period its set in. My favorite and by far most knowledgeable area of Spider-Man revolves around the 60s and 70s appearances. It’s a time in spider history ripe with palpable drama, and engaging storylines. While this book hasn’t captured the fun Spider-Man in this issue it’s an important stepping stone for him to become that web-head we all know and love.

 
ART: I absolutely adore the art in this issue. It balances perfectly the modern, and the classic Spider-Man style. Little things like the glare of his glasses, or the stylized movement as he performs really get you drawn into the story. This really feels like someone walking through a three dimensional space. I would love to see Rodriquez used more in the main Spider-Man book as his talents are top notch. Along with this the cover is absolutely stunning. I don’t often talk about covers in my review but the Alex Ross image is just too good not to praise.

 

lCAMEOS: Doing a little something different this review I thought I would point out all of the Spider-Man cameos.

 
• Mr. Warren: This is professor Warren from the early Spider-Man stories, and is not in fact Miles Warren who would become the Jackal it is Raymond Warren. Although in Untold Tales of Spider-Man it was revealed that Miles Warren and Raymond Warren were brothers. Last seen in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #8.

 
• Liz Allan: Peter’s love interest in Amazing Fantasy #15, in the original story she makes fun of him and leaves with Flash and the gang. She would eventually go on to marry Harry Osborn and is the mother to Normie Osborn. Last seen Superior Spider-Man #31.

 
• Flash Thompson: Peter’s high school bully would eventually go on to befriend Parker in college. He loses his legs in the war (the ever changing war due to marvels sliding timeline) and eventually his attached with the Venom symbiote. Last seen Guardians Of The Galaxy Marvels free comic book day issue.

 
• J. Jonah Jameson: Publisher of the Daily Bugle and boss of Peter Parker in the sixties. Would become Mayor of New York before resigning due to the aftermath of Goblin Nation. Last seen Amazing Spider-Man #1.

 
• Chameleon: The first super villain Spider-Man ever fought. A character with the ability to change into the identity of anyone he chooses. Was once beat up by Mary Jane with a baseball bat. Last Seen Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #10.

 
• Quintin Beck: Eventually the villain Mysterio Beck’s early life revolved around TV and Film being a special effects master before turning into the master of Illusion. While his first official appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man #13, he was retconned to be the aliens that the Tinker was working with in Amazing Spider-Man #3. Killed himself at the end of Daredevil Guardian Devil…but then he actually didn’t. His claim to survival was simply that he was the master of illusion. Got trapped in the Ultimate universe after the Spider-Men series. Last seen in Cataclysm Ultimates Last Stand #3.

ON THE NEXT AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Clash will….clash with Spider-Man. Spider-Man will be swindled out of even more money by his good pal Maxie, and wheat cakes will be consumed.

A+ 

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(25) Comments

  1. Fisk

    Nitpicking: it was Amazing 2. While his first official appearance is in Amazing Spider-Man #13, he was retconned to be the aliens that the Tinker was working with in Amazing Spider-Man #3

  2. hornacek

    Little late in reading this issue. This story wasn't bad, but it wasn't ... I don't want to say "it wasn't good" but the whole time I was reading it I felt "what's the point?" Why are we slipping issues into the Lee/Ditko era yet again? Stillanerd said in his review exactly what I was thinking when I first heard about this series (and what I was thinking while reading it) - this time period between AF #15 and ASM #1 has already been told in AF #16-18, in JMD's backup story "The Morning After", and maybe even other stories I can't remember off the top of my head. Why are we revisiting this time period yet again? Yes those issues are many years old, but the Lee/Dikto stories are even older. I admit, I loved Untold Tales of Spider-Man, and I suppose some of what I said could also be said about that series. So why do I feel that UToSM works and this one ... I don't want to say it doesn't work but it just feels like it's already been done and isn't giving us anything new so why bother? I guess the only "new" thing is Clash, who I'm sure as soon as this mini is over he'll appear in ASM almost immediately. And I'm sure he'll have the same success and longevity that the UToSM villains that later appeared in modern issues did. Wasn't there a guy named Scorch or something like that who used flamethrowers that appeared in current issues after his UToSM appearances? How long did he stick around? I'm not holding my breath for Clash to be remembered a year after Slott leaves. As far as the content, the only part that really seemed wrong was the scene where May is smiling and happy at the funeral - that felt completely wrong. Yes she eventually grew into a strong and confident character (thank you JMS), but back in the Lee/Dikto days, I don't think she would have been able to see the bright side of this. Her husband had just been killed. Besides Peter, her whole family is suddenly gone. She would have been a wreck. Haven't we seen a story since where it showed that she was devastated because her whole world was shattered by Ben's death? I felt that having her looking on the bright side and noting how the funeral has shown how many lives Ben had touched was projecting the JMS version of Aunt May back into the Lee/Dikto stories. She wasn't that character back then. And that scene made me remember the podcast review of ASM #600 with May marrying Jay and the appearance of the Reillys: "Where the hell have these Reillys been?" I don't remember if that issue ever satisfactorily explained why they hadn't appeared for any of the big events in May's life like Ben's death (or May's "death" in ASM #200) but I was wondering why they weren't in this issue (but that's more of a problem with ASM #600). Since Slott wrote ASM #600 I thought he might try to slip them into this scene.

  3. Adam S.

    @22: I'm not sure, but I would imagine that it will. It depends on Slott's schedule, I guess.

  4. Daddypool

    #18 - I thought that I read that it would be a 12 issue story? (I could be wrong...)

  5. Daddypool

    Maybe I am being too picky, but I would have preferred that this be labeled Untold Stories of Spiderman v2, or Amazing Fantasy 15.1 I already don't like that they renumbered ASM to #1 again. I would have preferred #701. Also, I would have preferred ASM 2X a month instead of an extended flashback tale...

  6. Geoff

    @13 - I did too. When I was a kid I always wondered where he was going, I guess now I know. :D

  7. Jason

    You know...I don't think I ever read the Chapter One Mini-Series, which might explain why volume two story lines didn't make much sense to me. Hrmmmmm......

  8. Adam T

    @12 yeah, I really liked how it picked up from where Amazing Fantasy ended, with Peter walking down the street alone

  9. Geoff

    Not getting these Chapter One comparisons at all. Chapter One was a bad retelling of Amazing Fantasy #15 and the first 17 or so issues of ASM. This is a companion piece to Amazing Fantasy #15. Spidey's origin hasn't been re-told and the story takes place in between AMF #15 and ASM #1. There are no similarities.

  10. AndrewRoebuck - Post author

    @8 have you read the issue? Its not actually retconning anything in the first issue at least. Slott is a big fan off the Lee/Ditko era so the only changes made in this story are technological ones in order to fit with Marvels sliding timeline.

  11. Adam T

    I don't see this as a reboot or resetting of continuity. Amazing Fantasy and Amazing Spider-Man still stand. This is dancing through the raindrops of those stories. Is there anything in here that upsets continuity? Or is this just another untold tales of Spider-Man. I do agree that constant reboots are unnecessary, but I don't see this as being as extreme as Chapter One or Brand New Day.

  12. Jason

    @8. I'm not a big fan of resetting the clock either. I can understand wanting to draw in new readers, but doing a retcon alienates long-time readers. It's always in the back of my mind - how much of what I've read in the past still applies and what in Spidey's history has been erased? When I first stepped foot into my comic shop I had no qualms about picking up a book mid-story. I didn't set out looking for a book with a "starting point." I didn't feel lost reading my first issues of Spidey. I enjoyed what I read and it made me want to read past issues.

  13. Daddypool

    Unfortunately it is another origin story. Marvel is prepping/orientating the next wave of Spiderman fans. This is the third time that I can remember that they are resetting the clock to be more friendly to new fans. The first time was in 1999 (chapter one), the second time was in 2008 (brand new day), and 2014 is the third time. I really don't like this beause I grew up reading spidey in the 70s and 80s, and loved the continuity. Unfortunately comics now have the attention span of a movie, and past comic history does not carry the weight/importance that it once did.

  14. crutch

    i hated it. and i hate the artwork. do i really have to read the origin story AGAIN!?!?

  15. Jason

    I think this is one of the best Spidey stories I've read in a looooooooong time. Great, clear dialogue. The issue flowed smoothly and didn't leave me wondering if I missed something because too many things are happening at once. It really brought me back to the old writing style prior to when Joe Quesada took over as writer.

  16. Geoff

    The Campbell covers should be the variants should have been the regular covers, they're all beautiful and the connecting covers is actually a cool visual gimmick. Liked this book a lot, a fine companion to the early Lee-Ditko stories. Love the art.

  17. Javi Trujillo

    Cubman, I'm right there with you, only I made a mistake and got a regular Campbell cover on Superior, but have the Midtown ones for Amazing 1 and 1.1. Can't wait for 1.1 to arrive! I was on the fence about it, but the previews of the interior art sold me. Good to hear that it's a good issue!

  18. cubman987

    I wasn't sure about this "Learning to Crawl" thing but I agree with the reviews here, it was a solid first issue of the story. I really enjoy the early Spider-man stories and this fits in well with those I think. Also, I love the J. Scott Campbell-Midtown Comics-variant-connecting covers.....so I went ahead and got all three of them.....I know, I'm part of the problem.

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