“Learning To Crawl, Part Two”
WRITER: Dan Slott
ARTIST: Pamon Perez
COLORS: Ian Herring
LETTERS: Joe Caramagna
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: Clash the young super person we met at the end of last issue is making his street debut. With his sonic doohickey’s he flies through the air, introducing himself to fellow New Yorker’s and chasing the Vulture. His attention is quickly diverted however when he comes across a news report regarding Spider-Man’s tassle with the Fantastic Four, but Spider-Man exits the Baxter building before Clash can meet up with him. From here we see Peter checking in with his friendly high school guidance counselor who interviews Peter attempting to get the real reasons behind Peter’s absences and his newly gained black eye. Peter explains that the eye is due to him running into “something”, which the counselor immediately assumes is Flash Thompson’s fist. The counselor gives Flash a stern talking to, and forces him to shake hands with Peter in order to apologize, even though he had nothing to do with the black eye. Flash promises that he will make Pete’s life a living nightmare for lying about him. From here the counselor introduces Peter to the various clubs of Midtown high hoping to find him a suitable social group.
He goes on a fieldtrip with the club to the Osborn Chemical science fair, but soon has to depart after he is contacted by the Chameleon. We see Clash meeting up with Spidey’s agent in order to have him agree to have a one on one fight with Clash. That night Peter is mopping around his room trying to figure out what to do. He meets up with his club friends the next day who ask why he skipped the science fair, and Peter see’s a video on a laptop requesting Spider-Man meet back up with his agent. He meets up with his agent, and he heads off to fight Clash, he is paid handsomely the only real requirement of the fight is that he must lose. Spider-Man and Clash have a quick fight, and Spider-Man ends up webbing his up, and swinging away. The issue ends with Peter telling his counselor the truth about Flash Thompson, and his Aunt May claiming she has discovered the horrible truth about what Peter has been doing.
STORY: This is a fantastic book, which every Spider-fan has to pick up. The old school feel makes it essential for old fans, and new. It is the best Dan Slott has written Spider-Man in ages, and feels a lot like his Spider-Man and The Human Torch mini-series. This is an example of when Slott’s love of continuity really has a chance to shine. Most notably longtime Spider-Nerds will notice that the advertisement for the science fair doesn’t say “Oscorp” it says “Osborn Chemical”, many people forget that the original name for the company isn’t Oscorp and it’s a detail that is just in the background of the scene that most people wouldn’t pay attention to. He also expertly intertwines the events of Amazing Spider-Man #1 into the main plot of this story. Not since Untold Tales Of Spider-Man has a flashback issue been done this well. Flashback issues seem to be something that really only happens for Spider-Man titles, mainly due to the fact that the Lee/Ditko run of Amazing Spider-Man is the definitive interpretation of the character, and introduces all of the best members of the supporting cast. It’s a testament, and a love letter to the power of the original Spider-Man issues that really make me appreciate this book.
The character of Clash really plays out well in this issue as well. He has a very cool power set, and his personality comes off like that of an actual teenager. The way Slott contrasts the Spider-Man and Clash characters is an expert use of storytelling, and really displays the “grass is greener on the other side” trope. My favorite moment in this book is when Clash sits on the Spider-Man billboard that declares him a menace, and says “why can’t I catch a break” showing his complete obliviousness to the plights that Spider-Man is going through. The only minor gripes I have with this book are super nitpicky, and don’t really take anything away from the story. I wasn’t a fan of Flash being a more “hands-on” bully, as he always seemed more of a verbally abusive bully in the original issues, which drove Peter to becoming the violent one. The only other gripe I have is that this should have been a mini-series instead of “.1” issues. I feel like .1 issues seem less important to consumers and are seen as easily skippable whilst mini-series seem to carry more of an importance. This issue will really pick up steam once it enters trade paperback form.
ART: Ramon Perez really captures the spirit and feel of Ditko’s original artwork. He uses the slender Spider-Man design which isn’t my favorite but it fits the time period. Spider-Man’s eyes also look a lot more menacing in this issue similar to how he looked back in the day. This is A+ artwork that I would love to see appear in more of the main Spider-Man title. The covers continue to be breathtaking, and amazing. Alex Ross is one of the all time greats, and its fantastic to see him back on Spider-Man.
ODDITIES: Clash showing off his Sonic experiment to his parents…that’s going to give away your identity there buddy. Also the live streamed fight between Clash and Spider-Man…who was watching? Where was this battle?
BEST BACKGROUND CHARACTER: The African American member of the AV club, merely due to his awesome haircut, and the fact that he can be seen wearing a Mayor McCheese shirt…which is all kinds of awesome.