Amazing Spider-Man Special #1 (2015) (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4/5 – Spidey Does His Sarcastic Thing with the Inhumans (and NuHumans!)
by ComicSpectrum reviewer R.C. Killian

You would think that, in all his lengthy history, Spider-Man would’ve run across the Inhumans before—I mean, more of them than the obvious. I know he tangled (pardon the pun) with Medusa a few times and ran into Black Bolt, Gorgon, and some others in the process (like in Amazing Spider-Man #62 and Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #11, True Believers!), but, interestingly, a lot of this issue’s humor is predicated on his lack of familiarity with everyone else.

Peter’s just enjoying a burrito and some web-swinging (like you do, or at least he does), when a city appears in the sky over New York, and he finds himself faced with his omnipresent foe: responsibility. He’s eventually relieved of solo duty by the arrival of the Inhumans Medusa and Gorgon, and eventually many of the characters Charles Soule has introduced in Inhuman. Wise-cracking in the face of serious danger and some characters with varying responses to his devil-may-care words form the core of the issue, which is actually a pretty welcome thing, as a long-time Spider-fan.

Loveness’s name is associated most strongly with, of all things, Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show. Whatever the reason Loveness appeared here, it actually works quite well. There’s a nice Parker-y-ness to Peter, and some familiarity with recent events and characters that keeps that background from seeming too much like an attempt at cross-promotion—however that would work between these two mediums. I definitely found myself, at issue’s end, wanting to read the other two parts of this story (to be published in Inhumans Special #1 and All-New Captain America Special #1) for sure.

The crisp, snappy patter of Loveness’s Spidey is met with a rather traditional look for the webslinger—old-school smaller eyes on his mask, even smaller than the recent works of Giuseppe Camuncoli on the core Amazing book for Spider-Verse, and very traditional, unlike the last–oh, couple of decades have largely been. Pizzari has an interesting style: it’s a lean toward realism in many aspects, but shows his own “flavor” with a kind of sketchy, hatched shading and slim, gangly figures when it’s stretching itself out. Nolan Woodard really sells the realistic angle, with a very muted palette of sharp colours toned and faded for more of that “realistic” feeling.

This is really a lot of what makes the book work best: the juxtaposition of a Spider-Man who has poses closer to a real person, wearing a mask that’s not allowed to magically express his emotions clearly, set against a bunch of great jokes that land well and don’t distract from the over-arching plot of a flying siege-tower city of bird-people. It manages a nice nod to continuity (whatever it may be at this point in Spidey’s lengthy career), without feeling utterly devoted to it. It comes out an excellent illustration of a good, healthy recognition of where and when to drop the Marvel encyclopedia to make sure the tale being told comes first, but that it also does so respectfully. It’s an adventure, and a funny one, that promises some action and some good jokes, in a welcome and entertaining way that is reminiscent of the older, “lighter” stories, but converted to modern Marvel story-telling techniques.

Reviewed by: R.C. Killian
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