It’s been a long time since there were multiple Spider-Man titles. At one point, we had many too choose from: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Web Of Spider, Amazing Spider-Man, plain Spider-Man, etc. Every month, the old web head had nearly as much going on as Wolverine. Post-Brand New Day, everything became focused on Amazing Spider-Man. Now, in a return to form, our favorite New York superhero has a new outlet, Avenging Spider-Man. I’m not thrilled with the title – it makes Spider-Man seem like the Punisher, but if it means another dose of Spidey, then I’m down.
For anyone following Amazing Spider-Man, you know how brilliant the work by writer Dan Slott’s has been. Slott has redefined the character and given the stories more depth than before. Avenging Spider-Man is the flipside to that depth coin, at least in issue #1. This is a straight-up adventure yarn, the kind of book folks who don’t really follow the main Spider-Man story can enjoy as well as the lifelong fans. Writer Zeb Wells has a great grasp of comedic timing and that specific Spider-Man wit. He also knows how to keep the action moving and hook a reader into a new story.
Spider-Man, having finished helping the Avengers, has no way to get home. That’s literally how the book opens and it’s perfect for Spidey. Assigned to help him out is Red Hulk, who hates the idea and finds Spidey to be annoying. After some snappy banter, the two find themselves in the middle of a siege on New York by strange creatures from the underground. Turns out they are some of Mole Man’s minions only they’re not attacking, they’re panicked because Mole Man has been bested by one ugly looking bastard. Avenging Spider-Man is all quick dialog, action and fury. Wells leaves nothing to chance, he wants you to love this book and unless you have a “no fun” gene, you’ll absolutely dig it.
I have to give huge props to Wells on his writing of J. Jonah Jameson. It’s spot on, right up there with Dan Slott’s ability to make Jonah the loveable man you hate to admit liking. Writers in the past have made Jonah too mean or too goofy, so when he’s done perfectly, it’s very rewarding. I’m not sure if this will remain a team up book but I hope so. With a lack of both a secondary Spider-Man yarn and no Marvel Team Up, this title could fit that bill perfectly.
Joe Madureira does some spectacular art here. Like Humberto Ramos, John Romita Jr. and a few others. Madureira pencils comics with the understanding that they are larger than life. It’s interesting because he doesn’t do it with bold, clean lines. The work is very delicate, lots of small lines and bits of shading. It lands between the comic art of Ramos and the fine art of Marc Silvestri. Madureira’s stuff bristles with action, everything seems to constantly stretch and move. It gives Avenging Spider-Man a distinct look and allows Zeb Wells’ more action-oriented scenes to jump right off the page. As a follower in the church of Dan Slott, I was not initially on board for Avenging Spider-Man. Wells and Madureira have made me a believer.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 9/10
(Editor's Note: Avenging Spider-Man #1 comes with a code redeemable for a free digital copy of the comic, and Marvel says this is a test for that program, so if you want more digital Marvel day-and-date stuff, be sure to get on board that train. It's a damn fun book, anyway, so you won't regret it.)