With the multiverse now a mainstream concept thanks to recent superhero entries like The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Disney+’s upcoming What If…?, writer/artist Kaare Andrews’s Amazing Fantasy #1 couldn’t have come at a better time. Recycling the classic anthology title that introduced the world to Spider-Man in 1962, Andrews offers a new spin on a familiar idea. This limited series takes three characters—Captain America, Black Widow, and the aforementioned Spidey—from various points in their timelines and brings them together in an unexpected way.
Likely taking inspiration from the title’s roots, Amazing Fantasy definitely has an anthological feel to it, switching between three different stories following each of its protagonists. Captain America leads a WWII-era mission when his ship is blown up; a young Black Widow tries to escape the Red Room; the teenage Spider-Man finds himself in yet another tussle with the Green Goblin. What do they have in common? Something happens to each that leaves them all marooned on a mysterious island. Why are they there and how did they get there? Those are the questions Andrews leaves the reader with.
Something that impressed me about Amazing Fantasy #1 is the diversity of visual styles displayed throughout by Andrews. Each story begins with their own stylized vignette that shows where they were before being whisked away to the island, and they all look distinct and unique from one another. When we meet them, Cap’s retro throwback is sepia-toned and classic; Widow’s is dark and painterly; Spidey’s is pop art and colorful. Once they’re on the island, however, the art shifts to his usual pulpy aesthetic to signify their status in the same setting. It’s a clever device that I found very successful. Andrews’s script is similarly well-done and switches modes just as smoothly as the art does; it definitely pulls you in and makes you curious to see what happens next (also, the cover art I’ve seen of this series through solicits are top-notch and maybe some of Marvel’s best in recent years).