When we last saw Spider-Man, things seemed to be going well. He had taken back his suit. He put an end to a shady international company. Mary Jane and him were back on track. However, six months ago, something went wrong. While the details of what happened are scarce, we know that it has affected relationships for both Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
Spider-Man has always worked best when the hero is down on his luck, and Amazing Spider-Man #1 embraces that idea. This is the lowest that we have seen Peter Parker in a long time. Because of that, it gives a unique feel to the storytelling. Peter is not just down on his luck–he is depressed, and as of right now, we have no idea what has led to this.
While there are a couple of action sequences, overall, the plot of Amazing Spider-man #1 is slow. While that can be frustrating, it allows the story to breathe. Every action and discussion has the mystery of the event lurking in the background. Not only has Peter been affected but also everyone associated with him.
John Romita Jr. is John Romita Jr. here–meaning if you like his art, you will love his art here. His ability to focus on a character’s feelings is well known, and it shines here. One sequence of panels that stands out is where Tombstone is recovering from an attack. Romita’s focus on the face highlights the change from anger to annoyance to the need for revenge. The character designs are complemented by a bright color palette that causes the characters to jump from the page. The coloring also serves as a nice counterbalance to the darker theme of this first issue.
Without getting deep into spoilers, there is a cliffhanger that will leave long-time readers of Spider-Man in shock, if not plain angry. The creative team is keenly aware of this and even addresses it, asking readers to trust them. Personally, upon the first reading, I was so annoyed that it took some joy out of the book. However, after a second reading, I am willing to give the team a chance to tell their story and see where this leads.
Given these unanswered questions, it is too soon to be all-in on Amazing Spider-Man #1. However, there are enough elements of a classic Spider-Man tale to interest readers.