Regardless of current numbering policy at Marvel, the launch of the third ever book listed as "The Amazing Spider-Man" is going to have expectations as high as the existing standard for the title character. Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos get off to a really good start with this week's issue.
The high-flying, wise-cracking Peter Parker is back and it feels so good. Slott was born to write both Peter and Spidey and while the last year and a half of stories have been great, reading Peter cracking wise almost immediately felt like getting back together with a long-lost friend. The scripts across all the stories in this brick of a comic book are tossing a lot of balls in the air that are definitely going to come back to bite Pete in the back of the hand this year. There's a lot happening in just the main tale and the pace of the book fits Peter's forceful re-entry into his own life. His lack of knowledge regarding Ock's actions put him in classic Parker Luck scenarios, from lying to those closest to him to figuring out how to complete the unfinished billion-dollar ideas Ock's left behind. As Pete returns, everything old is new again, which isn't a bad thing! Stepping away from what makes Spider-Man work for a time lets long time readers really appreciate what makes him so special. The "big P" joke made me laugh, and the silence that followed made me laugh more. Ock would have just said something curt and dry. Slott also deep dives back to the origin of our titular hero to tease a major wrinkle to Spidey's origin -- an idea I was interested in until I read in the back matter that this will play out as a tie-in to "Original Sin." I hope it plays out well, but if not, it feels like a misuse of the opening pages of a premiere issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man."
Ramos and Victor Olazaba bring their angular cartooning back to the book and this is A-game material. Ramos does a great job of exploiting Spider-Man's natural agility and bendability, two traits I've yet to see an actual spider possess. It's all big fun action and Ramos not only makes it fluid but knows just when to deliver a splash image for effects both dramatic (the reveal of Pete back in costume) and comedic (the reveal of Pete in his "Spidey whities").
The backups, as mentioned earlier, set up more subplots for the coming year. This week's movie star Electro comes to an odd forced conclusion about his nemesis. It's abrupt but it looks beautiful under Javier Rodriguez's watch. There's a new status quo for a beloved villain-turned-hero-turned-villain-again after last seeing her get a vicious beat down from SpOck. Miguel O'Hara finds out that Washington Heights is really far north in Manhattan, and Peter and his readers get a quick catchup on the most recent events in Kaine's life since heading to Houston. They're all solid but are parts of a larger puzzle rather than their own stories.
This is a strong start to Peter's return to the red-and-blues. New or returning readers will be instantly dropped in to Slott's long-term writing style, which is accessible and fun, giving you just enough info to know what's happening, but still leaves you wanting more. Ramos, Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado present a high octane world full of bright, vivid action. 'Amazing Spider-Man' #1 is classic comics, befitting one of the most classic titles in comic books. Welcome back, Pete