Mainstream comic books are about stability, mostly. You're promised a hero that'll overcome the odds and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It's a great concept. Marvel did something unique, and switched out the minds of Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, for the in-comics span of several months. Peter Parker is back, and boy, does he have a mess to clean up. Spoilers follow.
The writer, Dan Slott, is making a deliberate swing to lighter fare after the grim fare that Otto Octavius wrought. We're back to watching a Spider-Man who's easily embarrassed, dealing with pretty light baddies for once. He winds up pretty much naked.
The White Rabbit is stealing Faberge eggs, with a few animal-costumed crooks in her wake. A nice warm-up for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. 'Skein' attacks his costume, to deliver some fan-service usually reserved for wacky anime. Point is, Spidey goes commando and still manages to catch the bad guys.
Whether or not this chapter is pointing to a lighter, more care-free web-swinger, or it's a welcome palate-cleanser after feeling Superior for so long, remains to be seen. Point is, it's welcome. So there's slapstick and embarrassment and a reassurance from heroes that this Spider-Man is the genuine article. Which is good.
There's nothing wrong with a smidge of recognition. This is the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man most folks go nuts for... facing weird, weird bad guys. The White Rabbit... sucks. But she and her menagerie are a fine warm-up for whatever lies ahead for ol' web head.
What lies ahead? How about a girlfriend in the know? After Spidey is denuded in public, Anna Maria recognizes some freckles belonging to Peter Parker, and only Peter Parker. The main plot thread ends on a secret identity cliffhanger: Will Pete admit he's Spider-Man? Will he tell Anna that he's literally not the man she fell in love with?
But wait! There's more! Being a premiere issue, we've got a few other chapters to get through.
Electro visits a watering hole of choice, only to find his street cred is seriously lacking. (Bunch of no-good punks!) Rather than, y'know, killing them all, Electro decides to pull another big score to regain some respect. It backfires.
He uses elemental forces to break open an island prison, only to max out and keep going. He kills a lot of the prisoners he was hoping to set free. That's not guess work. There's a caption: "Oh god, they're all dead!" That could've gone better.
Not that it matters? Electro is still charged, maybe blind, and gunning for Spider-Man. Yipes. That won't end well.
The Superior Spider-Man's exploits will continue to bite Peter Parker in the backside. To wit: Octavius ran across the Black Cat, beat the snot out of her, and left her for the police. Despite the fact that she's a career criminal, the notion of being caught never occurred to Felicia Hardy.
She feels betrayed by Spider-Man, and Electro's prison zap winds up liberating her. She plans horrible things for Spidey's future. (I see where she's coming from. I do. She's also a facile, shallow, thrill-hungry criminal who thought that the rules didn't apply to her.) Things won't end well, one way or another. But that's cool, comics should be about cliffhangers, and this piles on to a doozy.
Last but not least, the comic adds something extremely friendly for new readers: the classic "I'm Spidey, and this is what I can do" spread. Early Spider-Man Comics had something similar, and for first-time readers and old hands alike, it's a welcome addition. It's light, goofy stuff that shows who Spidey is. In the 21st century, I couldn't think of a better way to punctuate Amazing Spider-Man #1. I for one can't wait to see what comes next.
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