After 10 long years, writer Dan Slott finally said goodbye to Peter Parker with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801. With the longtime Spidey writer moving on to new projects, it’s time for some new blood to take a crack at everyone’s favorite web-head. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Ryan Ottley have us covered with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1!

I’ve been skeptically excited since it was announced that Spencer would be taking over the writing duties for Spider-Man. I think Spencer is a fantastic writer. He’s not perfect, and has garnered some well-earned criticism from readers, but I don’t think you can deny that he has a great knack for delivering unique and unexpected stories.

Luckily for all you Spider-Man fans out there, I think you can rest easy knowing Peter Parker is in the hands of Nick Spencer, because AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 is a killer start to this new chapter.

Joining Spencer for this new beginning for Peter Parker, and making his Marvel debut, Ryan Ottley comes storming out of the gate in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1. If you’ve ever read INVINCIBLE by Robert Kirkman, then you’ll know just how incredible Ottley is. His style balances rigidity and softness, and it definitely belongs in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

Dan Slott’s Heartfelt Farewell in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801

So, what happens in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 that makes this new start so incredible? Let’s get to it!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 Is a New Beginning

Spencer’s new run comes hot off the heels of Dan Slott’s final AMAZING SPIDER-MAN event, “Go Down Swinging”. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 doesn’t really touch on that event at all, but that’s okay. There’s more than enough content here to hold your interest.

The first pages are sure to immediately have you hooked. We see Peter Parker, clad in the classic black costume, standing with MJ atop the Empire State Building. Of course, this is a memory. However, these callbacks (especially those with MJ) have been popping up more and more recently. Sooner or later, it’s got to lead to something, right?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Back in the present, Pete’s life is going just about as well as you’d expect. Living with roommates doesn’t seem to suit him, especially when one of them is Fred Myers, aka the villain Boomerang. There’s a brief bit of clever banter between Peter, Fred, and their third roommate, Randy Robertson, one of Pete’s best friends. There’s also a pleasant callback to Spencer’s own SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN (which I highly recommend it).

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 page 5. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Wilson Fisk is looking to return to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in a big way. There’s no telling what Fisk truly has in store for Pete, but you know it can’t be good. On top of that, Pete’s doctorate has now been revoked, thanks to some new plagiarism detection system (we’ll talk more about that later).

This leads to loads of trouble for Pete. He’s fired from the Daily Bugle, MJ laughs right in his face, and Aunt May gives him a deep heart-to-heart chat about responsibility. All of this is set to the back drop of an alien invasion in the city, which only Spidey can stop.

The New Feels Old (Which is Good)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 may just be one of the best titles to come out of this new “Fresh Start” initiative thus far.

Spencer’s writing in this issue calls back to the days of J. Michael Straczynski. This is “down on his luck” Peter Parker at his finest. Literally everything is going wrong for Pete. And yet, Spencer finds ways to give him hope in the face of crippling adversity.

Not only that, but Spencer also does a superb job of breaking down Peter Parker and getting to his core. The title of this review isn’t just meant to sound catchy. This is a legitimate reevaluation of who Peter Parker is as a character. Spencer covers the most important bases: responsibility, how Pete’s guilt practically defines him, how he hides all of that behind his jokes, and how he’s really just a guy trying to do what’s right while also trying to get by.

A Man Without a Country in CAPTAIN AMERICA #1

At the same time, though, as Spencer is reevaluating all of these long-standing core factors of the character, he’s also making way for something new. Yes, all of these things are great for Spider-Man’s character, but they shouldn’t always be the highlights of the story. I like that Spencer actually took the chance to play with this whole “Pete losing his doctorate is going to ruin his life even more” angle. It’s incredibly interesting and should lead to a lot of new storytelling possibilities.

As I mentioned before, Spencer has a flair for throwing in big surprises in his comics. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN follows this trend and delivers an insanely impactful ending. You might see it coming, but it’s still amazingly shocking to see. I dare to say it’s just as big as when Captain America said, “Hail Hydra”.

The Thing About Plagiarism

I hadn’t imagined I’d have to dedicate a small section to this, but I feel obligated to do so. One of the big plot points of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 is how Peter Parker’s doctorate is essentially voided. This is because Doctor Octopus wrote the paper back during his time as Spider-Man.

So, how did this information come to light? Well, at ESU (Empire State University), plagiarism is running rampant. Apparently, people are selling their souls to Mephisto and contacting the Skrulls just to get passing grades in classes (I’m not making this up). So, to combat these threats, ESU came up with WATCHR, a new piece of tech that can determine the true validity of any piece of work. This tech is used on Pete’s (Otto’s) paper, and it’s determined to be fraudulent.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 page 17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This sends Pete’s life into a downward spiral, both at work and at home. The reason I bring this all up, though, is because of how ridiculous it is on the surface. I think it’s a hugely intuitive plot device, but I can’t get over how absurd it all sounds. Like, is plagiarism really that big of a problem? I apologize if I sound ignorant of the issue, but c’mon, this is some pretty funny stuff.

This humor is very out there, and I applaud Spencer for doing such a great job with it. Not only is it humorous, it pulls Peter Parker further away from the high pedestal he’d found himself on for quite a while. Thus, we’re getting a much more grounded character experience. As odd as it may be, this whole plagiarism angle is one of the strongest factors of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.

A Successful Marvel Debut for Ryan Ottley

Like I mentioned earlier, if you’ve read INVINCIBLE, then it should come as no surprise that Ryan Ottley’s artwork in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 is inherently awesome. Ottley has already proven himself capable of bringing Spider-Man to life with his first Marvel comic.

The best part about Ottley’s style is the consistent, energetic flow. Even when there’s a simple scene of two characters just talking, it feels like the scene is constantly in motion, which is certainly a good thing. Ottley’s pencils would be nothing without Cliff Rathburn’s inks and Laura Martin’s colors, though. Martin gets some especial high praise for bringing such pitch-perfect colors to the picture.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 page 14. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Like I mentioned before, Ottley’s style features a pleasant mixture of both chiseled and smooth character outlines. Each character looks distinct and unique. Spider-Man himself looks absolutely outstanding. All of the action is really on point, too. The artistic team of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 displays such a wide range of talent. I’m really excited to see what they do next.

My only minor gripe would be that in some panels, character smiles and expressions look a little creepy or glaring. There are moments where characters look more off-putting than happy. That’s a very minor detail, though. Otherwise, just about everything looks great in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.

Excited for More

The team of Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin have gone above and beyond to make AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 a stand-out of a comic book. This may actually be one of my favorite Spidey issues in recent history.

Dan Slott’s Top 10 Spider-Man Moments

I’ll admit, I was a little worried about how Spencer would handle this new era of Spider-Man. I wasn’t expecting anything completely contradictory to the character’s history (like evil Hydra-Cap), but, again, with Spencer, you never really know. He’s known for having a tastefully dramatic flair in his books, after all. I wasn’t sure how that style would translate to Spider-Man.

Luckily, my doubts, as of now, have been put to rest. Spencer is delivering big surprises that push Spider-Man forward in the best ways possible. Nothing is truly out of character or harmful to Spidey’s core. I’m confident Spencer will keep up the solid work and deliver even more amazing storytelling.

As for the artistic team, I’ve got nothing but high praises. I can’t wait to see what else these guys have in store for us moving forward. With Ottley and company behind the artistic wheel, I can rest easy knowing we’ll have some more amazing Spidey artwork on the way.

With AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 being such a success, things can only go up from here, right? I sure hope so. We’ll find out when AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 hits shelves in two weeks. Until then, go get yourself a copy of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1! You won’t want to miss it.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 covers all the bases in the best ways possible. This issue has got me truly excited for what's to come from Nick Spencer.
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An Amazing Start
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