Saturday, 17 August 2013

Avenging Spider-Man: My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends by Zeb Wells Review

It’s got a fun title – My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends – but Avenging Spider-man is a strangely maudlin book. This is Spider-man’s team-up series where he gets paired with another character and has an adventure with them. In this book it’s Red Hulk, Hawkeye, and Captain America respectively.

The Spider-man/Red Hulk storyline takes up the first three issues and is unfortunately the worst of the bunch. Mayor Jameson gets captured by some moloids and is dragged beneath New York City where it turns out Moleman has been usurped by a whole new group of tough guy monsters who have enslaved the moloids. Middle middle middle, Spider-man saves the day in a jokey way. I won’t go into plot particulars but this really didn’t need to be three issues given the sparse content. Plus Red Hulk is kind of a dick so the less I see of him, the better.

The Hawkeye story is strangely sad. Hawkeye’s deeply insecure being a non-super-powered human on a team of gods, monsters, and assorted super-powered heroes so spends all of his time practicing on being the best shot in the world. Spidey does something nice for him at the end despite Hawkeye being kind of a dick himself, overcompensating on confidence because he’s not confident. It’s an ok story I guess…

The best story in the book is Spidey/Captain America. Spidey finds out that Cap, before he became Cap and was still weedy Steve Rogers, wanted to be a comics illustrator. Spidey tries to get Cap back into it so the two can come up with characters and start making comics together for a lark. This was the best story because it does a lot of things in a short space. It showed a side of Cap that gave him some more personality, it affirmed Spidey’s approach to life, and also pays tribute to the late Joe Simon, one of Cap’s greatest artists, whom the issue is dedicated to. The spark between creators when making a comic is caught in the panels too, a really touching sentiment in an issue dedicated to a great comics artist.

So, one good issue out of five then - not a good hit ratio. Zeb Wells has done better - see Carnage USA for a more fun read. What a weird downer of a read - for Spider-man no less!

Avenging Spider-Man: My Friends Can Beat Up Your Friends

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