Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 1: Worldwide Review (Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli)

I think Dan Slott read Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated and decided to tell the same story but with Spider-Man.

The relaunched Amazing Spider-Man sees Peter Parker as the wealthy head of Parker Industries as they expand on a worldwide level. There are doubles posing as Spider-Man to throw people’s suspicions away from Peter, his most immediate being Prowler, as well as Spidey with other members of the Spider-Family like Ultimate Spider-Man, Silk, Spider-Woman and others I’m probably forgetting scattered about. He’s battling an evil global organisation like Leviathan called Zodiac and he’s using a lot more gadgets this time around like the Spider-Mobile and the Spider-Plane. Sounds like Batman Incorporated to me! 

Worldwide is a mixed bag. The story is sporadically decent like the cool action opener in Shanghai - by the way this book lives up to the “Worldwide” subtitle as the story jumps between the UK, Africa, China and both coasts of America! - especially with his new array of web-shooters. The Alex Ross covers puts the Amazing in the title, Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art is consistently strong throughout and I was pleased to finally find out what happened to Otto after Superior Spider-Man. And though the Batman Inc. similarities are derivative, it kinda works well for Spidey. 

But it’s definitely a largely un-engaging narrative that rambles about a lot. Spidey’s globe-trotting and fighting Zodiac because Zodiac are globe-trotting and causing trouble - great... Zodiac are also just not a very interesting or distinctive threat, coming off like generic Marvel Bad Guy Organisation #547. 

Peter buys the Baxter Building leading to an utterly stupid and pointless fight between Spider-Man and the Human Torch that could’ve been avoided with a brief conversation. And Norman Osborn’s up to his tired old tricks, this time in Africa… yeesh.

Despite the relaunch, I get the impression that if I’d been reading the previous Spider-Man books I’d have a better idea of who Zodiac are and what they’re about, so some new readers jumping on here might be a little lost. If not and this is their first appearance then this is just bad writing!

Worldwide is a flawed Spider-Man book but I didn’t hate it. The art’s good and bits and pieces of the story are fun but too much of it is boring and uninspired. It feels like Dan Slott’s running on fumes after eight years of writing Spider-Man and could do with a break from this title. As it is, this one’s an average and definitely not amazing read.

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