For the second time in around 18 months, we have a book called Amazing Spider-Man #1. Last time, we dealt with the fallout of the excellent Superior Spider-Man series. Now, we step into entirely new territory for the character. Finally, Peter Parker has grown up and is fulfilling his intellectual potential. 8 months after the conclusion of the still running Secret Wars, Parker Industries is a worldwide company that caters for some interesting clients (read SHIELD). As a result, Peter now finds himself travelling the world visiting the various offices of the company.
When these changes were announced, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether they would be right for the character. Peter has always been down on his luck and struggling to make ends meet, so how would he make the transition to a successful businessman? Parker Industries was set up while Otto Octavius inhabited Peter's brain during Superior Spider-Man, and Peter's attempts to run the company in Amazing Spider-Man had differing degrees of success. Last we saw, the Parker Industries building had been reduced to rubble after an attack by the Ghost, so it is fair to say that Peter has had his work cut out for him in the 8 months we've missed. However, he most certainly did work and Parker Industries is now very successful.
You would think all this success would have changed Peter. Surely he would have his life together now. Well, you would be wrong. His business acumen has certainly improved but the old Parker luck still hangs over him. He might be the CEO of a very successful company but he can still get caught with his fly down during a conference to announce a new business venture. His personality remains the same. While he is Spidey, he is still the wisecracking, fun loving hero he always was. Concerns from fans that Spider-Man was becoming an Iron Man knock off were also addressed in this issue. Dan Slott obviously likes to have a bit of fun with readers and the comparisons to Tony Stark were inevitable.
Spider-Man is now Peter's bodyguard in the eyes of the general public. As a result he actually has (at least one) Spider-Man double to add to the myth. In this issue, it is Hobie Brown, aka the Prowler. Who is to say there are not others in different locations? Dan Slott manages to poke fun at the Tony Stark comparison in this issue while also showing his understanding of Peter Parker.
This issue begins with Spidey and Mockingbird involved in a car chase across Shanghai in the new Spider Mobile. The excitement continues as Spidey goes on to demonstrate some of the upgrades he has made to his suit, as well as the minor aesthetic changes he now also has multipurpose web shooters. We only see 2 functions demonstrated in this issue but it is safe to say that as the series progresses we will see more. We are also immediately introduced to the idea that Parker Industries is also supplying technology to SHIELD with the holographic Nick Fury barking orders to bring the villains into SHIELD custody, which of course Spidey chooses to ignore.
As it continues we are also reintroduced to the former staff of Horizon Labs, Peter's previous employer (before the Superior Spider-Man destroyed the place). While attending his former boss's wedding Peter offers them a job and, by means of a wedding present, renames the Parker Institute of Technology "Horizon University". During the 8 months post Secret Wars, Peter has obviously been busy repairing relationships and this will inevitably be explored in further detail as the series progresses. There are a notable number of Spider-Man's supporting cast missing from this issue. Mary Jane has been announced as joining Tony Stark in the new Iron Man series but there is also a notable absentee in Aunt May. In years gone by, a Spider-Man comic without Aunt May or Mary Jane would be a rare thing, but it is testament to the size of his supporting cast that they are not missed. Dan Slott realises that shoe horning them in for the sake of a scene would be pointless so he chooses to leave them out of this one. I am sure they will make an appearance down the line, especially with MJ leaving to join Tony Stark.
Not only does this issue contain an oversized core story, it also contains 5 additional stories that set up the other spider titles post-Secret Wars. Each of the stories are complete in 5 pages apart from the final one, which takes 7 pages. It allows a short glimpse into the lives of the other spider-powered heroes. Each of these stories is written by their respective creative teams, showing the unique style that each book will have when it arrives in terms of writing and art. The creative teams have also carried over from before Secret Wars, so each sneak preview seamlessly fits in to its previous continuity. These allow us as readers to see the new directions each series will take.
I believe that Spider-Man is in good hands in the comics. Dan Slott knows the character very well and obviously has a clear vision for the character. I really enjoyed reading Amazing Spider-Man #1 and am really excited to see where the series goes.