David Morrell, the author best known for giving the world John Rambo with his novel First Blood, teams up with sequential art veteran Klaus Janson to deliver a new tale of an old hero. Even if, according to Morrell's facebook page, there were editorial errors in the second half of the story, "Frost" is still the kind of tale that reminds us what was so great about this hero in the first place, and stirs a real sense of longing for this hero's return. Peter Parker/The Amazing Spider-Man lives again in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #700.1 and 700.2, even if only as a fond reminiscence of what once was, making these issues some of the best comic books to be published over the last few years with the words "Spider-Man" in the title.
Focusing on the more pensive side of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Morrell weaves a tale that addresses the near crippling fatigue that nearly grinds Peter to a halt, and the crippling cold and snow that does grind Spider-Man's home town of New York City to a halt. "Frost" is a tale not unlike Morrell's aforementioned First Blood, where a hero fights not only his own inner demons, but the massive forces of nature, both human and natural, that the solitary hero must battle constantly. Like all great heroes though, Peter rises to the challenge, and as the world outside grinds to a near standstill, the exhausted Peter does the exact opposite. Peter nearly succumbs to a coldness of spirit, but discovers that when he is needed, especially when the world outside his window is deathly still, but still filled with those in great need, his commitment to "with great power comes great responsibility" remains paramount. Morrell really demonstrates an amazing (pun intended) ability to get to the heart of what makes Peter Parker/Spider-Man such a great character with "Frost." The Amazing Spider-Man #700.1 and 700.2 reminded me of the great Amazing Spider-Man stories of the Lee and Ditko age, and, even more so, the fantastic Conway/Kane/Romita era of Amazing Spider-Man tales from the 1970s.
Helping Morrell conjure the feel of those classic 1970s era Amazing Spider-Man tales is renown sequential artist Klaus Janson. Janson pencilled some of Marvel (and DC) Comics's most high profile (and influential) titles and stories over the years including The Punisher, Grant Morrison's Legends of The Dark Knight storyline "Gothic," and Marvel Comics' second most influential "street level" character's title: Daredevil. His unique style is instantly recognizable, and for readers of a certain age, as pricelessly nostalgic and beautiful as it is new and fresh to younger readers.
"Frost," despite whatever editorial errors are present in it, is the type of comic book storytelling that we should certainly have more of. "Frost" is touching, elemental, and powerful. Morrell himself may or may not be engaging in comic book writing again any time soon, but I for one desperately hope that he does.