Pretty much anyone who's paid attention to popular culture over the past 50 years can tell you the story of the Amazing Spider-Man's origin. After watching Amazing Spider-Man at the theatre this summer though, I was hankering for a new take on the title character's origin in print. Enter Spider-Man Season One by Cullen Bunn, Neil Edwards, Karl Kesel, and David Curiel. Like the other Season One books recently published by Marvel Comics, Spider-Man Season One attempts to update, while retelling for a contemporary audience, the origin of one of Marvel Comcis' most iconic characters. The only problem is that these stories have been told and retold countless times of the years across many differing media formats, so what could be brought to yet another one that would cause it to feel fresh? Sadly, not much, but in some cases a story is just too good to alter and continues to stand on its own.
That's not to sat that there aren't some new characters and tones introduced into this in continuity retelling of Spider-Man/Peter Parker's origin. All of the original aspects of Amazing Fantasy #15 are still present and relatively unaltered though. One of the first major villains that would become a mainstay in Spider-Man's rogue gallery makes an appearance in the form of The Vulture. (The Chameleon, the first costumed super-villain that Spider-Man fought, is absent in the original series is absent). J. Jonah Jameson is still out to prove that Spider-Man is a menace, although his motivations are explained a little better here. Uncle Ben is murdered and Spider-Man/Peter Parker learns that the all important lesson that "with great power comes great responsibility." Writer Cullen Bunn does spend more time focusing on Spider-Man's career as an entertainer he embarks on before becoming a crime fighter. He also introduces a new obstacle for Spider-Man/Peter Parker to overcome in the guise of Daily Bugle reporter Katy Kiernan.
J. Jonah Jameson is trying to whip up a media frenzy, and thus inflated sales of his paper, by branding Spider-Man a dangerous influence on kids who might try to imitate his actions. Kind of like the frenzy whipped up years ago over the MTV show Jackass, but with super human abilities involved. Kiernan is all for hounding Spider-Man and spinning his exploits in ways that Jameson wants, until she ends up on the receiving end of Spider-Man's super-heroics.
Neil Edwards art is solid and he brings Spider-Man to life in a realistic manner. His panel layouts flow well into one another and his action choreography is solid as well. He manages to draw a few iconic splash pages of Spider-Man in action that will thrill Spider-Fans, but every once in a while his anatomy skews strangely out of proportion. It's mostly non noticeable though.
I've enjoyed all of the Season One books I've read, not because of their radical contemporary feel or their revisionism, but because they stick to what made the stories great in the first place and pay homage to, by recreating, the early comic books of the 1960s that introduced these characters. Spider-Man Season One ended up being a great spontaneous read, and I highly recommend it.