Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (2014) Review

By Andy Frisk
April 30, 2014 - 22:34

Anyone who's been reading any of the Spider-Man titles from Marvel Comics over the past year and a half or so has been aware that Peter Parker has been "dead" and that Doc Ock's mind/spirit/whatever has been occupying his body. Ock did some pretty wild things with Peter's body while he was in control, the least of which was competing a PhD program and starting a business titled Parker Industries, which was basically a front for the making of new tech and gadgets for Spidey. With Ock making the "final" or "ultimate" sacrifice over the course of the last few issues of The Superior Spider-Man and Peter coming "back to life" in his own body, Peter has had to deal with the many complications Ock left in his wake...not the least of which is his impending engagement.

With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie release just a few days away, the powers that be at Marvel Entertainment have engaged in a full court press across nearly all media (powered by the House of the Mouse's many media outlets, of course) to drive revenues in every way connected to one of their multi-billion dollar franchises: The Amazing Spider-Man. More power to them, I say. It's the American Way. Marvel's proles need their weekly paychecks and Marvel's executives need their million dollar bonuses. In the sequential art world this full court press has consisted of not one, but two double sized (read exorbitantly priced) comic book issues: The Superior Spider-Man #31 and The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1. Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1 doesn't do as much as it should to capture the new reader (read young and just about the right age for capturing), and in fact will probably confuse them. This is a double edged sword in the world of long term reader vs bandwagon/new reader politics and in that sense, Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man #1 is leaps and bounds better than DC Comic's relatively recent Superman and Action Comics' #1s. Here, at least the Peter Parker/Spider-Man that you've known (and loved or hated) over the years is still the same Peter Parker/Spider-Man that you've known (and loved or hated) over the years.

The bulk of the first story in The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1 continues to deal with the fallout of the past few years (months in comic book time) where Doc Ock basically turned Peter Parker's life upside down. Hence the confusion for new readers who are just jumping on. It's pretty easy to figure out actually, but the midget in Peter Parker's apartment clasping the engagement ring at the end of the issue will be sure to confuse the heck out of "new" or "passive" Spider-Man readers. Isn't Peter married to Mary Jane? Oh, no, wait that was undone. Well what about Emma Stone...uh...I mean Gwen Stacey? No, she has (thankfully) remained dead for decades now. So what the heck is going on? Enter the marketing strategy...

Most of The Superior Spider-Man is now available in trade paperback, so the serious "new" Spidey fan can go out and shell out the money for them to get caught up. Brilliant. This new reader doesn't really have to do this, but even if a small percentage of those who pick up The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1 do then it's a cash cow for Marvel. The next of the many stories in the book do well to drum up interest in other Spidey universe characters including Electro (he gets a full story all his own), the character debuting in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (who by the way looks nothing and whose story bears little resemblance to the original-and no I'm NOT referring to the on-screen Electro as being black, just being nothing like the original character). The Black Cat gets her own story too. She's been an off and on again regular in the Spidey books over the years, including as a love interest for Peter. One has to wonder if she'll be showing up in an Amazing Spider-Man film soon too for all the attention she gets.

It's not all calculated marketing schemes though. The "How My Stuff Works" short is pretty fun and the continued focus on Spider-Man 2099 is interesting (although it DOES promote his new series coming in July). Perhaps the most annoying inclusion in this book though is a full reprint of Inhuman #1 (which wasn't all that great the first time around). For those who already shelled out the money for Inhuman #1 it's an absolute waste to have to repurchase it here. It does what it has to do from a calculated marketing standpoint though: it force introduces the characters to a wider audience (since they are most likely going to be popping up in an Avengers film somewhere along the way).

So while The Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1 DOES give it's long term readers props by continuing the story from Superior Spider-Man without missing a beat, something that DC Comics failed to do miserably with Superman after The New 52 launch which caused readers to leave in droves, it is weighted down WAY too heavily with marketing scheme inclusion stories. Still, I gotta say Make Mine Marvel for the props they do pay their long term readers. 

Rating: 7.5 /10

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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