Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #2 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 2, December 2015
Whilst there is undoubtedly little in common between Dan Slott’s “head of Parker Industries” and the shy bespectacled student created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko over fifty years ago, Issue Two of “the All-New, All Different” “Amazing Spider-Man” does at least still contain a good deal of the wise-cracking humour which made the super-hero so markedly different and popular in his early days. In fact the Berkeley-born writer’s narrative for “Water Proof” doubtless reminded many of its 111,322 readers of the slapstick double act Webhead used to enjoy within the covers of the “Marvel Comics Group” Seventies series “Marvel Team-Up”, by having the man with his “name on… forty-seven buildings” join forces with the Prowler and infiltrate a Zodiac secret base “miles below” the middle of the ocean.

Such similarities don’t just end with Peter and Hobie Brown’s alter-egos exchanging multiple witticisms either, as despite the American author’s controversial “giant, evil master plan” ensuring the former news photographer has finally “capitalized on all of that limitless potential and taken his life -- and his heroic crusade as Spider-Man -- to heretofore unknown levels”, the “state-of-the-art” technology that this storyline employs in order to allow the wall-crawler to succeed, such as a sophisticated Spider-submersible, is arguably nothing that Roy Thomas wouldn’t have invented S.H.I.E.L.D. lending the super-hero during the Bronze Age of Comics. Indeed the Diamond Gem Award-winner actually has the titular protagonist working in unison with the “espionage, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism agency” during the adventure so “every Zodiac Base around the world” can finally be identified.

This twenty-page periodical additionally doesn’t lack in action either with both “Spider-Man and some guy” taking out a handful of Pisces-masked minions, along with “Fish-face”, courtesy of some well-aimed web-shots, punches and raking claw attacks. Interestingly however the pitched battle does raise a curious conundrum for a Wall-crawler who suddenly appears to have “put too much faith in Parker’s tech”. Boasting that he no longer needs to dodge his enemies’ gunshots on account of “his amazing spider-armour! Pew! Pew! Pew!”, the acrobatic protagonist worryingly seems to allow himself to be hit by gunfire simply to show off his ‘new costume’; something which ultimately allows Aquarius to stop him in his tracks and send the webware files “to every Zodiac Base around the globe.” Of course as Nick Fury states later “Parker’s fumble” does provide S.H.I.E.L.D. with the opportunity to “finally take the fight to them.” So it’s unclear just how much of Peter’s showboating was naïve bravado and/or cunning antics…

Giuseppe Camuncoli’s terrific artwork also makes this pulse-pounding publication a definite treat for the eyes, thanks in large to some wonderfully crisp yet intricately detailed renderings of Spidey and the Prowler. The Italian illustrator’s marvellously atmospheric drawings of (marine) life beneath the waves also help enormously to convey a sense of claustrophobia to Slott’s proceedings. Something which is especially noticeable once Aquarius floods the underwater base and water begins swiftly filling the secret location’s corridors.
The regular cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 2 by Alex Ross

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