Avenging Spider-Man #1

What makes up a “must have” book for me? Any combination of Spider-Man, Red Hulk, Wolverine and Spider Woman works. Or anything with Joe Madureira art. Better yet, combine all of that together and you have Avenging Spider-Man #1.

I’m also giving Zeb Wells some credit, as the script was awesome, too. This new Spidey team up series has our favorite wall crawler teaming up with the Red Hulk. The New York Marathon has been stopped by an invasion of the Moloids, and its up to them to stop the subterranean little people.

This uprising is a little bit different then the other times the Moloids have attacked the surface world; they have a new leader.

There’s a great scene with the Moloids taking New York’s mayor J. Jonah Jameson below the surface to find out that Mole Man isn’t running the show any more; a large Warcraft Orc looking creature rules the literal underworld. While this is going on Rulk and Spidey are fighting a monster that Jack Kirby would approve of. The art in this book is phenomenal; Madureira is just so dynamic and uses some awesome splash panels and two page spreads very well.

Sadly, Wolverine and Spider-Man didn’t appear to much in the issue, save for the opening scene with Spidey and Rulk having to go back to New York and no one really  wanting to spend time with them. What made this book so awesome was Wells’ well placed humor, making it a fun read accompanying the explosively cartoony art. This issue was a visual masterpiece and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

And to all my techie readers out there, I actually read this on an iPod touch and I have to say that it looked really awesome, especially the zoom feature which shows how detailed the original artwork is.

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Amazing Spider-Man #1

So who saw Amazing Spider-Man for the fourth of July? I didn’t. But I did read the first issue of Spidey’s ongoing series from March 1963.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 wasn’t the first appearance of the wall crawler; he debuted seven months prior in Amazing Fantasy #14. This first issue by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee sets up the tone and direction the character would take.

Basically it really sucks to be Peter Parker. He’s still grieving the loss of Uncle Ben, and him and Aunt May are dealing with some serious financial hardships.

In the first story, Peter get super depressed after finding out that Aunt May has been selling her jewelry and such at the local pawn shop. She can’t pay the bills since Uncle Ben was murdered, which he still blames himself for. Peter plans a stage show with a promoter to get some money quickly. Unfortunately for him (and leading to an absolutely hilarious scene) Spider-Man can’t cash the check because he doesn’t have a Social Security card. I couldn’t stop laughing about this.

As this goes on, we meet J. Jonah Jameson for the first time and he hates Spider-Man.. How much? Even though Spider-Man saves his astronaut son from cashing to his demise, the elder Jameson makes the cover of the Daily Bugle have the headline “This Newspaper Demands That Spider-Man Be Arrested And Prosecuted!”

With the public fearing Spider-Man, Peter will never be able to make any money to support his family.

The second feature continues this “must find money” theme with Spider-Man attempting to join the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately he goes about that the wrong way; breaking into their headquarters at the Baxter Building and then asking them about the financial compensation they get for being heroes wasn’t the best way to go about winning them over. This day only gets worse as he has to stop the Chameleon is masquerading as him in order to steal missile defense plans to sell to the Soviets.

What Ditko and Lee did in this issue was get across how much it sucks to be Peter Parker. Nothing in his life works out. It’s his fault his uncle is dead. It’s his fault that his aunt is just scraping to get by. He has these great powers and abilities, yet everyone fears him. Not only that, but he does so much to help the world and gets nothing to compensate himself. Yet he has to, as he is compelled to do so.

This is why Spider-Man is so likable; he’s down on his luck and anyone can relate to that. Peter Parker is an every man underdog. This was such a fun issue to read; it still holds up nearly fifty years later.