Friday, November 26, 2010
On the whole, the BND era of Spider-Man was a personal disappointment.
Don't get me wrong. The stories were rarely bad, sometimes brilliant, but never consistent. It felt more like several loosely connected miniseries rolled out consecutively than Amazing Spider-Man. You could rarely trust the good or bad developments to go anywhere. The most apparent evidence? After going to devlilish extremes to remove the marriage, Peter Parker's romantic life went virtually nowhere for three years. With the thrice-monthly format, that's closer to nine years worth of ASM where nothing came of Peter's single status. So there's a bit more than passing-of-the-torch symbolism involved in the fact that Peter could only get together with Carlie in the final BND era story.
I was already predisposed to prefer one writer per title, so I was excited by the news that Dan Slott would be the sole writer of a twice-monthly ASM. The buzz surrounding Slott's BIG TIME arc only fed my excitement much more. And for anyone who's had the privilege of chatting with Dan online, it's pretty clear just how excited he is about this gig. You want someone writing ASM who has dreamed about this their whole life. (Now if we could just get Mark Waid on Superman, but that's a different story...)
So even before the first issue of BIG TIME hit stands, I really felt as though Slott's run would be much closer to what Marvel originally promised with BND: a back-to-basics fresh start. I'd like to say I wasn't disappointed with Slott's first issue, but I can't.
The $%^ thing sold out.
But hey, I'm a charitable guy. I'll take a hit for the team if it means that ASM could be Marvel's flagship title again during my lifetime. On a related note, I couldn't find a copy of Spider-Girl #1 either. Good news for Dan Slott and Paul Tobin, bad news for me.
Luckily, I was able to snag a copy of ASM 649 yesterday, and it was....yeah, I'm not beneath going for the cheap pun. Amazing Spider-Man...feels amazing again. Or at least this issue did.
So here's why I think Slott's run is so promising, based on what little I've seen:
1. Big Ideas. Slott's wanted to write ASM since before he was born, and he's reportedly got notebooks full of plots. So Slott just might be attached to ASM for the rest of his natural life, and he could conceivably be a co-plotter years after he's shuffled off this mortal coil. In two issues, Slott has given Peter a really cool job as a scientist, brought the Bugle back into play under the direction of Robbie Roberston, returned the Kingpin to Spider-Man's world, given us the return of the Hogoblin, and then something really wild. We're only a little ways in, but I'm genuinely excited (and intrigued) for the first time in a while.
2. Supporting Cast. Slott has utitlized so many cast members in such a short amount of time that I won't even try to summarize it. Suffice to say the supporting cast is not only a nice blend of new and old, but they genuinely feel connected again. Norah Winters is dating Randy Robertson, but Phil Urich is back and he's got his eye on her, too. And he's just a tad...well, he's got issues. That's just one example of how Slott is making Spider-Man's world a tangled web again, and I love it.
3. Bang for Buck. Remember the old comics, where characters had a lot of interaction, and panels were crammed full of witty dialogue? And it took you more than five minutes to read it, and you could it read it twice and pick up on stuff you'd missed the first time? Yeah, good times, and by good times I mean yesterday when I read ASM 649.
It's still early in Slott's run, but it looks as though we finally got our Brand New Brand New Day.