Thursday, May 12, 2011

Free Comic Book Day 2011: Spider-Man

I dropped all the Spider-Man books from my pull list following the "One More Day" storyline. That's a long, and completely separate story.

This year was the first year I have ever been able to participate in Free Comic Book Day. I always managed to be busy or out of town prior, so I was pretty excited. It was fun, and the atmosphere in the shops was really good. I see why it warrants all the hoopla.

I picked up a couple of free comics, and the first that I read was "Amazing Spider-Man" by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. I figured that it would be a good test to see if Spider-Man was going to be a book I could look into picking up again or not.

Other reviewers seemed to like this book well enough, and I've never had any major issues with either Dan Slott (who I liked from his "Avengers: Initiative" work) and Humberto Ramos (who's "Crimson" is still something I like to re-read from time to time) both usually do good work, so I had a sense of enthusiasm getting into this issue. Maybe even hoping that things had turned around for the Spider-Man book, and I could hop back into it. I have just finished reading an Essential Spider-Man book, and it served to whet my appetite for more web-slinging action.

But this book? Meh.

Okay, I'll say, it's not terrible. It looks okay, and it's paced okay.

However, that's it. It's full of just being "okay", and it should have been, in my opinion, great enough to serve as a flagship for the entire Marvel line of comics.

Spoilers follow, be warned. Not in any great detail, but you know, this is the internet. I'm just doing my part.

  • Spider-Man fights the Mandrill, and he fights Spider-Woman because the Mandrill has possessed her.
The Mandrill fought them both not too long ago in "New Avengers". This seems like a cheap rehash of another book I already own. Also, "The Mandrill"? Really, Marvel? Not Doc Ock, or a Goblin, or any other of the web-spinner's iconic foes for this book, the one you're giving away to try and win new readers, but instead, the terminally silly Mandrill? For shame.

  • Spider-Man has lost his spider-sense.
Not really sure why. It's never really explained, at least not to my satisfaction. Spider-Man's powers going on the fritz is sort of a standard Spidey plot. I think that it's a bit lazy on the part of Dan Slott to trot out this old, "tried and true" trope for Spider-Man. It doesn't feel fresh, it doesn't feel innovative. I'm just going to assume he got hit by a pumpkin bomb full of strange gas, and that's what caused it. Sounds about right.

  • The Master of Kung-Fu, Shang Chi, teaches Spider-Man kung fu in order to help him compensate for the loss of his spider sense.
This little plot point, I like. It was sort of jammed into the story, but really, you'd think a guy like Peter Parker who is constantly getting his butt whupped would take a class at the Y or something. I mean, he pals around with Captain America and with Iron Fist all the time. This was a cool little idea that I liked a lot.

  • They call his new style "spider fu".
Yeah. They call it that.


Was this book arduous to read? No, in general it was okay, but I think that as a Free Comic Book Day offering, it was a failure, as this book did nothing to make me want to shell out four bucks a pop for more.

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