For Spider-man fans it’s a good time to be alive. In 2014 alone Spider-man has already had over a dozen comic series centered around him, Marvel has an event focusing on Spider-man releasing in November entitled “Spider-verse”. He’s swung from the pages of comics to the big screen, his animated series, “Ultimate Spider-man” will be starting it’s third season this year, and, last week he made his debut in the world of Infinite Comics with “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?”, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, and Dan Slott. Order is quickly restoring in the world of the web head, as the highly acclaimed, and even more highly controversial, “Superior Spider-man”, series, came to an end in April. Regardless of your feelings on “Superior Spider-man”, Peter Parker is back in control of his body and last week “Amazing Spider-man #1”, hit stands and fans everywhere rejoiced to see their hero back in action, and back to being “amazing”.
Speaking of amazing, “Amazing Spider-man 2”, debuted last week, featuring Andrew Garfield’s return to his role as Peter Parker. ComicUI was definitely ‘amazed’ by the quality of the movie, and you can read our thoughts on the film here:
In April ComicUI invaded the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), and got to meet rockstar writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of Ultimate Comics Ultimates, and the new Ultimate FF series. Fialkov is a self proclaimed dark writer, so hearing he was penning an Amazing Spider-man Infinite Comic was quite shocking, and made me a little scared for Spidey’s safety. During Marvel’s House of Ideas panel, Fialkov described the premise of “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?”, as “an answer to the question, ‘Who is Spider-man without his memories?”. Similar to Marvel’s other Infinite Comics, “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?” will be released as 12 digital comics available through the Marvel digital store for $2.99 each. However, this time Marvel is testing a new distribution schedule for the series. As opposed to one issue every week on New Comic Book Day, Marvel is releasing four issues of the series at once, followed by four more issues one month from now. This means it’ll still take 12 weeks to read all of “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?”, however each week it’s released readers will get a much larger dose of content. Personally I am on the fence about this new distribution schedule, and I’m not happy about dropping $12.00 in one week on one series, but I have to admit compared to the beginning of “Wolverine: Japan’s Most Wanted”, or “Daredevil: Road Warrior”, I feel infinitely more gripped by the opening week of “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?”.
As far as the story goes, “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?”, picks up with Spider-man appearing to regain consciousness in the midst of a bank robbery, only this time, Spider-man is one of the robbers. He’s not sure who he is, or why he’s dressed in a skin tight, brightly colored costume, but his crew of criminals are more then willing to fill him in on what to do next. The first issue is nothing short of shocking. Ending on a note so surprising, that making readers wait a week to find out what happens next would have been downright cruel.
While the writing is phenomenal in these first four issues, the art feels like a bit of a step backwards for Marvel’s Infinite Comics. So far Marvel’s Infinite Comics have given us clean sharp artwork that challenges readers to find a device with a sharp enough display to match the artwork. In “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?” The coloring is beautiful, and the pacing works really well for both digital story telling, and for a character who relies as heavily on internal narration as Spider-man. However, the line work feels so rushed, sloppy, thick it almost distracts from the beauty of the issues. Artist Juan Bobillo clearly knows his stuff, Spider-man can be seen swinging and contorting into all sorts of cool poses throughout the first four issues. He even managing to convey a surprising amount of emotion through Spider-man despite rarely removing his mask but I cannot understand why he chose to ink the comic the way he did. It’s a very stylized approach to Spider-man, but it comes across more childish and sloppy then I was hoping a Spider-man Infinite Comic would be. Color artist Andres Mossa really does save the day though. From the lush colors of New York to the dark criminal underworld, Mossa’s work glows beautifully and in my opinion really is what artistically holds this series together.
Despite Marvel’s new distribution schedule and an artistic style that I can’t fully get behind, I whole heartedly recommend “Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I?” to any Spider-man fans or fans of Digital Comics. With both Joshua Hale Fialkov and Dan Slott working together the story feels unlike anything I’ve ever read but somehow still holds true to feeling like a Spider-man comic. With these two working together there’s no telling where they’ll take the web head next, and for better or worse, I guarantee that next month they’ll have some jaw dropping moments for us.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5