The Amazing Spider-Man #83 – Review

Pat Gleason does a fine job as the sole storyteller on this issue of The Amazing Spider-man and that’s worth commending. Well done beyond team!

The Amazing Spider-Man #93

Written and drawn by Patrick Gleason
Published by Marvel Comics
Released – 29/12/21

This issue of the Amazing Spider-man is a special one! Beyond board member/artist Patrick Gleason takes on scribing duties as well as art on this book. A story of heroic success and rising above his enemies…is not the story told in these pages, well, it kind of is actually…

Janine Godbe, Ben Reilly’s loveable girlfriend stares at a highly advanced screen sprawling headlines with Spider-man’s name across them as she sits in a pool. This scene, by the way, us about as much as we see from the Reilly side of the Spider-family. She talks to (guess who?) Marcus on the phone and then wanders off. Not a needed scene, but it’s good the book tries to keep intertwined with both Spider-men in the same issue instead of drawing away from the main arc.

Next thing we know, we’re in the hospital where Peter Parker, who has apparently totally forgotten about the crazy monster that tried to EAT him last issue, is being scolded for not being up to physical therapy. Luckily, these last couple of issues Peter’s been getting a lot better to the point where he can stay conscious and even be able to walk. Once the doctor leaves, however, his Spider-sense sets off and goes crazy, the imagery in this scene is pretty darn cool and Switches up the colorist to the renowned Nathan Fairburn who makes the scene look flatter but insanely vibrant and beautiful as Spider-man falls through his own brain. We get some more awesome imagery as a spider literally breaks through Peter’s face and a Spider-man-like creature walks out of his head (yep) into the distance.

Sometime after, the nurse once again confronts Peter about his physical therapy and she’s told he’s up to it as she hands him a package. Inside the package is an old, tattered Spidey-stume from, as the comic states, 2007?! That would mean that Spider-man has been Spider-man for at least 15 years. So that means that if we take into account that Spider-man was 15 when he became the web-slinger, he is now AT LEAST 30 YEARS OLD! THAT’S ANCIENT!!! (apologies to any readers in their 30’s and up, you aren’t THAT old). In my mind, Spider-man should be no older than 25-26, that’s not too young to be married or even have a kid and he’d still be considered young in the grand scheme of things (again, no shame for people in their 30’s, you’re in your bodies physical prime, enjoy it whilst it lasts!). unfortunately, however, his age does fit into marvel’s sliding timescale ratio, being that 4 years in real-time is one year in the marvel universe, so considering Spider-man turns 60 this year, dividing that by 4 we do actually get 15 years.

Sorry for my rantings but I just wish Marvel could do some sort of reset to make the characters younger, they have to do something at some point, or else in another 60 years Spider-man’ll be walking his kids down the aisle, which is not cool (or it could be, perhaps in an alternate universe). Aaaaaanyways, this is the point where marvel deems this the biggest Spider-man moment in years, that is, Peter Parker getting acknowledged in action!

Lounging on a skyscraper wearing a gown and slippers, he spots his first criminals of the night, a couple of star-crossed lovers who’ve just robbed a bank. Just a little side note, in this scene in particular l, the dialogue sounds a little janky and unnatural, I’m not sure how far Gleason’s writing career extends but some of the speech doesn’t sound like how a person would speak. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Tarantino characters sound totally weird but it works for the narrative, but this however was just a few errors that could have been ironed out. VERY if it sounds like I’m being a downer but that’s my biggest complaint with this issue and it’s VERY minor which should give you an indication on how good this issue is. Spider-man lands on the hood of the thieves car and as he prepares to shoot his web, his web shooter starts playing toy sounds, with Peter understanding the seller he had bought it from had reworked it to be a toy, and gets hit full force by the car as it thrusts into the wall, then taking a huge beating from the couple who would’ve been slim pickings a few weeks ago in Spidey’s life.

By some divine intervention, Captain America, an avenger who is likely busy with saving the world, just happens to be hanging around a New York car park and saves Spider-man from the terrible clutches of two Bank robbers! One of the robbers ends up shooting a bullet directly at Spidey’s head when it’s diverted by Captain America’s shield! However, in a moment that ca  only be summed up in the word “ooooooooffoowweech!” Spider-man gets totally spangled on the dome with America’s symbol of heroism. Aaaaand that was the end if Spider-man’s short-lived super-heroine return. Another dream sequence occurs where uncle Ben has a wholesome chat with Peter about heroes and that Spider-man looking creature from before emerges when a young Peter calls out the webheads name as the spindly figure lunges at him, he turns into Spider-man and bats the creature away and the issue ends with Peter waking up, crying NEVER!


Did this issue have one of the biggest Spider-man moments ever? Not really, on the other hand though, it was a really solid, action-packed issue with various qualities of coloring and one of the funniest Spider-man scripts in a while, this book did make me chuckle a couple times. Pat Gleason does a fine job as the sole storyteller on this issue of The Amazing Spider-man and that’s worth commending. Well done beyond team!

8/10


Reviewed by Leo Brocklehurst on the 18/1/22



Amazing Fantasy #3 – Review

Amazing Fantasy is a title I’d strongly recommend for anyone either intrigued by the lovely cover art, curious about the displacement of some key Marvel heroes, or who wants something a little different.

Amazing Fantasy #3

Story: Kaare Andrews
Art: Kaare Andrews
Colours: Brian Reber
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Released October 2021

I keep coming back to the covers for Amazing Fantasy 1 and 2 over and over, just to enjoy them, to find new details, to appreciate the skill of their creator. This one’s no different.

Here we have Black Widow, framed by an unmistakably alien vista, the victor of a battle against strange foes. It’s a wonderful piece of art by Kaare Andrews, once again nodding to his influences while creating something suited to the modern age. There’s a strong retro-futurism feel here, recalling the work of greats such as Ed Emshwiller, Virgil Finlay and the fantastical cityscapes of Frank R. Paul. There’s more than a dash of Rodney Matthews here too and, as each of these fantasy and sci-fi greats brought us whole new worlds of incredible imagination, so too does Kaare Andrews with his cover art here. If there are any elements that draw you in, be it the gorgeous rendering of Black Widow and alien companion, the Soviet rocket ship, the strange structures on the horizon, then you would do well to not only check out this run but also investigate Andrews’ predecessors.

While each of the three primary covers for Amazing Fantasy so far have been worthy of the ‘amazing’ tag and very much stand on their own, they also serve to signal a comic story which places its characters in situations and settings which are several steps from the norm. While the atypical nature of Andrews’ title might be divisive when it comes to audience, there are enough familiar elements to ease readers into this new world and allow them to enjoy the adventure.

And what an adventure it is! The action moves at quite a pace now, and early in this issue Andrews’ establishes the drums of war as a central theme. Certainly tensions have been building as each of the three main characters find their feet in this strange new land.

Another familiar face from the Marvel universe makes her entrance proper while a young king, Black Widow at his side, makes a bid to avert the impending conflict. Meanwhile, Captain America (in full pulp hero mode) attempts to rally the tribe of the Cat People to act against instinct and tradition in order to defend themselves. Spider Man/Peter Parker remains with the people of Dragon Rock, who make their own preparations.

Add to all this, two other bestial tribes, both of whom chomp at the bit for conflict, and soon we hear the drums start; DOOM, DOOM, DOOM. Moments of court intrigue and quiet reflection are done. Now is the time for battle to be joined.

Andrews switches to epic wide panels to depict both the prelude to war and its main act, a technique which works to great effect, especially when paired with the repeated sound of drums, literally spelling doom. The action is enhanced further by Brian Reber’s colours, shifting here to a dark, hellish palette and so fully immersing us in the grim events facing our heroes. The writing is working well too, with tight dialogue and good characterisation. Kaare Andrews guides us through his ‘Island of Death’ with confidence and no small amount of mystery, supported throughout by some great lettering work from Joe Sabino, who presents the words clearly while respecting the artwork.

The story brings a good number of dramatic moments, reveals and twists; certainly enough to make for a compelling page turner. By the time we reach the cliffhanger ending, we are left ready to read on, to look forward to the next instalment. And, as the preview of issue four’s cover would indicate, yet more stunning art to appreciate.


Verdict

Amazing Fantasy is a title I’d strongly recommend for anyone either intrigued by the lovely cover art, curious about the displacement of some key Marvel heroes, or who wants something a little different. As an added plus, this is a limited run and as such should be easy to track down and collect in its entirety. There are some great variant covers around for each issue too, so seek them out if you can!


Review by Andy Flood, 11/1/22


Amazing Fantasy #1 Review

If you’re in a comic shop and don’t feel even the remotest pull of curiosity when faced with an image of Captain America riding a winged lion, then perhaps you are browsing the wrong shelves…

Amazing Fantasy #1

Reviewed by Andy Flood, 8/8/21

Story:  Kaare Andrews
Art:  Kaare Andrews
Letters:  Joe Sabino
Released: 28/7/21
Published by Marvel Comics


If you’re in a comic shop and don’t feel even the remotest pull of curiosity when faced with an image of Captain America riding a winged lion, then perhaps you are browsing the wrong shelves.  The first issue of Amazing Fantasy has such an image on its cover and it really is one you have to hold in your hands to appreciate.

Granted, old ‘Cap’ looks a little different here, with Thor-like hair and beard and Conan-esque garb.  But the shield is there, albeit peppered with arrows.  The whole composition of the cover, from the languid pose of the supple elf-maiden to the hyper muscled orc (?) and Cap bring to mind the classic sword and sorcery art of Frank Frazetta and maybe even a little Boris Vallejo.

The whole cover is gleefully anachronistic, and I love it.  From the title font down to the brief cover pitch, it instantly conjures up the feel of the pulps of old.  Indeed, the original run of Amazing Fantasy (originally titled Amazing Adult Fantasy) harkens back to the post-pulp early ‘60s, and while primarily being famous for featuring the first ever appearance of Spider Man, had previously featured some excellent, weird and wonderful stories from Stan Lee, illustrated by Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby!

It is perhaps fitting then, that this new book contains not only numerous nods to Marvel history but also stars Spider Man alongside Captain America.  Joining them is Black Widow, or perhaps more accurately here, ‘red-room’ era Natasha Romanoff.  Kaare Andrews has elected to use World War II era Cap and teenage Spidey in this awesome story.

Aside from the letters and editor credits, this title is very much a one man show, and Kaare Andrews makes sure it is a seriously impressive show, at that.  The opening scenes of ‘Arrival’ show us Captain America on what seems to be an ocean-bound escort mission during WWII.  Disaster soon strikes and the Cap is transported to a strange new world, lit by twin suns and populated by fearsome beasts.

We then change pace, tone and art style to join a young Black Widow in the depths of the Red Room programme.  Soon after experiencing some of her harsh reality, we shift over to join everyone’s favourite webslinger, mid-fight with the Green Goblin, just before he is similarly whisked away to find himself in hot water surrounded by odd, misshapen creatures.

This whole book is a love letter not only to Marvel but also the many early pulp fantasy and science fiction stories which informed a lot of later entertainment.  Kaare Andrews uses his shifts in art style to take us from one era or scene to another, with changes in line work and colours very effectively charting a course through the chaos until our three protagonists all arrive in this strange new world.

As the action unfolds and builds towards the climactic closing pages, we are left with a sense of wonder and discovery but also with questions as to the exact nature of our heroes’ experiences.  Is it real, a shared dream, or something more… permanent?


Verdict


‘Arrival’ is a superb opening issue for this 5 book run.  The standard cover is worth the price of admission alone (there are a few nice variant covers around, too).  As a comic creator, Kaare Andrews is openly flexing here, showing off his considerable talents to bring us a tale worthy of that awesome cover and a gathering of some of Marvel’s most popular characters.  This one is highly recommended.  I can’t wait for issue 2!


Review by Andy Flood, 8/8/21