Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (Legacy #43) is out now, telling a beautiful and haunting lost story from the Alien Costume Saga.
The annual is written by Saladin Ahmed, drawn by Garry Brown, colored by Lee Loughridge, and lettered by Joe Caramagna. The cover is by ACO and Marcelo Maiolo, with a variant by Gabriele Dell’Otto.
Following the first Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, Spider-Man returned to Earth sporting a slick, black costume – the alien symbiote that would become Venom. This untold story shows what the suit was up to while Spidey was sleeping, before Peter Parker got rid of it.
Ahmed does something brilliant with this tale and tells it all from the symbiote’s perspective. He shows you what the alien was thinking while out on its adventures, and it actually seems like it was trying to do good. It considers Peter a friend, and is trying to help him. This builds sympathy in the reader, which adds an emotional weight and makes certain moments (especially the ending) one hell of a gut punch.
It’s tragic in the same way that people feel bad for animals. The symbiote doesn’t know that’s it’s doing wrong. It’s only following its instincts and doing what it knows, so it doesn’t understand when its supposed friend reacts poorly.
Garry Brown has the perfect style to tell this story. It’s edgy and gives off strong horror vibes. (Anyone who reads Brown’s Babyteeth knows how well he does horror, and the Alien Costume Saga is, in many ways, a superhero horror story.) Loughridge’s colors compliment the style, creating a muted, dark environment. Plus, the two create intense action scenes in addition to the great creepy stuff. There’s a fight sequence in here that pops off the page, if you’ll pardon the cliche. It’s full of energy and movement, yet it still works well in an otherwise dark book.
So all in one comic, you have a horror story, a tragedy, and a superhero story with action, villains, and punching. Amazing Spider-Man Annual#1 is a great read, and it’s just making fans crave Ahmed’s Spider-Man book even more.