Review: Avenging Spider-Man #1

Avenging Spider-Man #1
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Joe Madureira
Color Art:  Ferran Daniel

Avenging Spider-Man is a book done in the tradition of Marvel’s classic Team-Up books, with the idea being that each story arc teams Spidey with one of his Avengers teammates (hence the title) or another Marvel character of equal or lesser renown.

It might seem like a strange idea to give Spider-Man another book considering he already has Amazing Spider-Man, is a member of TWO Avengers teams (Avengers and New Avengers), and — at least for now — remains a member of the Future Foundation (i.e. Fantastic Four, or FF).  Ultimately, though, if you’re going to do a team-up book, it probably makes sense to have it anchored by your company’s flagship character.  As the relatively short-lived Deadpool Team-Up showed, maybe a wise-cracking-but-schizophrenic, un-killable assassin isn’t the way to go for a book that has a potentially broader appeal.

The first storyline in Avenging finds Spider-Man teaming up with the Red Hulk following a humorous debate between the Avengers regarding who was going to give ol’ webs a lift back to New York City.  Has anyone else noticed that the other Avengers don’t seem to particularly care that Spidey’s on the team?

Anyways, for those who don’t know, the green Hulk isn’t the only Hulk in existence.  His old enemy General “Thunderbolt” Ross became the Red Hulk at some point a while back.  After spending some time continuing to be a villain, he eventually decided he wanted to redeem himself and has been a part of Avengers since around this time last year.  He’s still a deadly serious guy, though, which makes him the perfect foil for Spidey’s wisecracks in this issue.

Upon arriving back in New York (Hulk jumps them there), the two heroes find themselves in the midst of an attack by the Mole Man’s moloids — and Hulk finds himself on the receiving end of a Kool-Aid joke that he doesn’t get.  The moloids kidnap J. Jonah Jameson after summoning a giant creature to keep Spidey and Hulk busy, and we find out that all is not well in Subterranea (the underground kingdom of the Mole Man).

This is a great first issue overall.  I’ve felt Zeb Wells has a good handle on Spider-Man going back to the rotating “Spidey Brain Trust” writing team that existed a few years ago during Amazing Spider-Man‘s thrice-monthly scheduling.  There’s some great banter in here between Spidey and Hulk, and Joe Medureira and Ferran Daniel provide absolutely beautiful art that definitely fits the writing’s playful, cartoonish tone.

There are, however, a few things that stick out to me continuity wise that pull me out of the story.  I’m not sure when exactly this story is supposed to take place, but Thor died during Fear Itself, so this has to take place before then.  The Mole Man was also still King of Subterranea in the last FF storyline, which didn’t hint that he had been overthrown at any point in time.  So when exactly does this story take place?

I know the argument against that is, “It’s a comic book!  Don’t take it so seriously!”  The same people that argue that point, though, are the ones who in the next breath will speak deadly serious about their favorite book.  Ultimately, I understand that this story was probably written prior to either of the other two I mentioned, but it would be nice if there were some sort of note indicating where in continuity this happens.

Story:  7/10 (Down from 8 because continuity issues pulled me out of the story)
Art:  9/10 

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Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.