Avenging Spider-Man #5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan [Inker], Sunny Gho [Color Art]
The latest issue of Zeb Wells’ Spider-Man team-up book sees Spider-Man pairing off with Captain America–because, well, they’re both Avengers and that’s kind of the point of this book. Also, both characters have movies coming out in the next few months.
At the beginning of the issue, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman are in Avengers Mansion reading a reprint of an old comic strip in the Daily Bugle. The comic strip, it turns out, was drawn by a pre-super soldier serum Captain America, who, as it turns out, wasn’t just scrawny and weak–he was an art school kid. The Avengers are all joking around about the comic having “liberty bonds” in every sentence (Hey, it was World War II, you know?) and Cap himself walks in right as Spider-Man sticks his foot in his mouth.
Captain America tells the Avengers that they’re going to round up the rest of the Serpent Society, who were causing trouble in the last issue of Avenging Spider-Man (and who also caused trouble this week in Avengers vs. X-Men #0, because they are omnipresent or something).
Anyways, realizing that both he and Captain America were nerds, Spider-Man calls dibs on teaming with Captain America and then annoys him with his trademark banter. Ultimately, the two have a bonding experience later in the issue, which I guess is different from when they were pretty close friends during Spider-Man’s time living in Avengers Tower prior to 2006’s “Civil War” story. Back then (during Straczynski’s “The Other” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man), they were sparring partners and Captain America taught Spider-Man how to catch a bullet with his bare hands instead of just dodging it, because Captain America can do that, too. For the record, neither of them ever really spend much time catching bullets with their bare hands, but that’s beside the point.
Wells does a great job here of furthering the idea that Spider-Man can’t help but be a pain in the ass to his fellow heroes, as has been the case since he first became a member of the Avengers. Unlike other writers who handle Spider-Man in an Avengers setting, though, Spider-Man isn’t just written as a wise-cracking idiot here. As much as he annoys the others, you an see that they acknowledge what he contributes to the team and that there’s a certain level of respect for him–although in the case of characters like Wolverine and Captain America, their respect has long been established). That Wells also manages to add something more to the Captain America mythos with the art school comic strip is icing on the cake.
The art in this issue strikes a nice balance between realistic and traditional, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho on more books. My only real complaint here would be that Spider-Man seems to have gotten a bit shorter, only coming up to Captain America’s shoulder in one panel (Spider-Woman, by comparison, appears just a few inches shorter than Cap on the same page). It just kind of makes Spider-Man look like a little kid by comparison, when he’s actually around his mid-20s–not to mention it makes me wonder just how short Wolverine is supposed to be, since he’s shorter than Spider-Man.
Regardless, Avenging Spider-Man continues to be fun and, so far, offers a lot of easy jumping-on points for new readers who might be uncomfortable just diving right into the character’s flagship book.