After ten years at the helm, it’s still somewhat hard to believe that Dan Slott is gone from Amazing Spider-Man. While we’ve already had Spectacular Spider-Man with Chip Zdarsky as an additional book, it’s strange to see the main title open up with a different creative team. The question is though, how do you follow up such a long and storied run? Marvel’s decision in this case is to bring in the guy who for better or worse gave us Secret Empire: Nick Spencer, and after so many issues of Invincible: Ryan Ottley. The results are fairly interesting to say the least.
While Nick has written around the edges of Spider-Man’s world be it with Miles Morales having a starring role in Secret Empire, or his take on the would-be Sinister Six led by Boomerang (who makes his return here) in Superior Foes of Spider-Man, it’s hard to deny that Nick is a writer who has familiarity with Spider-Man. That said, people who are worried can rest assured that his Peter Parker is largely on-brand. However, the plot of this comic is all over the place as Nick Spencer tries to set up so many different plots at once with an alien invasion as the focus, but it still can’t help but feel like a very scattered comic. And for a comic coming out under the idea of being a “Fresh Start”, it’s really packed with callbacks to several decades of Spider-Man comics that a new reader might not pick up on, and with a lot of references to the just-finished Spider-Man by Dan Slott, a direct flashback to the famous Spectacular Spider-Man story by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca. It’s hard in some respects to see where Spencer is telling a story that isn’t a direct riff on someone else’s, much less one that isn’t reliant on the reader’s knowledge on a supposed issue number one. But on the other things that are wholly Spencer’s like Boomerang, he really does get to shine.
Now the biggest draw in the comic for my money is Ryan Ottley. His having spent so much time on Invincible makes his art a unique draw, especially with superhero comics which can fall victim to house styles at times. He brings a huge kinetic energy that’s always welcome on Spider-Man and the actions scenes he does get to draw, as well as the more quiet and tender moments look beautiful under his eye. Cliff Rathburn another Invincible import does a great job of keeping the art looking smooth. Laura Martin also does a fantastic job with the colors, between the sickly green of the alien invaders, as well as the big clashes of colors from so many characters and lightings happening at once. All in all, it’s a fantastic debut for what’s sure to be a memorable Spider-Man art team. While the comic doesn’t quite pass the smell test as far as being one of those elusive “jumping on points”, it’s still an enjoyable if scattered comic. The art team though is worth your time, and it looks like it’ll be a memorable one.
3.5 Alien Invasions out of 5