So, confession time. I have never liked Spiderman. I only read a few comic when I was young and they were pretty mediocre, and it wasn’t until the Sam Raimi movies that I was exposed to the friendly neighborhood web slinger again. AND I FUCKING HATE THOSE MOVIES. Without going too much into it, the main reason is the portrayal of Spiderman himself, by one Tobey Maguire, as a simpering, annoying idiot.

When I voiced this to a friend who was an avid comic reader, around the time of the second movie or so, he told me that WAS Spiderman, and I probably wouldn’t like any comics with him in it either. So I really never was interested until I found out from much more…informed people that this is not how Spiderman actually is supposed to be. So I thought “Well, I should read some Spiderman then!”. But no, dear reader. For by these same people I was also informed that Spidey had taken a nose dive with the events of a book called One More Day, in which Spiderman makes a deal with the devil because blah blah blah (if you really don’t know by now, the Internet is full of stuff about it and why it sucked).

But, being and objective reader and not wanting to just give up again on this franchise, I decided to throw caution and good sense to the wind and picked up this issue, mainly because the variant cover looked good. It…kinda worked out?

Summary: So, we open with a brief monologue from Peter Parker recapping some events, kind of. He mostly just talks about how beautiful Mary Jane looked at the wedding. But, in between Spider-dweebs babbling, we get brief info about Jonah Jameson, Spideys “worst enemy”, becoming mayor, Jonah’s dad marrying Aunt May, and Dr. Octopus and Norman Osborn doing evil things that will have no effect on this issue.

The comic proper begins with a series of flashbacks about Aunt May’s wedding reception and how Mary Jane was there. Interspersed with this is Peter waking up the next morning in bed with someone named Michelle (apparently his roommate who doesn’t like him) and her getting pissed at him because…he doesn’t remember? Whatever. Point is, she says she wants him gone.

Oh, believe me, Spidey, many comic book fans have beaten you to it.

Then, Spidey swings over to his Aunt May’s house, looking for a place to stay, but finds that it is now populated by relatives, living there until Aunt May returns from her honeymoon. So he saunters off, pondering what he can remember of last night’s event (he made a date with MJ, but can’t remember when or where).

From there, the comic goes into classic Super Hero mode: Peter finds out about a fire, shows up, saves the day with somewhat witty remarks and quick thinking.

“Fear not, citizen, for I am the Incredible Firescreamer! With the amazing ability to yell out fire!”

The comic ends with Peter remembering where to meet MJ, but sadly she oversleeps and never shows up. It also contains a short little bonus story about parenting and role models, that is alright, I guess. A little corny, but that’s better than nothing.

Writing: This may come off as more of a critique of Spiderman in general, so bare with me. In regards to the comic, it ranges from banal, the stuff about his sleeping with Michelle and the date with MJ, to average, with him saving the burning building. Nothing really special about this comic, but for what it is, it’s well executed.

But on to Spiderman in general (and this may leak over unto the whole of Marvel as well), I really hate Jonah Jameson. The “I’ll get Spiderman” schtick was old before it got started. I know he has served some purpose (and I actually like him in the movies) but he falls so flat. He basically serves as a device for the writer to go “Poor Spiderman, no one likes him. Look how wrong Jameson is about him!”. He straw-man’s all critique of Spidey’s actions, as opposed to what he should be, which is someone who voices actual concerns about Parker that allow Pete to question his own actions and become stronger through it.

That’s just the direction I would have liked to see it go, but maybe that’s not what Spiderman is really about, after all, I’m new to his world.

But one thing I am not new to is the biggest gripe I have with Marvel. The civilians. Holy crap I hate them. They range from completely helpless to stupid and vindictive. Not only do they change sides at the drop of a hat, but they just act incredibly idiotic (the Screamtress up there is a perfect example). And when it comes to stories about people trying to save them, its hard to get into it when you don’t care if they live or die.

Also, like every Marvel comic I’ve read, every time a character references a past story, a little box pops up to talk about it, and tell you what issue. This is helpful at first, but after a while it kind of feels like they’re just pushing things on you.

“No, Spiderman, I, the great Water Pusher, shall assist you!” (Christ I hate these people)

Art: The comic shines here, mostly. The flashback sequences especially utilize color in a way that makes it flow well with the inter-cut of the morning after. There is one thing, however, that the artist can’t seem to get right, and that’s faces. Now, every artist approaches the human anatomy differently, so obviously, not every face looks exact. But this…well…

I think Mary Jane may have been to Innsmouth recently!

Depending on the angle, Mary Jane looks either like a man, or a fish person. It’s rather bizarre. I suppose it doesn’t take anything away from the story, but after Peter’s drooling over her for most of the comic you have to wonder if he’s into some weird shit.

Overall: Amazing Spiderman 601 isn’t terrible, it’s nothing special, but from what I’ve been hearing about Spidey these days, that’s probably better than normal. It doesn’t require any knowledge of his continuity to get into, and in fact, I suspect it was better because I didn’t know a whole lot about the current storyline. However that’s not much of a recommendation, is it?

…Better than those goddamn movies, though.