Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week, Spider-Man celebrates his swinging 60th in style, with a host of star-studded creators tackling the Friendly Neighborhood Menace!
The review contains mild SPOILERS, so swing on down to the Rapid Rundown for a brief look at this week’s newest issue of X-Men!
And as always, if you have any thoughts or questions, drop us a line in the comment section or stop by our socials @comicsbeat !
Amazing Fantasy #1000
Written by Anthony Falcone, Michael Cho, Dan Slott, Armando Iannucci, Rainbow Rowell, Ho Che Anderson, Kurt Busiek, Jonathan Hickman, Neil Gaiman, and Mike Pasciullo
Art by Cho, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Olivier Coipel, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Klaus Janson, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, Marco Checchetto, Steve McNiven, and Todd Nauck
Colors by Cho, Jay David Ramos, Sonia Oback, Matt Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Dodson, Frank Martin, McNiven, Richard Isanove, and Rachel Rosenberg
Letters by Joe Sabino, Ariana Maher, Clayton Cowles, and Todd Klein
Y’know, I tried to do the math on this one. I really did. But somewhere between issue 15 and 1000 I realized I had no desire to do math or determine whether or not I was supposed to include the entirety of Amazing Spider-Man and I just gave up. Thankfully, the folks over at Amazing Spider-Talk found the (surprisingly) many volumes of this series and crunched the numbers to figure out that this is really Amazing Fantasy #44. Sure, that’s not a huge number, like something the Disgruntled Competition has been publishing in recent years, but in 2022, 44 issues is definitely something to brag about!
Jokes aside, this is an odd duck of an anthology. I understand exactly why this is named the way it is — but I’m still surprised that they didn’t name this ‘The Spectacular Spider-Man 60th Anniversary Soiree’ or something more closely linked to Spider-Man. While characters like Thor or Hulk ran in books with titles like Journey into Mystery and Tales to Astonish for a number of years after they first appeared, Spidey was only in the very last issue of Amazing Fantasy. There’s a single story in this anthology that references the history of that title, but without a footnote, it’s not as though many modern readers would know that.
Unfortunately, because of who Spider-Man is, many of the stories in this anthology tread on a lot of the same ground: there’s a huge focus on his commitment to responsibility, his tragic origin and subsequently tragic life, and his impact on the people of New York. This isn’t to say any of these stories are bad, but it would’ve been nice to have a bit more variety in the types of stories we got. I would’ve loved to get more time with Peter and his supporting cast, but the length of the issue and stories didn’t really allow for that.
Rainbow Rowell, Olivier Coipel, Matt Wilson, and Ariana Maher give us a really sweet story of Peter taking pictures of NYC on a hot summer’s day. The story is set back during Peter’s high school days, and we get a cute scene between Peter and Betty Brant (who we don’t see enough of!), along with some classic J. Jonah Jameson outrage. Coipel and Wilson do a phenomenal job here, as the art is absolutely stunning. Seeing New York through Peter’s camera gives the team so much free range in painting this gorgeous picture of NYC in the summer, and they run with it.
The art in this issue as a whole is just amazing all around. We get rare Michael Cho interior art, which he absolutely knocks out of the park with the story of a bank robber who only commits crimes during world-ending events. Marco Checchetto once again makes the case as to why he should be on a Spidey book, illustrating a multitude of multiversal Spider-Men in a story with Jonathan Hickman (who I always forget is funny for some reason).
Jim Cheung comes back to Spidey for a story toward the end of the webslinger’s career, alongside Dan Slott (who still writes a great Spidey story). It’s a fun short that shows just how much Spidey means to New Yorkers. Speaking of returns to Spidey, Giuseppe Camuncoli also makes his return, illustrating a frightening tale by Ho Che Anderson about a woman in a mental hospital and her struggles with the spiders within her.
The most personal story (and my personal favorite of the issue) is Neil Gaiman‘s. With fantastic art and color by Steve McNiven, Richard Isanove, and letters by Todd Klein, the piece follows Gaiman from his time reading comics as a kid to adulthood and meeting Spidey himself. It’s a lovely tribute to both Spider-Man and the late Steve Ditko. McNiven does a fantastic job paying homage to Ditko, with these wonderfully scratchy angular depictions of the Sinister Six and the wallcrawler himself. The personal touch in this really speaks to how iconic Spider-Man is and the massive impact he’s had around the world.
While I couldn’t touch on every story from this book, each story in here is fun in its own right. Some of the stories do feel like they touch on incredibly similar ground, but the art more than makes up for it, making the issue a blast to check out and a great celebration of Spidey’s 60 years.
Verdict: Strong Browse.
- X-Men #14
- Generally, the current run of X-books are about heavy world/nation building but as part of the Avengers • X-Men • Eternals: Judgment Day storyline, X-Men #14, drops us in the middle of the event where the world is about to be judged by a new Celestial, the Progenitor, all while the Krakoans are heavily entrenched in defending their home from the Eternals’ onslaught. But that’s not enough, writer Gerry Duggan and artist C.F. Villa up the anty by throwing in an extinction-level threat, that’s only 8 minutes away. As high as the stakes are, this has been one of the most fun/joyful X-Men books in a long time as the X-Men juggle two war fronts before the Avengers or any other heroes can respond to this threat. Outside of the poignant story endcaps, this issue is all rocking and rolling as the X-Men get to have fun saving the day and flexing in an epic way, including how one of them faces judgment. Sidegeek bit, I loved the semi Amazing Friends reunion with Iceman and Firestar. —GC3
- Thunderbolts #1
- In Thunderbolts #1 by Jim Zub, Sean Izaakse, Java Tartaglia, and Joe Sabino, Mayor Cage’s attempt to reclaim dignity for the Thunderbolts name is off to a middling start (but fortunately for us readers, that makes for a very entertaining issue). While Clint Barton may be the man who launched a thousand teams, he isn’t having any luck getting the West Coast Avengers back together – a fact that’s relayed through Hawkeye’s side of a phone conversation with Wonder Man. But after receiving a fateful (and fortunately timed) call from Cage, Clint’s back in the hero business, baby! Sure, the roster may have a few hard-to-place faces, but this is the guy who got the Great Lakes Avengers off the ground, and some of their runs have gone to, like, a dozen issues! This issue is a whole lot of fun (and a great reunion for Thunderbolts alums Zub & Izaakse). I’m looking forward to more of this fun and funny title! —AJK
Next week: It’s Judgment Day for the Quiet Council, Marauders, and Wolverine!