Friday, November 18, 2011

Avenging Spider-Man #1

Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Joe Madureira
Company: Marvel Comics

A very middle of the road affair, all told. Sometimes you hate to say certain things about comics, especially when you know that they are issues that people are looking forward to, but it's true, Avenging Spider-Man is the perfect example of what a "Middle of the Road" comic looks like. That said, it's big news that Joe Madureira has returned to the land of comics (even though it shall more than likely be a brief visit). Like Jim Lee, he's one of those beloved creators that had an intense artistic impact on a huge group of people years ago and created a huge fan-base that constantly crave something new from him. His X-Men and Battle Chasers are of course still held in high regard, so yes, him on a Spider-Man title is a big deal.

At it's core, Avenging Spider-Man is a very artistically led book. The story that Zeb (Amazing Spider-Man) Wells has cooked up feels as though it has been slapped together and rushed out the door before it was really ready. Now that's not to say that there aren't good things in the script. I've always found that Wells has a knack for humor. His work on the television show Robot Chicken is the best example of that, but the one-liners and the overall humor that he imbues into his version of Peter Parker hits that classic feel that can occasionally be missing.

Teaming him up with the Red Hulk, a character that until recently during Jeff Parker's run on Hulk was one that could easily be dismissed as being a black hole that was sucking the life out of good comics (harsh, yes, but there's a lot of hate out there for the character), is an odd choice. But when you step back and think about it, the notion of the comic relief teaming up with the straight-laced, no-nonsense character who really just wants to hit everything that gets in his way, is a tried and true element to countless stories that have been successful over the years. Where things start to get shaky is with the slightly cheesy "villain" choice of the piece, which is shoulder shrug worthy, and the art. Yes, you heard me correctly. I said the art.

In the past, Joe Madureira's style has been very slick, with the influence of Manga and Anime quickly became his defining mark. The pencils were tight and visually appealing though, which can't necessarily be said for his work on Avenging Spider-Man. The pencils are visible shaky and much looser than we have seen. Now, a person could say that that adds something to the action, a greater sense of movement, which I could agree with at times, but here it comes off as messy. Another detractor to the look of the art is the fact that the finished work seems to have been colored and shot from the original pencils. It's a method that I've seen used well by Dale Eaglesham and a few other artists, but in this case there is an unfinished quality to it that quickly becomes distracting.

Overall though, Avenging Spider-Man flounders a bit, but I do appreciate the more lighthearted approach that the creators have taken. There's fun action, humor, and some good ideas put down on the page. If only the execution of it all was a little bit better.

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