While DC reboots every single one of their flagship comic books, Marvel announced earlier this week that they were going to introduce a new Spider-Man centric series in November entitled Avenging Spider-Man. As you might have deducted from the title, the series is going to focus exclusively on Spidey’s adventures as a member of The Avengers.
Talking strictly as a fan here, there are some things that came out on Marvel’s conference call that have me alternating between excited and guarded about this new series. First the good. From a pure content standpoint, there’s definitely some potential in a Spider-Man centric/Avengers series. Considering the last few issues of New Avengers I flipped through (yeah, comic book store, I’m THAT guy) featured a collective two panels with Spider-Man in them, I think Marvel can and should be doing so much more to justify adding Spidey to the team in the first place a few years ago. Otherwise, it just looks like a marketing ploy to slap one of your most popular superheroes on the cover of a comic and not actually do anything with him that’s relevant to the Spider-Man mythos. And we all know that the comic book industry is above doing things like that (ahem).
Also, I think the timing on this is pretty spot-on. By November, we’re about a year removed from the three-a-month Amazing Spider-Man blitz that was born from 2008’s “Brand New Day” storyline. So while we’re still getting two issues of ASM a month, there really are no other series that are concurrent with the ASM universe that feature Spider-Man front and center (the new FF, aka Fantastic Four seems to be falling into the same trap as the New Avengers in terms of Spidey face-time). So hey, three cheers for more Spider-Man comics.
But as is almost always the case, I have my reservations. For one, it’s unclear as to how much this new series will tie-in to ASM and if there’s going to be gaps in the flagship’s title stories if I’m not reading Avenging Spider-Man (as was the case in the 80s and 90s when series like Web of Spider-Man, Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man were all running concurrently and crossing over with each other). The new series’ writer, Zeb Wells gave a non (but funny) answer to this:
“In my mind, (current ASM writer) Dan [Slott] is Daddy,” Wells said. “I don’t want to make Daddy mad. I don’t want to spank him. If Daddy likes something we do, he can run with it.”
Then there’s the actual substance of this new series’ content to consider. On one hand, a new series that stays true to the core tenants and devices of the Spider-Man character is a good thing, but from Wells’ description, this new series sounds like it’s being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer:
“With Dan Slott nailing all the Peter Parker soap opera stuff in Amazing Spider-Man, we wanted to a book about Spider-Man as a super hero, out there in the Marvel Universe with the Avengers. This is the big super action movie of Spider-Man every month, with Joe Mad on art.”
I know comic books ain’t Shakespeare, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t aspire to be. If this new series is just a bunch of panels of Spider-Man blowing crap up and drinking beers with Wolverine, color me unimpressed.
So, the collector in me is definitely on the fence here. On one hand, there’s a new Spider-Man series, something that hasn’t been introduced in my lifetime in quite a while (last I can think of that incorporated the Amazing Spider-Man universe was that Todd McFarlane Spider-Man series I spoke about recently). I guess I’m going to have to wait until November, pick up the first issue on the newsstand and take it from there to see.
There have been a TON of new Spidey series since the McFarlane run: a 2nd Web Of, Sensational – twice, and a few more that all just didn’t make it. When they cancelled the last of the ongoings is when ASM went to 3x a month. Bet bet – this will do decent #’s, be around for 2-3 years and then the Spidey books will morph yet again. Joe Mad is a cool artist (best known for his Uncanny X-Men run from a while back, a creator owned Battle Chasers book, and then a recent Ultimates run) but I doubt that it’ll see 6 months of being on-time in a row. Give it a shot! At least an arc. Can’t hurt! 😉