Review: Avenging Spider-Man #2

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Ah fuck it, let’s all cheer for Avenging Spider-Man, easily the most kick ass new book in the Marvel catalog. What makes Avenging Spider-Man so good? The question should be what ISN’T good about Avenging Spider-Man, which would be nothing. Issue #2 is as flawless as issue #1 and writer Zeb Wells is so good at what he does he may even get me interested in picking up his Carnage USA, featuring a character I don’t care about on any level. This is what comic books should be. Exciting, fun, a good time featuring action, a good story and great dialog. To hell with hammers and dead thunder gods and split mutant teams, it’s time to get down with Spider-Man and the Red Hulk.

Like Dan Slott (writer for Amazing Spider-Man) Zeb Wells gets it, he understands how to write comic book characters and is clearly having a great time doing it. When we last left the Red Hulk and Spidey, they were fighting mutant minions of Mole Man, called Moloids, who had snatched J. Jonah Jameson and dragged him beneath New York City. Apparently, Mole Man has been bested as leader of Subterranea by a giant pissed off creature named Ra’ktar and the Moloids have recruited Red Hulk, Spider-Man and Jonah Jameson to help restore order.

You really can’t argue with anything where J. Jonah Jameson gets to be a badass. Zeb Wells writes Jameson perfectly, even as over the top as his part is. The scene when our man J. Jonah stands before Ra’ktar and essentially tells him to screw off is the stuff dreams are made of.  The fun doesn’t stop there as Jonah gets fitted with battle gear to step into the ring with Ra’ktar. Wells understands what makes us love J. Jonah and delivers on all pistons. He also manages to write Spider-Man perfectly (almost as well as Dan Slott) and nails the Red Hulk. It’s a rare gift for a writer to take on multiple characters and get them all right. Some writers forget how important dialog is, but not Wells.

Outside the spirit of fun that Avenging Spider-Man has, there’s also a great story here. Wells makes you feel sorry for Mole Man and his minions, especially when Spidey and Red Hulk stumble upon the wrecked city and the children hiding in terror. Perhaps the most telling part of Avenging Spider-Man #2 is how fast Zeb Wells changes the tone with his ending. On a dime the mirth stops and shock ripples through. It will leave you sweating for issue #3 to come out.

The art from Joe Medureira is awesome, which hasn’t always been true of the artist. At times his work can be downright ugly, but with Avenging Spider-Man his very stylized pencils work. The strength of Medureira’s work is his combination of strong lines and detail. Red Hulk is just a huge block while Ra’ktar is gigantic but covered with armor, bones, muscles outlines, and all of it very detailed. The action leaps off the page as do character reactions. I can see where some might think Medureira is too stylized, like the work of Humberto Ramos or Bill Sienkiewicz, but it’s very effective for the story Zeb Wells is telling. Let the rest of Marvel prepare for mutants vs. movie stars next summer, Avenging Spider-Man is the comic book lovers series for sure.




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