Peter Parker returns from the dead (or at least exile inside his own body that was taken over by a dying Doc Ock) from the latest comic book continuity reboot.
In case you missed it, a couple of years ago Marvel killed off Peter Parker by having Doc Ock take over his body. For a little over thirty issues, Ock was in control of Peter’s life and his powers, helping Peter earn his doctorate, start his own company and begin a romantic relationship with Anna-Maria. He also earned a Peter’s alter-ego Spider-Man a new reputation for ruthlessness and efficiency as he went up against some of Spidey’s old foes.
But Peter wasn’t dead — just lurking inside of Ock’s brain waiting for the right moment to reassert himself and take control back. That moment just happened to tie-in with the release of last year’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 because you wouldn’t want movie audiences coming to the comic books to find Doc Ock in control and not Peter Parker. It also gives you the marketing tie-in opportunity of launching (or in this case re-launching) your flag ship title with a first issue and lots (and lots) of variant covers.
All of this brings us to the first collection of the newly rebooted Amazing Spider-Man with Peter once again firmly in control of his body, but trying to pick up the pieces of his life that Ock left behind. Peter has no idea that Ock and Anna Maria are close (even living together) or how to complete the various projects that Ock has put into play at his new company. He’s also had to publicly distance his company from Spider-Man due to the concluding events of The Superior Spider-Man. And somehow the excuses he uses to run off and go into Spidey mode are wearing thin with colleagues who have tied their future and earning potentials to his company.
Reading this collection of six issues, I couldn’t help but wonder where all the fun of reading Spider-Man comics has gone. Re-reading some of the early days of the character, there was always the real-world angst to Peter Parker, but there was also a sense of fun to balance that out. With this latest reboot, it feels like Dan Slott and company have forgotten that comic books can and should be fun and not feel like they’re pushing some corporate agenda (this isn’t helped by the fact that the main foe for this series is Electro, tying in to last summer’s movie.) Slott did some interesting things early on with Ock taking over as Spider-Man, but that fizzled out quickly, ending with a thud as Marvel hit the reset button (yet again!).
This new series stumbles out of the gate, failing to recapture the magic that made me love Spider-Man so much when I first discovered him years ago. Maybe I’m getting too old and too cynical to enjoy the book these days, but I hope that’s not the case.