QUICKIE REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #700.1

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.1/ Written by DAVID MORRELL/ Art by KLAUS JANSON/ Color by STEVE BUCCELLATTO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_700.1_TextlessIt’s a chilly, somber return to the life of Peter Parker in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man 700.1. Writer David Morrell and artist Klaus Janson deliver part one of “Frost”, a dreamlike story with a bit of a retro feel. There’s standard Spider-Man fare–swinging through New York, disrupting muggers, saving a commuter train–but noticeably absent is the trademark friendly neighborhood Spider-Man mirth. As Morrell and Janson move through the familiar territory of Parker’s Daily Bugle workplace and Aunt May’s modest Queens home, the sensation builds that something is wrong here.

“Frost” opens in late November, and the combo of Morrell’s narrative and Janson’s rich and moody artwork really captures the bleak feeling of an encroaching Northeast winter. The days are darker, the air is colder, snow falls. It’s not the kind of subject matter typically covered in superhero comic books. In fact, there’s a wordless two-page sequence of a winter storm that feels more like something out of a self-published indie than a mainstream hero book.

Colorist Steve Buccellatto provides a nice counterbalance to Janson’s heavy lines and the story’s frigid undercurrents, breathing life into New York and lending naturalistic beauty to scenes of snow. The overall look accomplished by Janson and Buccellatto is strong, grounded in the realism of New York City but with a streak of comic drama. When Parker suits up as Spidey, it channels the best of Romita and Andru.

The reflective tone and deliberate storytelling in “Frost” makes for an interesting first chapter, but comes at the expense of the traditional action beats and banter readers might expect of a Spider-Man issue. Still, with its tight focus on the characters in Peter’s world, and on Peter Parker himself, Amazing Spider-Man 700.1 provides a substantial Spidey tale that resonates.

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