AMAZING FANTASY (2021) #1/ Script and Art by KAARE ANDREWS/ Letters by VC’S JOE SABINO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Take three iconic Marvel heroes and throw them into some wild world inspired by the works of Robert E. Howard and Frank Frazetta. That pretty much sums up the idea behind Marvel Comics’ new Amazing Fantasy series. Unfortunately, it also sums up the entirety of Marvel Comics’ new Amazing Fantasy‘s first issue.
There’s not much plot to this first issue, which finds Captain America circa World War II, Black Widow back when she was still working for the Red Room and Spider-Man when he was a swinging 60’s teenager being thrown into some other world with flying lions and frogmen. Are they in another fantastic world ala Narnia or the Realm of Dungeons and Dragons? Have they gone back to the time of Hyboria, as Conan seems to keep coming back to modern Marvel? Are they dead? Good questions. Presumably they will be addressed at some point.
It would be glib to describe Kaare Andrews’ script as shallow, but while a good deal of effort has clearly been put into capturing the cadence of the characters from differing points in time, the script doesn’t quite capture the aesthetic of the sword-and-sorcery genre. Giving Captain America an axe to go with his shield or having a group of hostile creatures trying to eat Spider-Man does not a fantasy make. There’s little here to distinguish this story from every other time the Avengers got stuck in the Savage Land.
The action is enjoyable and the artwork is suitably gritty, but there’s nothing in this first issue that really qualifies as amazing or fantasy. Genre enthusiasts might enjoy the series once it is collected in a single volume, but there is little here to stir the souls of newcomers and inspire one to deliver a barbaric yawp.