Amazing Fantasy #1 is one of the stranger Marvel comic books I have read in quite some time. The series definitely leans upon its title and brings a handful of popular Marvel characters—Captain America, Spider-Man, and Black Widow—into a fantastical setting. The opening issue for a five-issue miniseries doesn't do a whole lot to explain where this series is heading beyond its final moments, which is my biggest critique of it. Still, I'm intrigued by what has been set up here and how writer and artist Kaare Andrews could expand on the ideas he introduces.
Amazing Fantasy centers around Captain America, Black Widow, and Spider-Man finding themselves on a strange island filled with bewildering creatures. The way in which each character gets to this land is a bit different, but once they arrive, they encounter bird people, centaurs, and even a giant lion with wings. This first issue essentially shows readers the initial reaction of each character ending up in this place while also briefly touching on how they arrived in the first place.
What's cool about Amazing Fantasy is that it's not just throwing Cap, Spidey, and Black Widow into this series as readers currently know them. Instead, it is pulling from three distinct eras for each superhero—specifically when each character was younger. Captain America is transported directly from World War II, while Spider-Man is still a teenager doing battle with Green Goblin before plopping into this world. Conversely, Black Widow is still a child in the process of training at the Red Room before being whisked away.
To take this one step further, one of the neatest elements of Amazing Fantasy #1 involves the art direction. Since each of the three main characters in question are coming from different eras of their own respective histories, Andrews uses an art style that is emblematic to each. The Cap section of Amazing Fantasy, for instance, is meant to have an old-school look similar to what was seen in Golden Age comics. In turn, Spider-Man is first introduced with an art style that's modeled after Steve Ditko's work in the earliest days of The Amazing Spider-Man. It's a fun touch that really makes Amazing Fantasy feel as though it is pulling those distinctive versions of these titanic characters from pages we've seen them in before.
In contrast to the art styles that may be more familiar, the actual fantasy setting that serves as the backdrop for this series has a unique look all its own. Between both the cover art for Amazing Fantasy and the artwork inside of the comic, it's clear that Andrews is trying to give Amazing Fantasy some retro flair. This unnamed land resembles something that would have been seen in series such as Land of the Lost. To then throw superheroes into a world like this might seem odd, but it seems to be working thus far. Although there's still not a lot this first chapter of Amazing Fantasy conveys about this mysterious world, it has a distinct vibe and look from the get-go.
There are many things to like about Amazing Fantasy #1. Although the story hasn't sunk its teeth into me just yet, I'm hoping the coming chapters will prove more interesting as we move progress. And if nothing else, the attention to detail from Andrews in carefully crafting an interesting new setting here is worthy of commendation. If you're looking for something associated with Marvel that is still unique compared to everything else available at the current moment, Amazing Fantasy could be just what you're looking for.
Published by Marvel Comics
On July 28, 2021
Written by Kaare Andrews
Art by Kaare Andrews
Colors by Kaare Andrews
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Kaare Andrews