The Amazing Spider-Man is approaching #900 in its legacy numbering, which is enough to educate even the least informed passerby that delivering a new take on Spider-Man is no easy feat. However, that's exactly what artist Patrick Gleason, writer Zeb Wells, and other members of the new "writers room" set out to do beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man #75—a new jumping-on point as the series goes to thrice monthly publication. The debut delivers a comfortable tone for fans of comics and movies alike while introducing a new wrinkle to Peter Parker's already complicated life in one of the best looking Spidey magazines published this year.
Two thoughts for the uninitiated: The Amazing Spider-Man #75 is a remarkably effective starting point for those curious to try the webslinger's periodical. Rather than ignoring six decades of lore, it addresses only the immediately relevant points and provides sufficient context in dialogue. Given how the weight of continuity hung around the series neck like an albatross for the past several years, it's noteworthy how Wells and his collaborators make the most of this fresh start. It also leads with a number of sequences that will read comfortably to those only familiar with Spider-Man from outside media. Parker's pun-tastic humor, an appreciation for the New York City skyline, and bombastic battles are all evidenced and make a case for this being the essential Spider-Man series.
That's important because the second point is that Spider-Man isn't only Peter Parker at the moment. The Amazing Spider-Man #75 reintroduces his clone Ben Reilly in a new suit with backing from the Beyond Corporation and sets the stage for Reilly to be the only Spider-Man (for at least a couple months of comics). This isn't an issue for an introduction like this because Wells and Gleason develop parallel narratives for the pair that accentuate their similarities, even mirroring outside focal points in their lives. Doubling the Spider-Man on the page pays dividends in this shared adventure, even if a lack of distinction between their face masks makes some dialogue difficult to parse.
While this makes the issue an easy pickup for returning or new readers, it's familiar terrain without much added for those already invested. After The Amazing Spider-Man #74 did its best to sweep the decks for a clean start, The Amazing Spider-Man #75 reads like an introduction without a thesis. It verifies that this creative team can deliver the humor and the city, and that they grasp the essentials of pacing and subplots in superhero comics. It's all important stuff and a clear signal that the series is in the hands of polished writers. However, shouting "we are very competent" is unlikely to inspire much passion for the series' revamp either.
What is likely to attract some passionate fan letters is Gleason's presentation of The Amazing Spider-Man—delivering the best looking issue of this flagship series so far in 2021. Working with colorist Marcio Menyz, Gleason showcases a diverse storytelling skillset. There are a number of splashes that aim for "wow" factor, including a touch of horror, somber reflection, and of course multiple action shots—with one perfectly executed web-swinging spread. It's the balancing act conducted in dialogue-driven sequences and more densely-packed action sequences that impress me most, though. These are the pages that manage the issue's excellent pacing and create space for it to cover so much ground in setting up this new era. A busy discussion with Ben Reilly and overcharged showdown featuring 2 Spider-Man and 4 U-Foe both presage great potential as this narrative develops.
Menyz provides a unique touch to Gleason's artwork adding additional depth to his already expressive characters. The lighting choices made throughout the issue recalls the powerful recent work by the Dodsons in Adventureman—a comparison intended as a compliment to all parties involved.
The Amazing Spider-Man #75 functions as proof of concept and editors at Marvel Comics should be delighted. The issue delivers everything readers typically expect from a Spider-Man comic, and it does so with some originality and flair. If nothing else, it provides readers a gorgeous story to read. While this first issue fails to bury a hook for the many approaching issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, the potential displayed by the series collective creators is sufficient to hope it appears next week.
Published by Marvel Comics
On October 6, 2021
Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Patrick Gleason
Colors by Marcio Menyz
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Arthur Adams and Alejandro Sánchez