Comic companies have always suffered a few drawbacks with the writing of characters, keeping them a certain age, as well as keeping classic heroes relevant. An extreme approach to this problem is going about it the DC way. Namely, completely rebooting every character in your comic universe with a brand new comic universe.
Another way they manage to do this is by revamping that hero’s origin every few years. This way, you can add minor details and continue to modernize a classic hero. Dan Slott does JUST THIS in the new Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl series. We are shown the early days of Spider-man, and how Peter struggles between school, his responsibilities as Spider-man, and raising money to help support himself and his Aunt. All of this, and MUCH more, in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #1.2!
Throughout Spider-Man’s early days, he was plagued with endless money troubles, romantic issues, and a fair share of HORRIBLE press from J. Jonah Jameson. Something that was usually glanced over in his early days, was the fact that Peter was still in High School, and had many responsibilities. On top of this, now we discover that Spidey also had to deal with some very overly enthusiastic fans.
A teenage genius rivaling the intellect of our own Peter Parker is completely enamored by the Web Slinger. Inspired by Spidey’s showy costume, and his amazing feats, he creates a costume of his own, as well as wrist mounted resonators. He becomes the super showboat known as CLASH. However, as Clash attempts to get recognized, Spidey is busy being rejected by the entire city.
In between his original clash with the Fantastic Four, and being labeled as a menace by J. Jonah Jameson, Peter Parker is forced to attend sessions with the school counselor. However, after noticing Peter’s black eye from his fight with the Thing, the counselor assumes Peter is being harassed by the illustrious school bully Flash Thompson, thus relighting their famous rivalry which subsided after the death of Peter’s uncle.
This could not have come at a worse time, as Peter’s life was about to get even worse. The Chameleon makes his first appearance and brings the press down even harder on Peter, blaming Spider-Man for the crimes committed by the Chameleon disguised as him. So having to deal with a school yard bully is far from conducive to his situation.
However, everything comes to a boil when Peter is contacted by Spider-Man’s agent with a new job for him. Something which has become QUITE rare since Jonah’s slanderous campaign against him began. It appears that Clash has had enough with waiting to get in the spotlight, and instead decides to call out Spidey for a one on one match!
The pair spar across the rooftops of the upper west side for some time before Clash decides to turn up the power on his resonators. With a single blast of sonic vibrations, Clash manages to demolish a smokestack, almost burrying Spidey underneath it. Peter then decides he doesn’t need to deal with this and cuts the fight short, webbing up Clash in a cocoon, leaving him there for the webbing to dissolve, and taking his money and running.
This book does a good job of truly showing off the inner turmoil and frustrations that came with the job of being Spider-man. Between needing to support his aunt, and cracking under the pressure of school and super-heroing, its amazing to see that Spidey manages to pull himself together at all.
The artwork is gloriously classical and rough, like the old days of Marvel comics, and should do well to give long time readers a sense of nostalgia for the days of Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby.
-The artwork is rough but retro in its look
-Classic High School Spider-Man is always a fun thing to revisit
-Clash is shaping up to be an interesting villain/foil to Spider-man
-Modernizing Spidey’s origins, even slightly is something I haven’t seen done in the 616 comics.
-A significant lack of Gwen Stacey