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Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Marvel

With “Spider-Man: Homecoming” only a couple weeks away from hitting theaters, it was a given that Marvel would put out a new, yet very old-school, Spidey book to draw in new readers. While Dan Slott’s “Amazing Spider-Man” run is still going strong, “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man” is all about getting the character back to basics. And though I’ve read my fair share of Spidey stories over the years and there’s nothing terribly surprising about this book, I’m on board for it as long as it keeps this stellar creative team.

After Peter recounts his origin for the millionth time to his longtime friend Johnny Storm/Human Torch, the issue jumps straight to the action as muggers and super villains flood the streets of New York City. Other Marvel heroes like Ant-Man and Captain America (the Sam Wilson version) show up midway through, all the while the mystery of an encrypted Stark phone begins to unfold. Top all this off with a nice twist at the end of the issue, and Marvel has put together quite an entertaining Spidey book.

As mentioned above, what has me sold me on this comic is its creative team. Chip Zdarsky injects it with plenty of irreverent humor and energy, while still keeping it appropriate enough for younger readers. His script offers smart commentary on how Spider-Man has been rebooted dozens of times over the years, and his ability to let himself and his characters have fun definitely comes across. Not to spoil anything, but the guy manages to incorporate a Tinder joke into an exchange between Peter and Aunt May. Keep in mind that this is the same writer who’s worked on “Howard the Duck” and “Sex Criminals.”

And while the writing is a lot of fun and packed with hilarious dialogue, Adam Kubert’s art is nothing short of spectacular. Using a wide range of exaggerated and explosive panels, it’s amazing how much of Steve Ditko’s influence is apparent here. This is the kind of cinematic and cartoonish aesthetic that fans of the 90s animated series, such as myself, know and love. Combine that with Jordie Bellaire’s wonderfully bright color palette, and this is the Spidey comic that coincides perfectly with Saturday morning cartoons.

Again, if you’re a longtime Spidey reader, this book has more nostalgia than new material. Nevertheless, it’s as fun a comic as anything you’d expect from Zdarsky and Kubert, and as long as both of them stay on it, so will I.

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics