The italian artist Giuseppe Camuncoli (1975 – ) is the official artist of the Amazing Spider-Man since 2011. He drew over fifteen issues of the series, plus a dozen issues of the Superior Spider-Man. He also designed some covers for Daken : Dark Wolverine (2010-2012). He is now the artist of the relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man, still with Dan Slott as the author.
Peter Parker is the CEO of Parker Industries, which is now worldwide : in Europe, in Asia, in America, Parker Industries are everywhere. Their goal is to make the world a better place, starting with affordable internet access anywhere on Earth thanks to webware, a multifunctional digital watch. This first page of the first issue of this relaunch is an advertising for this piece of technology, designed by Parker Industries. Everyone carries a webware, from Peter Parker to a chinese girl, even Spider-Man himself appears as a guest in this commercial. More than a hero or a vigilante, Spider-Man his the super-face of Parker Industries. Peter can afford someone such as Spider-Man without spending a penny, because he is Spider-Man : it’s a free advertising, but with a major impact at stake. By equating Spider-Man with his webware, Peter made a huge publicity stunt. Moreover, Spider-Man appears like Peter’ friends, but also – and that is new – as his bodyguard. This first page is a regularly composed one, with a majority of close-ups on the faces, before the explosion on the last panel – which is a sort of cliffhanger, even is the answer is on the other side of the page. But we want to know who is responsible, why are they making an explosion, and how is this connected with Parker Industries.
Spider-Man is Peter’s bodyguard, but there is no one and unique Spider-Man anymore. There are two of them : Peter Parker – the original – and Hobie Brown, also known as Prowler. Peter engaged Hobie to be Spider-Man when he wasn’t around, to keep protecting american citizens and confused Spidey’s foes : if Peter Parker is Spider-Man, how can he be in both America and Shanghai ? Hobie is a good Spider-Man’s impersonator, he even adopts his acrobatic poses, like in the central panel. I particularly like the fourth panel, especially the half-Spidey half-Hobie face. His costume shines, like if it was a steel armor or something like this. If it is in fact some kind of armor, then Spider-Man looks more like Iron Man than ever. Peter would be just an other version of Iron Man, but cheaper and nicer ? The logical continuation to this would be for Spider-Man to reveal his true identity as Peter Parker. Is it what Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli are planing to do ?
In the meantime, Peter Parker is still trying to repair the damages caused by Doc. Octopus when he was in his body. For the second time in its history, Marvel presents a gay wedding : after Northstar and Kyle in Astonishing X-Men #51, Max Modell – former employee of Peter Parker at Horizons Lab – and Hector Baez – Max’s lawyer – tie the knot together. Giuseppe Camuncoli’s drawings are perfect to represent such a romantic and touching scene. And he kept the surprise until the last moment : who’s weeding is it ? The first panel shows Peter surrounded by Howie, Uatu, Sajani and an unknown woman. It’s only on the second panel that we learn the identity of the spouses. For a first issue of a relaunch, this is unexpected – in the good way. Nobody would have expected something like that, especially today with the social networks and the huge communication around comic-books release.
Unfortunately for Max and Hector, their moving wedding is crashed by the Zodiac, who’s after Peter technology. The central panel is well-designed. By placing Pisces’s ships in the middle ground, the characters are therefore pushed in the foreground, almost in our own plane. This way the reader is closer to his heroes, like if he was involved in their adventures. Speaking of which, how will Peter be able to change himself as Spider-Man with the crowd surrounding him ? It was without counting Hobie, wo’s already under a table and revealing his Spider-Man’s costume – a little like Clark Kent in Superman would do it. For the first time in years, Peter doesn’t have to disappear and find a lame excuse, he can fully live his life.
As good as he is, Howie would never be a real Spider-Man : he doesn’t have his powers. The following page is one of my favorite in this first issue, for many reasons. First it is pretty funny to see Peter fight next to Spider-Man, like a trainer and his boxer. Unfortunately, the trainer has more reflexes – more powers – than the boxer. Secondly, the fight allows Peter to discredit the possible rumors about his secret identity as Spider-Man. And finally, it’s pretty obvious than Peter misses the fights like this : he wouldn’t be mimicking it if it wasn’t the case. I’m normally not a fan of fighting scenes, but this one I like.
For a first issue, Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli have excelled. The drawings are fantastic, and the story holds a lot of surprises : a second Spider-Man, a wedding, and the return of an old foe in the end. Many questions remain unanswered – how Peter managed to build such a successful business, while on the last page of the last Amazing Spider-Man his building had collapsed ? How the world is after Secret Wars ? Did the heroes remember what happened in Battleworld ? Will they in the future ? I guess we will have to wait the second issue, in store next November, to find out.