Hey there, fellow Marvel comic reader? Do you need another refresher/retelling of Spider-Man’s origin?

Do you want another refresher/retelling of Spider-Man’s origin?

Well too bad, because it’s happening. Just be glad they (probably) aren’t going to rehash Peter Parker’s first days as superhero in the movie coming out this summer. Also, this one’s written by Cullen Bunn, who is generally awesome, so it can’t be too bad…

…right?

Spider-Man: Amazing Origins
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Neil Edwards
Publisher: Marvel Comics


The Plot

Seriously? Are we really going to do this?

Okay, look—it’s the same basic story we’ve seen multiple times across every medium: Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider, starts acting like a douche, and becomes indirectly involved in his beloved Uncle Ben’s death.

Guilt and lifelong dedication to being a superhero ensue.

What Works

Take the classic narrative, then add a somewhat fun story involving the Vulture, a smart news media angle, and a few modern mentions (like kids using Twitter and complaining about their data plans). Cook on high for 45 minutes and you’ve got another Spider-Man origin story ready to go.

Also, the art by Neil Edwards is nice. Nothing too avant-garde for the new readers, but not too cartoony for the crusty old folks like me.

What Doesn’t

A lot.

For starters, I couldn’t tell what audience Cullen Bunn was writing this for. That’s not always a bad thing, but in this case, it felt like he couldn’t decide whether this was for kids just enjoying the ride or readers looking for an in depth retelling of one of comics’ most classic and well-known tales. It is possible to do both (like Ultimate Spider-Man did almost two decades ago), but in most cases, you’re better off sticking to one side of the narrative fence.

The moments with Peter, Ben, and May, for example, are heartfelt and a joy to read. And the story angle featuring J. Jonah Jameson manipulating the media beyond just yelling ‘HE’S A MENACE!’ is actually pretty inspired.

But then you have stuff like the Vulture—and old man in green tights who flies—somehow managing to keep a low profile from both law enforcement and the city at large.

The script vacillates between Bunn’s usual knack for natural conversation and clichéd/stilted dialogue, especially when it involves the teenagers. There’s also a large amount of old school narration-through-exposition, which is to be expected in a book like this, but it was still way too much.

The Verdict

Is this the worst Spider-Man origin story retelling? No way. This one doesn’t even get to the top step of the basement on that list.

But is it good? Not really. It’s a decent read, but not different, in depth, or even fun enough to make it stand out.

Spider-Man: Amazing Origins
Is it good?
A decent read, but not different, in depth, or even fun enough to make it stand out from all the other Spider-Man origin retellings we've seen over the years.
The art by Neil Edwards is nice. Nothing too avant-garde for the new readers, but not too cartoony for the crusty old folks like me.
The moments with Peter, Ben, and May are heartfelt and a joy to read.
The story angle featuring J. Jonah Jameson manipulating the media beyond just yelling ‘HE’S A MENACE!’ is actually pretty inspired.
But then you have stuff like the Vulture—and old man in green tights who flies—somehow managing to keep a low profile from both law enforcement and the city at large.
The script vacillates between Bunn’s usual knack for natural conversation and clichéd/stilted dialogue, especially when it involves the teenagers.
There’s also a large amount of old school narration-through-exposition, which is to be expected in a book like this, but it was still way too much.
4
Meh