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Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1: Coming Home TPB [Paperback]

J. Michael Straczynski
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 17 2001 Amazing Spider-Man (Book 1)
J. Michael Straczynski is a man who has made his mark in many ways whether in the world of science fiction and television with the hit Babylon 5 or in the comic book industry with such books as Rising Stars and Midnight Nation. Now his unique vision comes to the world of Marvel and the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man! Joining Straczynski is a man of equal legend -- John Romita Jr. Regarded by many as the definitive Spider-Man artist of the last decade, Romita's unique pace and superb storytelling perfectly complement Straczynski's vision.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Spider-Man! Jan. 14 2009
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Spider-Man has just moved back to his home town and is drawn to his old high school. There he remembers what it felt like to be picked on and teased all the time but while there he realizes that bullying is on a completely different level than when he was a kid. The school is virtually unsafe. When the science teacher quits Peter Parker takes over the job. One night while laying about on the side of a building he meets a man who has the same powers as he does and he meets Ezekiel for the first time. Ezekiel has come to warn him of the enemy who is coming for him, a vampire like creature who sucks the life energy from superheroes to keep alive.

The beginning chapter inserts bits here and there to briefly bring the reader up to par on how Peter became Spider-man enabling a newcomer or someone who hasn't read the comics for a long time to dig right in with this book. I love the bold reds, blues and purples that pop out at you on every page and the illustrations are intricate making one look deeply into the pictures. The story is typical Spider-man, comedy alongside superhero fighting with an added dash of morality. A gripping story with a cliff-hanger ending which will send me off to find Volume 2.
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By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Here is the deal: J. Michael Straczynski took over as the writer of Volume 2 of "The Amazing Spider-Man" with issue #30 and has been effectively "re-inventing" the character (but in a decidedly different way than what you find being done by Brian Michael Bendis in "The Ultimate Spider-Man," which is more a "re-imaginging"). "Coming Home" reprints issues #30-35 of the title, in which Straczynski come up with a striking new interpretation of the Spider-Man mythos. Clearly, then, the point of this trade paperback volume is to help new readers get on board and if not totally up to speed, at least within shouting distance. Taken together with the follow-up volume, "Revelations," these two books can do the trick.
"Coming Home" suggests that there is great significance to the fact that Spider-Man has been fighting villains like Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, the Lizard, the Scorpion, the Rhino, ad infinitum, all these years. Peter Parker meets Ezekiel, one of those mysterious stranger types who brings havoc to a superheroes life, who suggest that Spider-Man's powers might not be quite as unique as he thought. In other words, the idea that a bite from a radioactive spider would give someone the powers of a spider is a bit far fetched and there is another explanation. To drive the point home Spider-Man has to tackle Morlun, a being who feeds on the power of humans with totemistic powers and apparently the only way to survive the encounter is to hide his powers from his new opponent.
Unlike what Alan Moore did with Swamp Thing, the twist on Spider-Man's origin that Straczynski has come up with does not threaten to unravel the entire Spider-Man mythos.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not ground-breaking, but solid storytelling Feb. 26 2002
This book does demonstrate the wisdom of Marvel continuing with the 'classic' Spider-Man in light of the Ultimate Spider-Man revamp. While Brian Michael Bendis is doing a great job with the teenage Peter Parker learning to be a hero, it's nice to see writers like J. Michael Straczynski work with the older, more experienced Peter, a hero who knows what he's doing and has a higher degree of self-confidence as a result.
Straczynski seems to be trying to shake up the status quo a bit here, with questions about the nature of Spider-Man's powers. Unfortunately a lot of the supposedly dramatic revelations feel like things that we've seen before in superhero comics. It's all solidly crafted, but it's not revolutionary, so the plot doesn't have a lot of edge-of-your-seat suspense. (The epilogue, on the other hand, is a bit of a cliffhanger separate from this book's plot.)
The book is a worthwhile read nonetheless, because Straczynski does a solid job with the characterization and, for the most part, the dialogue. Peter's inner monologue and interactions with villains, allies and bystanders are all entertaining. There's a good balance between light moments and action-adventure. Straczynski seems to be enjoying himself here, and that carries through to the reader.
The art by John Romita, Jr. and Scott Hanna with colors by Dan Kemp and Avalon Studios is solid on both the character moments and the action sequences. Romita is a fine storyteller whose pencils have a distinct style well-suited for an urban hero and his exploits, and the rest of the team complements him perfectly.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fine. But doesn't live up to the hype. Jan. 27 2002
I read this story as it came out, but while some hail this story as excellent and the best Spidey story in years, I was rather underwhelmed.
First, the good things. I did enjoy some scenes (Peter talking to the spider, the destruction of the abandoned building, etc.). Aunt May's characterization is definitely improving under JMS. The first Morlun/Spidey fight scene is a wonder. And JRJR's art is simply excellent (loved the shiny effects they had on the art, too).
However, for the most part, I didn't feel I enjoyed this story as much as I should have. One problem was the continuity errors. Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn didn't go to Peter's high school, for instance. And what was with that line where Spidey said "I've never fought with someone who had the same powers as mine." What about the Spider-Women? Or Venom? Or BEN REILLY? All of them had similar powers. Why did they get ignored?
Also, I didn't really like the school shooting scene. While I don't mind Spider-Man tackling an issue like this, I didn't find it very realistic. A kid sends a spray of bullets at a large crowd of kids and NONE OF THEM get hurt? I didn't buy that.
Nor did I buy into Morlun's menace. I felt that he was hyped far too much within the story. "The first villian to ever tick [Spider-Man] off?" I think when the Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man was a BIT ticked off. "Nobody's ever hit me harder than that." That may be so, but for such a big threat, he went down pretty damn easily.
Speaking of the end, I didn't really like it either. I felt the humorous lines in the end were just way too out of place. The whole "radiation" thing was also pretty tasteless. (I will concede I liked the last page, though, and am looking forward to the new storyline.)
Oh, one last thing. I HATED Ezekiel.
So, all in all, the story was enjoyable, but I felt it misfired on quite a few things. Maybe I'm a cynical fangirl, but I would have liked a bit more.
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