Avenging Spider-Man just keeps getting it right. While Marvel bogs itself down with another event series, this book allows us a little breathing room. These are adventure stories, the kind of tales we all started reading comics for. Smartly written, well drawn and consisting of superheroes doing superhero work without the fate of the entire world in the balance. Here, we have Spider-Man teaming up with the new Captain Marvel. It’s a bit weird because Captain Marvel #1 doesn’t come out until next week, but hey, it’s comic books.
Peter Parker is going to visit Aunt May in Boston. He’s hitching a ride with Carol Danvers, who is the new Captain Marvel. Soaring high above the city in Carol’s clunky plane, Parker and Danvers engage in some lively chitchat until a young girl with a jet pack nearly collides with them. Changing into his Spider-Man togs, Peter Parker does a bit of wing-walking in order to catch the out of control maiden. Once he does, the missiles start flying from a subcontracted enforcer working for the police and decked out in state of the art military robotic suit.
Spidey manages to swing to safety from the plane and Danvers lands just in time to confront the testosterone genius in the robot suit. There are fisticuffs and barbs thrown back and forth. Then the jet pack girl gets shot with a missile. Time for the sadness right? Time for Spidey to launch into a “Nobody dies” speech correct? Actually no, instead, jet-pack-girl grows three times her size and the whole situation escalates. That’s where Avenging Spider-Man # 9 leaves us.
Across the board, Avenging Spider-Man works because of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing. Having never scripted a book for him, it’s amazing how well she knows Spider-Man. The conversation between Peter and Carol is spot on as is DeConnick’s ability to nail Spidey’s humor. The jetpack girl is enormously entertaining as she tries to figure out her superhero name while making these bizarre “power to the people” statements. DeConnick also does a great job with Captain Marvel. I’m hoping the actual first issue will handle the character as beautifully as DeConnick has. Ironically, she’s married to Matt Fraction, who I have endless problems with as a storyteller. Perhaps DeConnick’s easy flow will rub off on her husband.
The art from Terry Dodson uses a really broad style. There are few detailed backgrounds and everything comes with thick lines and an equal blend of shadowing and color. It makes each panel very bold and Dodson likes to use panel flow, as opposed to just the pencils, to give the story it’s action. Nothing going on in Avenging Spider-Man #9 is mind bending but it helps tell the story and keeps you involved visually. Dodson has a few perspective issues from time to time but overall I like what he does with this book.
Avenging Spider-Man continues to be a shining gem in Marvel’s crown. A book that remembers when comic books were just about having fun.