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Brand New Year, apparently: Graeme, Spidey return.

Graeme McMillan

“You missed One More Day!”

This was Hibbs, yesterday, when I went into pick up the books I’ve missed during my three weeks away from everything. And it’s true, I did miss One More Day… or, at least, the end of it, the part that we all knew was coming and still managed to want to read nonetheless. I can’t quite work out if I’m sad about that or not – Having kept track of all the upset, melodrama and gossip that’s spun out of the damn thing, I kind of feel as if I’ve managed to read it after all, as if there was some kind of geek osmosis that gave me One More Day cooties through the internet just by reading about it.

(I also missed the chance to do any kind of “That was 2007, here were my favorite books from the year” thing. If you care, they would’ve included The Homeless Channel, The Professor’s Daughter, Laika, The Salon, Casanova, King City, Darwyn Cooke’s take on The Spirit and others that I can’t remember right now. You probably didn’t miss anything.)

Thing is, no matter how much they screwed up One More Day – and they really did, at least in terms of Marvel PR, which is normally much better than releasing promo images that had nothing to do with the story or having creators argue with each other through competing websites – none of it really matters to Brand New Day. It’s a relaunch to the franchise, after all, and no matter how much continuity may be completely fucked, if the first issue of Brand New Day’s brand new status quo was good enough, all would more likely be forgiven.

Here’s the thing, though. While AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546 may be one of the best Spider-Man stories that Marvel has put out in awhile, that’s pretty much just because of the context of at least a year’s worth of shitty stories preceding it. Taken on its own merits, it’s just Okay.

A lot of this really comes down to the presentation; considering the writing in this issue – and the idea of the revamp in general – is so retro, using Steve McNiven’s pretty-but-sterile-and-static artwork and that particular font for Peter’s narration seems out of place and a little against the grain. There are some nice images, sure, but McNiven’s stuff is weirdly lifeless to me and, maybe more importantly for a Spider-Man book, weirdly humorless as well. Don’t get me onto why I dislike the lettering so much, because I doubt I could explain, beyond the fact that it’s such an impersonal typeface, and I’m sure that Spider-Man’s narration should at least pretend to be handwritten, so as to appear both more friendly and more neighborhoody. Yes, I’m complaining about the lettering on a book. I am a nerd.

Storywise, it’s… It’s fine. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before – Even the cliffhanger is familiar – even if it’s something that we haven’t seen for awhile. It’s perfectly okay, but there’s nothing in it to excite you if you haven’t been sitting around wanting it to be 1976 in the Spiderverse again. Dan Slott’s script is servicable enough, especially considering the amount of world-building he’s had to do, but still, there are questions that the book itself raises, outside of One More Day, that niggle; Why did Peter stop being Spider-Man, for one thing? It can’t have been anything major, because in the middle of the issue he’s all ready to put on the outfit again but stops for a pretty petty reason… The dialogue fits well enough, but that’s kind of the problem: Everything is “good enough” instead of actually “good”. Where’s the excitement, or the humor, or the anything to try and win fans over?

I’ll pick up the next issue, out of curiosity and because I kind of like weekly books in general, but so far, you’d be better off picking up an Essentials collection and getting more of the same thrills for your money.

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