I didn’t realise that the latest issue of Marvel Action: Spider-Man would be the start of a new volume, and was a little surprised by this as the series had only really just begun, and it didn’t feel like it was a time for a relaunch. Luckily, this new series seems to carry straight on from the last issue without any big changes, being more of a normal continuation than the start of something new.
The fact that there were no big, drastic changes to the status quo of the book with this new volume was a relief, as I’d say this is easily the best title in the Marvel Action catalogue and I don’t want to see that quality decrease. Another worry was that the writer for the first volume, Delilah S. Dawson, has been replaced with Brandon Easton. I’d not read anything by Easton, though I had seen his episode of Agent Carter, but quickly found him to be a great fit for the series.
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Easton has managed to carry across a lot of what made the previous volume of the series so good, namely the personal relationships between the lead characters. The fun and friendly banter is back, with the trio teasing each other whilst in the middle of combat, as well as some good character development outside of their costumed identities, as we get to see the three of them obsess over science issues and their struggles with them.
This issue also introduced readers to the Marvel Action version of Shocker, the iconic Spider-Man villain. I have to say, I really like the new look for Shocker that Easton and artist Fico Ossio have put together. He’s instantly recognisable as the villain, with an updated version of his classic ‘quilted’ look. I also love the small electrical bolt symbol on his belt buckle as a nice little piece of attention grabbing detail in the middle of his suit.
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What immediately jumped out about this new design, however, is that his mask looks very similar to Iron-Man. The fact that he’s stealing tech from Stark Industries means that this might not be a coincidence either. I’m half expecting the character to have an origin that connects in with Tony Stark in some way, similar to the recent Spider-Man movie villains, but hope that he’ll stand on his own as a Spidey villain rather than feeling like some kind of Iron-Man reject. The issue has presented a possible identity for the villain, but I’m not sure if perhaps I’m just suspicious of any new character introduced into the story. I’m eager to find out if this is just a big red herring or not.
Marvel Action Spider-Man has been the best book in the series, and thanks to this issue upholding the standards it’s already delivered I can say with confidence that this hasn’t changed. It might have a new numbering and a new creative team behind the wheel, but it still feels like the same title that I’ve loved since it began. I can’t wait to see with Brandon Easton does next.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #2.1 is out now from IDW Publishing.