Avenging Spider-Man has been in an identity crisis the last couple of issues. It started out as a team up book, and was an old fashioned good time. But suddenly it became a book about helping other books. This month, it’s helping the soon to be launched Captain Marvel book. #8 helped out “Ends of the Earth,” and was a terrible issue. But #9 gets it right, and is a great issue.
Kelly Sue DeConnick (the writer of Captain Marvel) writes this issue, and she writes it perfectly. The reader gets an understanding of how she is going to write Carol Danvers, and why we will want to read her book. Carol is a strong person, who isn’t afraid to think instead of punch. She has always been like this, but somehow this got lost in Brian Reed’s ongoing. Maybe it had to due with the Dark Reign storyline and Moonstone taking over. But DeConnick seems to be embracing this, and going even further with it. Carol seems to be a person who, instead of trying to find what she is best at, is just going along for the ride that is life. She seems more optimistic and in command of her life. Long time fans of Carol Danvers will love the way DeConnick writes her.
The story itself is interesting. It revolves around an “Occupy Wall St.” protester (or something along those lines) stealing money. The interaction between Spider-Man and Danvers is hysterical, and shows how well these characters work together. DeConnick has said these two won’t be getting back together, so don’t look for that in the new book. Spider-Man is funny, but never self referential. Robyn Hood seems more of a plot point than an actual villain, but DeConnick makes the most of her. She puts a “y” in Robyn Hood, because there is no “y” in “freedom.” Yeah, it’s that cheesy. But the controversial topic about budget cuts and things like that are handled well. DeConnick ups the ante by the end of the issue, which is good considering readers will want more of this team by the end of the issue. Boston is used heavily, but not used as well as it could have been. Not a big deal, but something someone like me, who is from Boston, looks for.
The Dodsons, Terry and Rachel, pencil a great issue. Their work on Defenders was good, but it seemed rushed in some spots. Avenging Spider-Man #9 doesn’t seem rushed, and one of their better issues in the past year. Carol’s new costume looks great, and doesn’t seem cheesy (which it does in some of the promotional materials). The Dodsons have always penciled Spider-Man well, and that continues here. Every character, even when they are only specks on the panel, have great expressions that grasp the reader. There is a double page spread that doesn’t move, but is broken up into smaller panels. It gives the page a sense of movement, and the Dodsons pull it off in a great way. The Dodsons seems to be a team who needs plenty of time to pencil an issue. With Marvel NOW! starting up in a few months, maybe one of those books could be bimonthly, which would give them plenty of time to pencil each issue.
Avenging Spider-Man is a book that needs to have a constant creative team. I long for the days when Zeb Wells wrote this book. The team up genre is one that can be fun, but constantly changing up the creative team is going to create a sense of unevenness. Unless Zeb Wells is going to be on one of the Marvel NOW! books, I’d really love for him to come back. He is one of the best Spider-Man writers right now, and deserves to be writing the character more regularly.
Avenging Spider-Man #9 gets 4/5.