Spider-Man: Big Time

A new artist on an entire story arc of Spider-Man, in one hardcover package. Spider-Man: Big Time Premiere hardcover collects Amazing Spider-Man 648-651 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

Spider Man Big Time Cover

Big changes are happening for the Amazing Spider-Man: Bigger threats, bigger guest-stars, and a big opportunity that could turn Peter Parker’s life around! Which cast members are staying and who’s saying goodbye. Find out as we’re introduced to new characters and reintroduced to a number of Spidey villains as they make the triumphant return to the book! Plus: New developments for Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, the staff at Front Line, and The Sinister Six!

I like Spider-Man: he’s a great character and has an enduring quality.  After his reboot a few years ago we’re back with a single Peter Parker living on a shoestring budget working for a paper.  This story arc brings Peter to a new low and high.  First he loses his apartment and ends up begging for a spot with every friend he has until landing at Aunt May’s door.  Things look up in a new job at Horizon, a mash-up of Microsoft, Apple and IBM; basically Massive Dynamics from Fringe.  He’s rolling in dough and works at a place where he can express all his technical ideas and inventions into reality, along with cool new toys and a great place to hide his Spider-Man life.  Other character and story building items develop with the newspaper, Jameson and our extra-large supporting character cast.  A new Hobgoblin arises and lots of violence and action ensues.

A real focus on character development and dialog from Slott: it plays well and gets the reader involved.  No real prior knowledge of the existing Spider-Man story is required so this is a great point to jump in.

Humberto Ramos has a very unique art style and it creates a love ‘em or leave ‘em attitude: lots of hard lines, jagged angles and kinked hair.  It’s bold and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Edgar Delgado provided vibrant colouring throughout that gave every page a strong punch.

The book ends with two backup explanatory stories that didn’t fit anywhere visually.  They were much weaker than the main story and I’m not sure what they added.  For extras we’re provided some variant covers and two character designs from Ramos.

At 144 pages for $20, we’re looking at a standard price point from Marvel and DC: it’s in the slightly oversized Premiere hardcover format and contains a highly entertaining storyline.  I’d love to provide a link to the Marvel website for this volume but I can’t locate it; a continuing issue previously groused.

Spider-Man: Big Time
Marvel, 2011, ISBN 978-0785146230