The Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 and 1.2 sounds like a great story in theory: A man is murdered by drug addicts but miraculously returns from the dead. Peter Parker investigates and finds himself falling down a rabbit hole of voodoo and witchcraft that eventually ends inside Communist Cuba. Unfortunately, writer Jose Molina has a tenuous grasp of the character, Dan Slott’s Peter Parker-Wayne-Stark status quo exacerbates the problem, and artist Simone Bianchi draws our hero like he took some hallucinogenic drugs and used Ace Ventura as his inspiration.
“Amazing Grace” is a story that could have been a really cool, dark reprieve from Dan Slott’s typical fare. Unfortunately, the roller coaster of quality goes downhill the moment Peter Parker blurts out “No Christmas crap until Thanksgiving.”
The ride takes a transgender swerve when the curvaceous Dr. Kevin Templeton starts swearing up a storm.
Perhaps the worst part about “Amazing Grace” at its half-way point is Molina’s repeated attempts to cast Peter Parker as a “doubter” of spiritual realities because he is a “man of science” (as if people who love science cannot believe in God or the spirit realm).
At one point in ASM 1.1 Peter says “the Beast” (i.e., Satan) does not exist, which is a slap in the face to fans given his history with Mephisto.
One would think a character who recently died and was resurrected would be a bit more open to the spiritual realm, but not to Molina. Instead, ASM 1.2 ends with “Uncle Ben” appearing before a shocked Peter. The deceased Parker says, “It’s Been a long time.”
Actually, it hasn’t — again, because Peter and his uncle talked when Dan Slott killed off the character in 2012.
One of the few bright spots in “Amazing Grace” is that Molina is not afraid to give Marvel’s liberal editors an education on communism. A professor at a Cuban university tells Peter “the embargo on free speech” under the Castros is something the U.S. cannot lift, and some locals say Cuban health care is only great for those with “money, connections, or a foreign passport.”
Molina has two issues left to bring this story back from the dead. Unfortunately, it’s a good bet that Bianchi’s artwork will keep ASM 1.3 – 1.4 buried.