By Dan Slott, Ramon Perez & Ian Herring
This Spider-Man Year One arc has had its ups and downs. It started out very strong, only to take a turn for the worst. Slott has been known for extreme inconsistency, so that’s to be expected. However, the last issue gave us a little bit of hope that Learning To Crawl could end strong. So how did things turn out?
Well the last issue is a mixed bag. There are parts that work very well and a few parts that will make you want to tear your hair out. As far as the strong points are concerned, the dialogue has been considerably cleaned up. The entire issue flows nicely, so even when things go stupid, at least it’s not a chore. There’s a particular heartwarming scene where Aunt May and Peter Parker share a tender conversation. Aunt May hasn’t had a chance to truly shine as a character in a long time, so this was a real treat.
Now it’s time for the bad. Well, Slott tries his best to subtly sneak in changes to Spidey lore, but it falls flat on its face. Slott tries to give an origin to Spidey’s attitude and humorous quips while fighting crime. While it’s not the worst explanation, it spits in the face of what makes Peter so great, not to mention it stinks of trying too hard to leave a mark on a superstar property. We probably shouldn’t even discuss the arc’s villain. Wow. What a lame way to leave a sinfully boring character.
Thankfully, the art in the finale looks pretty great. Once again, Perez rides the line between current and silver age to leave us with a style that works for fans of both the old and new. It also helps when Ian Herring does such a bang up job on colors. The last page is a two-page splash is a gift to any Spidey fan worth his salt.
Even though there’s plenty to drive you mad, the story ends on a higher note than expected. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky. This could have been much worse.