First Impressions: Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1

It’s pretty much a safe bet that if a book features Wolverine and is written by Jason Aaron, I’m going to buy it. I’m also partial to anything with Spider-Man in it so this one was a no brainer for me.

This book is a part of Marvel’s new Astonishing line of comics, the concept of which is a bit tricky to explain. Astonishing will feature Marvel’s big name creators working on their top tier characters in self contained stories in mini-series or one shots. The tricky part is that these stories will still be a part of mainstream Marvel continuity. The stories told in books carrying the Astonishing banner will focus more on the broad strokes of the characters and not get so bogged down in their history or how they currently relate to the rest of the Marvel universe. The goal here is to give new & casual readers something they can easily jump onto and hopefully transition to other books.

In terms of attracting new readers to the mainstream Marvel books, the concept is a lot more solid than that of the Ultimate line, which went to the trouble of establishing an entirely new universe & new characters to avoid the baggage of continuity. The problem there is that if a reader was first introduced to the Ultimate version of a character, they were still entirely unfamiliar with his mainstream Marvel counterpart. The two versions were basically the same, but the details & history were very different. With Astonishing, the characters a new reader finds in these books are exactly the same as the ones they’ll find in other Marvel books if they choose to make the jump. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine features the titular heroes randomly coming across the same bank heist by an utterly ridiculous looking villain calling himself The Orb. Orb wears an Evel Knievel style jumpsuit and a giant eyeball for a head. Seriously. Spidey & Logan easily thwart the heist until the diamonds that the Orb was trying to steal begin glowing green and suddenly transport the pair back to the late Cretaceous period. When the story starts, that’s where they’ve been for a long time. Years, even. Spider-Man is trying to figure out a way back home and has chosen to isolate himself from the rest of the world so as not to affect the timeline. Wolverine assumes they’re never going to get back and has taken up with a small tribe of ape-people, trying to teach them how to brew beer. Since astronomy is pretty much all Spider-Man has to keep himself busy; he’s surmised the the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, what killed the dinosaurs, is due to happen any time now. There’s nothing they can do to stop it, so the heroes sit back and wait for a giant asteroid to wipe them out along with most of the life on the planet. At the moment of impact, everything flashes white and suddenly they’ve been transported back to the present. Only things aren’t quite how they left them…

This is a six issue mini-series, written by Aaron with art by Adam Kubert. I’m definitely on board for the remaining five issues.

One comment

  1. I find it incredible that an entirely new line has been launched simply because Astonishing X-Men could not keep any kind of scheduling pace.

    Astonishing books are tricky in that you have to retroactively place them into continuity rather than seeing it as something currently happening. This allows good stories to be told with the characters, yes, but it also takes out the sense of importance that would come with it. Since the Astonishing books are not fitting in to current continuity, the most impact they can have is retroactive continuity. And hopefully, that will be limited.

    They did kill of Forge, though. That sucked.


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