Marvel’s modern spin on the classic ‘Marvel Team-Up’ title continues the pairing between Spider-Man and the Red Hulk. When last we saw the unlikely Avengers pair in ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ #1, they were trapped beneath New York City. More precisely, they were trapped in the belly of a giant ground worm.

After a huge army of moloids invaded the surface world and kidnapped Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man and Red Hulk travelled beneath the city to save the day. After discovering Mole Man and his army of Moloids, Spidey and Rulk meet the new ruler of the underground city of Subterranea, a colossal beast of a creature that leaves Mole Man cowering. Mole Man’s subjects, the Moloids, in an attempt to regain control of their kingdom went to the surface to find the ruler of the overworld to help them against this new foe. That’s why they kidnapped Jameson.

In a misunderstanding caused in part by the language barrier, an angry J. Jonah Jameson, refuses to cower before the new Subterranea king. This leads the king to believe that Jonah is challenging him for rulership of Subterranea and a duel is called. After escaping the ground worm, Spider-Man and Red Hulk finally make it to Jameson… but will they be in time to save Jonah from his own big mouth?

Writer Zeb Wells gives us exactly what we need from ‘Avenging Spider-Man’. Namely, an over-the-top team up tale featuring Spider-Man. It’s a pure fun and goofy action tale that doesn’t tie in too deeply with the rest of the Marvel continuity. It makes for a fun title for new and casual readers who want a good tale but don’t want to have to Wikipedia every character to figure out what’s going on. It also allows readers like myself, who read Spider-Man but not a lot of other Marvel books, to get to know some of the other Avengers characters.

Joe Madureira’s artwork has a brilliant kinetic style that is a great fit for Wells’ action-packed story. Madureira’s pencils are made even more beautiful by the great coloring job from Ferran Daniel. Of note is that Madureira’s art here is just colors on top of pencils. There’s no inker. It makes for a more visceral imagery than it would otherwise. Sadly, Madureira is leaving the title after issue #3 as artist Greg Land steps in for a Spider-Man/Hawkeye team-up.

Verdict: Buy

Bonus Giveaway: Since I’m still not a big reader of digital comics and ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ gives away a free digital download code with each issue, I’m giving mine away. For your chance to win a free digital download of ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ #2, just comment on this review with the answer to the question: “Why do I love Spider-Man?” I’ll pick a random person from the entries on Wednesday, December 14th and send that person the code. Just be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment so I know where to send it if you win.

Written by ZEB WELLS