As a kid one of my favorite series to read was ‘Marvel Team-Up’. In case you’re one of the “young ‘uns” that have no idea what I’m talking about because you’re not an old comic geek like me, MTU was a series that centered around (usually) Spider-Man teaming up with another Marvel hero to take down a bad guy. It was a pure, simple, and fun title. It wasn’t bogged down in Spidey’s mythology (there were the other Spider-Man titles for that). Each issue gave a quick rundown of both Spidey and his partner-of-the-month so that new readers could just pick up an issue and run with it. Sadly, ‘Marvel Team-Up’ ended its 13 year run way back in 1985 (I told you I was old).

Cut to present day 2011 and we’re introduced to the new ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ title. ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ may not be ‘Marvel Team-Up’ exactly but it’s a darn close blood relative. It has the same radioactive spider-blood, so to speak. The new series features Spider-Man as the central character and the web-slinger will be teamed up with one of his Avengers teammates with each new story arc. Hence the title’s “Avenging” tag.

The first issue finds, Spidey paired off with the Red Hulk. After taking down a robot invasion with the Avengers, Red Hulk offers to give Spider-Man a literal ride back to New York. As the heroes are headed back towards the city, a group of moloids (the Mole Man’s cohorts) swarm over the city, disrupting a marathon hosted by none other than the loveable Mayor J. Jonah Jameson. Jameson, naturally, is none to pleased at the subterranean creatures’ incursion to the surface world.

This issue is written by Zeb Wells (‘Venom: Dark Origin’) and illustrated by the incomparable Joe Madureira (‘Uncanny X-Men’). Wells provides us a story that is a perfect fit for this modern incarnation of ‘Marvel Team-Up’. It’s a great action-packed story with some awkward and fun chemistry between Spidey and the Red Hulk.

The art from Joe Madureira is simply stunning. I was never a reader of ‘Uncanny X-men’ or Madureira’s own ‘Battle Chasers’ but I’d heard the artist’s name bandied around comic book circles. With this issue, I can see why. His style is very fluid and seems constantly in motion. His pencils evoke a manga-esque style that works beautifully with the tone of this title.

On their own, Wells and Madureira would be good. But together… they’re great! When I first heard that ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ was going to be similar to ‘Marvel Team-Up’, I approached it with some trepidation, given my love of the original series. This first issue has allayed all of my fears. Wells and Madureira complement each other so well that it’s… uncanny. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, this is a must and you’ve already picked it up anyway. But, for the rest of you who just like a good fun comic read (and I expect that’s most of you), head to your local comic shop and grab a copy of ‘Avenging Spider-Man’. You can thank me later.

Verdict: Buy!

Bonus Giveaway: As you can see from the cover above, ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ #1 comes packaged with a free code for a digital copy of this first issue. Since I’m not a big digital comic reader, I will give my code to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment below and tell me why you love Spider-Man and I’ll pick one of you at random on Saturday, November 12th and give the digital code to you! Just be sure to leave your e-mail address so that you can be contacted if you win.

Written by ZEB WELLS
Art and Cover by JOE MADUREIRA