Whatever a Spider-Can’s Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl #1.1 review


Amazing Spider-Man #1 was my first foray into the comic-book world and Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl is my first time delving into the world of supplement mini-series. I was convinced to read Learning to Crawl when I heard there’d be a new villain in it ages ago, but the small introduction in Amazing Spider-Man #1 helped convince me that it’d be worthwhile. But how was it?

Well first of all for a new comic-book reader like myself it was nice to read something pertaining to the start of Spider-Man. I mean it’s not like I’m ever likely to get my hands on a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 as it’s a little bit pricey this day and age. With that in mind it’s entirely possible that Learning to Crawl is my only chance to see the beginning of Spider-Man in a comic-book and actually read it for myself. Consequently I really enjoyed the first few pages showing Peter Parker coming to the realisation that he needs to be a better person and that with great power comes great responsibility. It was somewhat calming to me that the issue started with character development and an understated yet dramatic and emotional internal monologue of Peter Parker displaying his knowledge that he needs to develop responsibility spurred on by the death of his uncle

So in the present day (relative to the comic book of course)He’s still doing television show appearances, but instead of enjoying them, and enjoying the spotlight they are now nothing more than a source of income so that he can support himself and Aunt May financially. We are seeing the start of Peter’s transition from the person he was before Uncle Ben’s death to the selfless endearing hero we know him as now. The panel where he violently accosts his agent for suggesting he makes money out of fighting crimes is a good example, the sentiment is right but Parker’s actual behaviour is still rash and ill-thought-out.

This is also where Clayton Cole comes in, not only is he an interesting character that mirrors Peter in his own right sharing the same technical intellect and prodigious achievement., he is also enamoured and borderline obsessed with Spider-Man, who he sees as a personal hero. I really like the development of Cole’s character, even through subtle things. In the Amazing Spider-Man #1 there was a Learning to Crawl preview that showed Clayton’s room being full of random posters, there was most notably one of wrestling legend the Rock. However in this issue Clayton’s bedroom walls are dedicated solely to Spider-Man. It’s a little thing but it really helps display Peter’s influence as Spider-Man and Cole’s development as a character.

Clayton Cole is clever enough to emulate Spider-Man, he’s working on a sonic pulse generator for a science fair, but is also apparently going to use that technology to become like Spider-Man, complete with his own white and purple costume and home-made wrist mounted weapon. However whilst Peter has that defining tragic moment in his life steering the way for him now, Clayton doesn’t. Clayton hasn’t learnt that his actions may have consequences so whatever he does is likely to end badly, especially as it isn’t clear if he’s going to fight crime or make television appearances and show-off.

Dan Slott is writing a great story about how responsibility stretches much futher than you would think it does, and how as J. Jonah Jameson accurately sums up in the final panel of the issue starkly warning that it’s only a matter of time before some young kid tries to do whatever a spider can. Of course he’s unaware of just how right he is as his words are cleverly juxtaposed over Clayton fully revealing himself as the rather stylish looking Clash. I get the feeling that it won’t be long until Jameson smugly knows he was right and Peter rightly feels responsible for what happens to Clayton.

Whilst Uncle Ben might have been the defining moment in Peter Parker’s transformation to selfless hero, completely aware of the responsibility that he carries, I feel that Clayton Cole/Clash’s story-arc will serve as another stark and poignant lesson to our hero once this mini-series is up.  Think of it as confirmation that with great power comes great responsibility. If I had to call it now, Peter realises his involvement in Clash’s origins and tries to do the right thing, however Clayton will die and Peter will feel responsible about it, cementing the lesson he learnt from his uncle, but we’ll wait and see!

Click here for the Learning to Crawl #1.2 preview, which features Clash in action for the first time as he tries to take on the Vulture, also Spider-Man finds himself facing the Fantastic Four.  Also here’s the Learning to Crawl #1.1 recap. And here’s the Amazing Spider-Man #1 recap and review.

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