The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on October 23, 2019

Writers: Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan, Nick Spencer, Kelly Thompson, Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, Jason Aaron
Pencilers: Chris Bachalo, Greg Smallwood, Michael Allread, Valerio Schiti, Chris Sprouse, Rachael Stott, Cameron Stewart, Mark Bagley
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Greg Smallwood, Michael Allred, Valerio Schiti, Karl Story, Rachael Stott, Cameron Stewart, Johgn Dell
Color Artists: Chris Bachalo, Greg Smallwood, Laura Allred, Mattia Lacono, Dave McCaig, Triona Farrell, Nathan Fairbairn, Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Where to begin? First off, what is Full Circle? It is a collaboration between seven of Marvels best writers, each working with a different creative team, doing a massively oversized round-robin style one shot. This is a huge project, an experiment in story telling, something unique in the world of comics as far as I know. Each creative team takes 10 pages each and try to leave their chapter on an even crazier cliff-hanger than the last.

I mean just look above at the list of talent. Wow. 88 pages of an All-Star team of Marvels finest. That should be enough to make you pick up a copy.

And does it work? Yeah, for the most part. The final solution left me scratching my head a little. After the story there is a behind the scenes look at the writers figuring out the conclusion, it took reading that plus a second read before I had a good grasp on what had happened. Things get a lot more convoluted than they would in any normal story, and you know the writers must have really struggled to wrap all the plot points up. But they’ve managed it.

What’s clear is everyone involved is having a fantastic time, right up until the final chapter anyway when there is a mad scramble to try and make some sense out of everything they’ve done. So each creative team tries to solve a problem the previous team have introduced, before introducing their own. It’s bonkers. But that’s also kind of the point.

There is some great Spidey humour in there, and there is a reference to Nick Fury’s howling commandos which made me laugh out loud. There is another stand out line which is a variation on a famous line from Terminator. You’ll know it when you see it.

Another thing I like about this round-robin style is it introduces writers and artists that you might not otherwise come across and persuade you to give their work a look at. Never a bad thing to be introduced to something new. Especially when they are some of the most prominent creators in comics today.

Throughout the comic there are references to Peter’s guilt over his Uncle Bens death, still as strong as ever, and part of what makes Spider-Man who he is. This theme is carried on by each subsequent creative team and manages to make the whole comic feel planned rather than thrown together, and this theme actually plays a major role in the conclusion of the comic and the moral of the story.

Jonathan Hickman has the rather enviable job of the first chapter. He puts as many problems in there for the rest of the team to solve, without having to worry about resolving any of them. The setup is fairly standard stuff. A.I.M. have developed a new super weapon, Spider-Man has been sent to investigate alongside S.H.I.E.L.D., nothing too outlandish here. But Hickman keeps introducing new mysteries, every time we think we know what’s going on he throws something new in there to keep us on our toes. I couldn’t help but feel every time he threw a new mystery in he would have a little chuckle to himself as he wondered how everyone after him would resolve these unknowns.

Then Gerry Duggan takes over the reins and turns the insanity up to 11. And just when you think it can’t get any more bizarre in comes the next team and somehow manages it.
One thing I feel I should note is that the artwork flows quite well. I expected it to be quite disjointed as each new artist took over but it’s really not. As long as you’re paying attention it’s pretty obvious when a new creative team takes over, but it’s not jarring either. All in all it’s really well done. It reminds me a little of novels being published serially à la Charles Dickens, but this is the collected version.

So who’s this comic for? This is very much a stand alone story, fans of The Amazing Spider-Man don’t need to read this to stay within continuity. But should they? Yes. Do I need to repeat myself about the fantastic list of talent involved? It’s nuts. Entertaining from the first page to the last though. And by not being part of the current run by Nick Spencer it means casual Spider-Man fans can pick this up and enjoy it without worrying they won’t know what’s going on. Well, on first read no-one will have any idea what’s going on, but that’s kind of the point.

Does it justify the asking price? I’d say undoubtably. It’s massive for starters, practically a graphic novel, really good fun, and an absolute classic Spidey tale. Plus, I may have already mentioned this, but look at the talent involved.

If nothing else you owe it to yourself to see what happens when a team of Marvels finest get together. An experiment in story-telling it’s a real treat from cover to cover.

Our Score:


A Look Inside