To a lapsed Spider-fan, in the process of catching up with what he missed of Dan Slott's epic 10-year run, Nick Spencer's first issue of the new Amazing Spider-Man was a joy from start to finish.
While bringing a new spin, of course, to the life of Peter Parker he was so respectful of the character's backstory, and respectful of the Spider-Man mythology, so that every time Peter got kicked in the nuts by his infamous 'ol' Parker luck' my winces at his escalating misfortune were mixed with geeky grins.
And, boy, does Parker's luck take a knock in this opening issue, from being saddled with a shady flatmate, major problems with his work and reputation, strains to his relationship with Aunt May and so on.
Spencer's script tells us enough about Peter Parker and Spider-Man that if this were our first issue we'd be totally au fait with what was going on, and if we're an old hand then he just rounds things up and reminds us of some the recent key developments in Parker's life.
Everything grows organically out of Slott's work, acknowledging what happened in those 10 years, and building on it, with a balanced blend of drama and humour.
Not all of Peter's luck is bad though - at least one thing goes in his favour, and it's something I think we've all been hoping for since 2007.
I'll be honest and confess I was slightly apprehensive about Nick Spencer taking over this title as I really didn't like his Secret Empire and the whole 'Captain America is really a Nazi' material the other year, but I needn't have worried.
That was that story (and it shifted comics for Marvel), and this is something completely different (Spider-Man being Spider-Man).
One of the great strengths of Peter Parker - and by extension Spider-Man - is having a central character that attracts misfortune and calamity, often through his own decisions (or indecisions), and Spencer has nailed this aspect of the title's protagonist perfectly.
I'm really excited to see where Spencer takes poor Peter next, how he puts Parker's life through the wringer, and what classic Spider-Man villains (both old and terrifyingly new) will get drawn into the fray.
- As I read far less Marvel these days, I thought the continuation of their "Legacy" numbering (this issue being #802) was a nice touch, albeit in tiny writing under the big number one in the top right-hand corner of the front cover.