Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.
Warning: minor spoilers.
“… You’ll find what you need” – Aunt May
Marvel have released a new series of Spider-Man written by J. J. Abrams and his son and it came out today. I was curious to see what kind of spin they put on the character and what new telling of the Spider-Man story they could manage. This first issue goes in big and early to really shake up the Spider-Man formula. There is a major character death early on in the issue (bail out now if you’d rather not know who) and a significant time skip to show a very different Spider-Man to the one we know and love.
- Writer – J.J. Abrams and Henry Abrams
- Artist – Sara Pichelli
- Ink Artist – Elisabetta D’Amico
- Colour Artist – Dave Stewart
- Letterer – VC’s Joe Caramagna
Spoilers from here on! The issue begins with a new foe – Cadaverous – and Spidey duking it out. During the battle however, Mary Jane is brutally murdered by this new villain. Peter is traumatised by the events and twelve years in the future he is a distant father to his son Ben. Ben lives with May and struggles to stay out of trouble in school. He fights, he wins, and he protects the weaker kids a lot like a certain hero. I have read, watched and played more than my fair share of Spider-Man media in my time and this is the first time I have seen such a pessimistic variant of Peter Parker. I’ve seen him met with mixed reviews online, though to me as this has a very ‘alternate universe’ or ‘what if?’ feeling to me I would like to see where they go with the character. The arc they are setting up is for Ben to pick up the mantle and Peter to be dragged back into the crime fighting lifestyle and rebuild his relationship with his son. Whether or not this happens I’ll be sure to find out.
Pichelli’s art excels at set piece character conversations where emotion and detail is clearly communicated through expression and body language. On the other side however while the combat set pieces are aesthetically very impressive, this certainly felt like of the least dynamic/acrobatic Spider-Man (Spider-Men? Spider-Mans?) I have come across. With the passing of the torch I would like to see a more flexible and inventive Spidey in battle
D’Amico’s inks and Stewart’s colours bring the tone of the comic to life, providing an atmosphere of apprehension and dread early on and calm or distance and tension later in the issue.
I liked this issue, I can see why I have seen a mixed response to it in places, however I try to be open to new tellings and approaches to a hero. While this is not the Peter I know and love there is plenty of time for him to return and it’s not like the shock of the death in the issue wouldn’t impact any one of us in his shoes.
Score: 7.75 Freaky Dreams out of 10