Review: PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
So I guess there’s a new Spider-Man movie coming out? And a new animated TV show? Marvel entirely owns up to this being a “landing pad” for new fans in the pages of this book. It’s honestly refreshing to see, as it can be pretty easy to get jaded by the constant bombardment of new first issues that more often than not just feel like a marketing ploy. This, I’m happy to say, does not take anything away from Mr. Parker’s new title.
Full disclosure: I’m a major Spider-Man fan. Even to the point of getting genuinely annoyed when people write it “Spiderman” like it’s a last name. Like Harvey Spiderman, mid-level office manager who’s under pressure from the regional bosses and might not make it to the PTA meeting he swore he’d attend. Basically, I have a bias towards liking this already and was even a little prepared to be an apologist.
Thankfully, that’s not necessary!
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man’s debut issue is very much in the tone of your friendly neighborhood web-slinger. Zdarsky has the humor, the depth of knowledge of Spider-lore (also hyphenated), and the ability to build an interesting storyline in a new direction that has a lot of potential.
He draws off a few characters from Spidey’s long history (his friendship with Johnny Storm and other heroes), incorporates characters introduced during Dan Slott’s (long-time writer of the Amazing Spider-Man series) tenure, and even introduces compelling new characters.
Peter Parker is funny, smart, awkward, and at times kind of a yutz – just like you want him to be. He still can’t quite figure out how to juggle family time with Aunt May, friend time with Johnny Storm, hero time as Spider-Man, CEO time with his tech company, and lady time with the newly introduced Rebecca. In the end, as he must, he chooses the path of Great Responsibility…which means trying to do everything at once. It’s a familiar story, but followed through in a new way with fresh scenarios and personalities.
Adam Kubert’s art is as solid as you’d imagine. There’s a dynamic look to the characters’ movements and they’re given unique faces. That may sound like a weird compliment, but all too often, you can see a face repeating from character to character with the only difference being hairstyle and/or mask. When the illustrations on the page have the expressions of actors, that’s a successful bit of artwork.
Jordie Bellaire compliments Kubert’s lines as you would expect, adding beautiful tones and details to the characters, the locations, and the progression of time.
I know more about writing than art. So I hope I’m kind of explaining myself correctly and will try to beef up my illustration analysis.
Plot Nutshell (includes spoilers):
Peter Parker recounts part of his origin. Fortunately, Johnny Storm is there to tell him to shut up. They then set up a bro date to Netflix and chill. But Spidey longs to occasionally take part in the simple things, like beating up robbers and I guess the audience isn’t supposed to think about how sociopathic that sounds. But robberies happen, sometimes to nice women like Rebecca, who saves herself as much as Spider-Man does (with an assist from Ant-Man). Rebecca flirts with Spidey, who quickly runs off to meet an amazing inventor who happens to be the Tinkerer’s GOOD BROTHER (Shayamalan-style twist!). Following the tech clues leads our web-slinger to Chicago, and he sets up a date with Rebecca for when he returns to NYC (as Spider-Man, not Peter) and then promptly gets tazed. Meanwhile, Johnny Storm has been stood up by Peter, but that’s OK since he suddenly meets Teresa Parker, Peter’s sister. Yes, you read that right. Yes, that’s the cliff-hanger.
It’s good. It’s fun. Buy it.
Until next time…