Review: ‘Non-Stop Spider-Man’ Delivers On Its Name, But Not Without Faults
by James Ferguson
All-out action with some super dynamic panel layouts await in this new Spider-Man comic, however the lack of character development of the supporting cast removes most of the stakes. Coupled with some inconsistent artwork and there are some hold ups for what the book can become.
Buckle your seat belts, folks because Non-Stop Spider-Man is here to deliver…well…non-stop action. The wall-crawler is on a race against time to save his friends from a new drug that’s terrorizing the streets of Manhattan. A group of high-tech thugs are hot on his trail, making this a much more difficult endeavor.
Marvel made some hefty promises with Non-Stop Spider-Man about its levels of action. It’s definitely a blockbuster level comic right from the jump. Artist Chris Bachalo establishes a frenetic pace right out of the gate with the opening scene showing the web-head thinking quickly as he’s falling out a window as Peter Parker and manages to land on the ground as Spider-Man.
The interesting part here is how, despite how intense the action is, there are moments like these where time seems to slow down. It reminds me a bit of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies where things would come to a stand still as the detective identified key details that would help him make a decision. This shows us as the audience what’s going through the protagonist’s head in a fraction of a second.
Letterer Travis Lanham peppers the pages with sound effects creating a claustrophobic feeling at times. It drives home the intensity of the opening fight. I really like how the Spider Sense is shown here, not as the traditional wavy lines around Peter’s head, but as a bright warning like “LOOK OUT!” or “BEHIND YOU!” This is a fantastic effect that I hope to see more folks pick up in the future.
While Bachalo excels in the panel layout and most of the shots, there are numerous times where the anatomy is just off. Limbs will look way too short or hands will look like tentacled blobs. There is a ton of impressive detail work on everything else, but the characters, particularly Spider-Man often appear in these weird proportions. Inker Tim Townsend captures all of these fine lines, such as in the vast amount of webbing that’s sent out.
Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 picks up with a heated battle in the middle of the day. Colorist Marcio Menyz creates a sense of heat with the sun shining brightly and bursts of colors in this encounter. We bounce to a flashback two hours ago (which I could technically call a stop, thus negating the title, but whatever) where the colors are faded. This works well as the scene takes place at a wake so it warrants a more somber tone.
Where Non-Stop Spider-Man falls short is in the stakes. I legitimately have no idea who these other people are that Peter Parker is suddenly so invested in. I guess they’re fellow students in his college class, but there is absolutely nothing here to invest us in their lives outside of Spider-Man just being the hero he always is and saving people when they need help. Writer Joe Kelly could have provided some more background in this opening salvo to at least give us something to grab onto. As it stands, these folks are little more than extras.
This issue also features a weird back-up story also written by Kelly, with artwork by Dave Eaglesham and colors by Morry Hollowell featuring Baron Zemo. It feels out of place currently and reads with a pinch of white supremacy, like the villain is hoping for the time when Nazis were feared instead of memes. How it will tie into the main story is unknown, but since Marvel has promised this will be a globe-trotting affair, the wall-crawler could run into Zemo down the line.
Non-Stop Spider-Man definitely lives up to its name with a fast-paced action story with some pitch perfect layouts. The uneven artwork and lack of character development for the supporting cast holds it back from what it can be.
Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.