Review: ‘Spider-Man’ #1 Stumbles Out Of The Gate
by Tony Thornley
The Spider-Verse ends. At least that’s what Spider-Man #1 promises. From the events of this issue, that may not be a bad thing.
Dan Slott, Mark Bagley, John Dell, Edgar Delgado, and Joe Caramagna kick off the relaunch of the adjectiveless Spider-Man with this massive event.
Peter Parker thinks it’s just another Tuesday. Unfortunately, when Morlun shows up, it proves to be anything but. As Peter, Miles Morales, and Cindy Moon soon discover, not all is as it seems and they might in for the fight of their lives.
This book has a lot to like but it also has a boatload of problems. Slott still has a great knack for the character voices. Outside of one page, the dialogue is fantastic and it feels very much like a classic Spider-Man story.
Unfortunately, on the flip side, this is full of tropes and quirks that overwhelm the potential of the story. Now, tropes are not necessarily a bad thing, but that depends on the way in which they’re used. For example- A one page diversion into the need for a hyphen in Spider-Man might seem a cute meta joke, but it lasts for so long that by the second panel, I was just rolling my eyes. Or another case is the fate of one of the main Spider-heroes to appear here. It’s incredibly frustrating that that major character’s only purpose in the story is to be killed to motivate the other characters. Outside of a single punch, that’s all they do, and it robs a popular female character of any agency in the story.
Meanwhile, the art is great. Bagley and Dell have worked together for a long time, so they get it. Outside of the page introducing Morlun, which is weirdly stiff, the entire book is constantly dynamic. Bagley moves the point of view around constantly, and uses layouts that build up energy on the page. Dell’s inks capture a high level of detail, while still making Bagley’s signature style shine through. Adding Delgado’s bright color palette, the art sings, almost enough to recommend the book on its own.
Now, I want to like this volume. Slott has his flaws, but on Spider-Man, he’s usually at his best. I don’t want to make excuses for him- this issue was a misstep. I hope it’s because he didn’t have a year to build up to it, like he did in the original event. Regardless, it comes back to those tropes. They’re tropes for a reason- they work. But they have to be used in a way that enhances the story instead of immediately making the reader groan as it happens.
Spider-Man #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.
The beginning of the End for the Spider-Verse was a rough start. The art is great but the story has some serious faults.