Sunday, April 17, 2016

Comics Review: SPIDEY #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Robbie Thompson
ART: Nick Bradshaw
COLORS: Jim Campbell
LETTERS: Travis Lanham
COVER: Nick Bradshaw with Jim Campbell
VARIANT COVERS: Humberto Ramos with Edgar Delgado; Skottie Young; Gyimah Gariba (Hip Hop Variant)
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (February 2016)

Rated  “T”

Spider-Man created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

The Spider-Man that readers first met in Amazing Fantasy #15 (cover dated: August 1962) and then, in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (cover date: March 1963) was secretly a teenager and high school student named Peter Parker.  Over the years, a legion of Spider-Man writers depicted Peter Parker graduating from high school, going to college, becoming a college graduate student, a working stiff, a freelancer, an employee, etc.

If my memory is correct, Peter Parker was living on his own and might have been a grad student in the first Spider-Man comic books I ever read.  However, the first time I encountered Spider-Man in comics was a reprint of the story from Amazing Fantasy #15.  That was a seminal moment for me as a burgeoning comic book fan.  From that point on, I basically always favored the teenage Peter Parker, so the first time I saw an adult Parker, I found it odd.  It is not that I did not like a grown-up Parker; I simply preferred reading about a teen-aged Peter Parker being Spider-Man.

So my interest was piqued when I read that as part of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” Marvel Comics was going to launch a comic book that focused on the early days of Peter Parker's adventures as Spider-Man.  Entitled Spidey, this series is written by Robbie Thompson; drawn by Nick Bradshaw; colored by Jim Campbell; and lettered by Travis Lanham.

Spidey #1 finds Peter Parker having to be the Amazing Spider-Man on his way to class at Midtown High School.  It is the field trip to Oscorp that causes the real trouble when Doctor Otto Octavius crashes the party.

I tried to be a cynical old guy and not like Spidey #1, but it is the kind of throwback, retro Spider-Man comic book that I like to read on occasion.  In fact, I am ready for the second issue (which I think has been released as of this writing).  This is an action-adventure comic book that recalls classic Marvel, but without the storytelling density.  After all, early Marvel Comics squeezed an epic into practically each issue their most popular series.

Spidey writer Robbie Thompson offers something like a comic book version of the Saturday morning animated television series, “The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-2009).  Thompson pretty much sticks with standard characterization on all characters, including the supporting players, Gwen Stacy and Flash Thompson, so readers will recognize the characters they have come to love.  Thompson also manages two Spider-Man-in-action sequences, while offering the high school melodrama that is integral to any Spider-Man comic book

Artist Nick Bradshaw does his best Art Adams circa Monkeyman and O'Brien, but Adam's detailed style is made practical rather than stylish in Spidey.  Appearance aside, Bradshaw's storytelling is solid, balancing lite high school drama with explosive action.  And as every Spider-Man comic book artist should do, Bradshaw makes Spider-Man look good in action.  I don't know if Bradshaw will be remembered as a great Spider-Man artist, but he is starting off as an effective one.

So if readers are looking for a Spider-Man comic book for young readers, rather than complaining they can find Spidey.  It will entertainment them, also.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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