Just in time for his upcoming movie, Spider-Man is headlining another solo title with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1. Is it good?
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer Chip Zdarsky is well-known for his humorous runs on multiple titles, so it comes as no surprise that his version of Spidey draws heavily upon the character’s trademark wit. The wall-crawler’s personality is both consistent and refreshingly lighthearted throughout this issue. Parker cracks jokes throughout just about every scene, and Zdarsky manages to pull off a smartass protagonist whose quips don’t get old with too much repetition. Not every joke lands, but more than enough do to make up for the occasional miss.
While Zdarsky does a good job on Spider-Man’s dialogue, it’s largely other characters who contribute to the issue’s best moments. Multiple superheroes guest star throughout the issue, including Ant-Man and the Human Torch. It’s nice to see Spidey touch base with other heroes both as a professional and from a friendship perspective. Spidey’s main supporting cast members sometimes more or less amount to just romantic partners and Aunt May, so it’s nice to see him interact with more casual acquaintances. Speaking of romantic partners, though, this issue introduces a possible new flame for Peter. She hasn’t had much development yet, but what little we do see of her seems very promising. Here’s hoping Spidey hit the jackpot once again.
Artistically, there’s a lot to like about this issue. Penciller Adam Kubert does solid work all around, but his backgrounds are particularly noteworthy. The New York cityscapes throughout are gorgeous, with lovely details and fantastic perspective. Jordie Bellaire also contributes to the art’s pizzazz, with bright colors that help sell the book’s cheery tone.
My main qualms with this issue center around the plot. I like several of the characters, but I don’t care much for what they’re actually doing. There’s some hints at sinister events related to hacked cell phones, which aren’t very exciting, and that’s the most we get in terms of any real villainy. Spidey takes down some purse thieves, but ultimately there’s no real interesting antagonist in this issue. Most of the issue’s page-time is devoted to the cell phone plot, Spidey’s friends and new possible love interest (Rebecca), and the introduction of an inventor who builds and fixes superheroes’ tech. The inventor isn’t particularly intriguing yet, so the most enjoyable scenes are the ones concerning Rebecca, Ant-Man, or the Human Torch.
Full disclosure, I’m a sucker for comics that are driven by character interactions and development. With that said, however, while the character work here is good, it’s not good enough to totally make up for the plot’s lack of interesting substance. Nonetheless, energetic artwork, fun atmosphere, and likable guest stars help this series make a good first impression.