This Spidey tale is classic yet fresh, with gags abound.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #3 is the latest installment in the web-slinger’s new, comedy-heavy series. Is it good?
This series got off to a somewhat uneven start, with two issues that were good but still felt rough around the edges; it seemed like the creative team needed some time to ease into the plot and cast of characters they had assembled. This time around, though, everyone involved seems to have sunk fully into the groove of things. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #3 ups the comedy, sets it against fun, emotive artwork, and never has a dull moment.
Writer Chip Zdarsky delivers the Spidey that we all know and love: witty, irreverent, and constantly making gags at the expense of everyone else in the room. Part of what makes this issue’s writing truly delightful, however, is that Spidey isn’t the only source of laughs. Johnny Storm gets a zinger or two in regarding Spidey’s hypocrisy when it comes to breaking and entering (all in the name of justice), and Karnak has a hilarious cameo in which we learn that Peter’s greatest weaknesses are his “soft, fleshy eyes.” Teresa is also amusing in this issue, as she armors up and fights alongside Peter and Johnny under the moniker of “Good Punisher.”
Adam Kubert does a great job on pencils in this issue. The characters’ facial expressions are always stellar, and often enhance the quality of the comedy. Johnny’s devious smirks are great, as are Karnak’s cold stares. The backgrounds throughout the issue are meticulously detailed, and really make the world feel lived in. Part of the advertising for this series was that Spider-Man would go back to being friendly and in the neighborhood, and this issue’s mixture of lighthearted banter with well-grounded physical settings help make that claim an accurate one. The variety in paneling throughout is nice, especially in the case of a fight scene that is primarily conveyed in two back-to-back two-page spreads. A lot of action is conveyed in a relatively confined space, which helps in the “more bang for your buck” department. The entire issue’s pacing is strong, as the plot moves relatively quickly without ever feeling rushed.
In the case of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, the third issue’s the charm. While the series took a little time to establish its footing, it has now polished its finest points and left little room for negative critique. A subplot involving J. Jonah Jameson looks promising, and Zdarsky is proving himself capable of balancing multiple story elements without making the narrative feel overstuffed. Add Kubert’s strong artwork on top of that, and you have a classically fresh Spider-Man issue that does not disappoint.