Saturday, 22 October 2016

Spidey, Volume 1: First Day Review (Robbie Thompson, Nick Bradshaw)

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know the Spider-Man origin through and through?! Of course there are. There are kids appearing all the time, totally fresh Marvel fans-to-be, who have never read a Spider-Man comic but want to know where to start. And don’t you dare tell them to go back to the beginning and read the 1960s Stan Lee comics because that’ll kill any interest they might have!

That’s the thinking behind Spidey: retelling classic Spider-Man but in a modern comics style to a 21st century audience for whom this will all be brand new. And for those new readers, this is a great place to start reading Spider-Man comics, though for someone like me who’s read/watched the Spidey origin a hundred times already, this was just ok. 

I’m not sure what timeline/world this series is set in but it’s the modern day (smartphones, etc.) yet people still think Iron Man is Tony Stark’s bodyguard! Best not to dwell on it - it’s its own thing. 

All the classic Spider-Man beats are here with 15 year old Peter (who looks like the current Spider-Man actor, Tom Holland) learning to juggle the demands of being a superhero with his schoolwork, and helping his Aunt May with the bills too by selling photos of Spider-Man to The Daily Bugle. All of the familiar characters are assembled once again: Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, and the rogues gallery: Green Goblin, Doc Ock, the Lizard, Sandman, and the Vulture. The only difference (and it’s an insignificant one) is Norman and Harry Osborn are darker skinned, probably for diversity reasons. 

Robbie Thompson’s script is bright and breezy, capturing the optimism and insecurity of teenage Peter Parker nicely in well-written stories that feel like a comfortable cross between the various Spider-Man comics, movies and cartoons. Nick Bradshaw’s art is beautiful and imaginative though unfortunately he only illustrates the first half with the second half being picked up by Andre Lima Araujo whose artwork is quite bland. 

Completely green Spider-Man readers will get the most out of this as well as some long-time Spidey fans nostalgic for the olden days. More seasoned readers in general though won’t find the stories as compelling as we’ve all seen these before and know them inside out - I can still appreciate the decent writing but I know this web too well to be caught up in it.

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