The Spider #1
Written by David Liss
Art by Colton Worley
Letters by Simon Bowland
Covers by Francesco Francavilla, Ron Lesser, Alex Ross & John Cassaday
Release Date: May 2, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
In 1933, pulp writer Harry Steeger created The Spider to compete with The Shadow. The Spider, while never attaining quite the level of popularity as The Shadow, took on a life of his own in pop culture and became pretty popular in the world of Pulp Heroes.
Now, almost 80 years later, the Spider is back in The Spider #1 (published by Dynamite Entertainment, the same company that’s publishing The Shadow. Can irony BE any more ironic?)!!!
I’m not familiar with writer David Liss‘ work. I didn’t catch Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, although I’ve heard good things about it. So, I really had no expectations going into The Spider, but I do have a fondness for that kind of character and the old Pulp heroes. I like heroes that “the every man” can be. Everyone can’t be Superman or Spider-Man or Wolverine. But, in theory, anyone can be Batman, Captain America or, as we find out here, The Spider.
First off, I was curious about the decision to put The Spider in modern day vs keeping his adventures set in the 1930s. Dynamite has just had a couple of BIG hits with The Shadow, Lord of the Jungle, and Flash Gordon and all kept them rooted in there original time period, without bringing them into present day.
Back to The Spider #1. HOLY COW, THIS IS A GREAT BOOK!!!! I think what I liked most about it is that The Spider is a man without much mercy. He kills, he sees things in black & white, right or wrong, and his philosophy is basically “Get them before they can hurt more innocent people.” Now THAT’S a hero that I can get behind! He’s almost Punisher-level, but not quite as mean-spirited. Just as interesting as his heroics is his civilian life. His main love interest is still Nita Van Sloan, but their romantic dynamic has changed to one of the most unique relationships in comics today, and it is really, unfortunately, a reflection of the world we live in today. Nonetheless, it’s going to make things really interesting as the book moves forward. And hey!!! We have a superhero that drinks and SMOKES! Fellow Geeks of Doom staffer Chris McDavid (Henchman21) and I will enjoy the book based on that principle alone! Seriously, this is a very well written book. It’s got a great mystery in it, and a last page shocker that will blow your head off!!!
Artist Colton Worley doesn’t just draw in this issue, he CREATES. There’s a difference. He creates a world that’s of our time, but with subtle hints of the romanticism of the past. There are some scenes that are on the gory side, and while I’m NOT a fan of gore, Worley pulls it off with being detailed enough, yet not over the top. With a modern day costume designed by Alex Ross, Worley makes The Spider truly a man of mystery as you don’t get to see the costume all that often, but when you do it makes an impact. His “civilian” pages are just as great as his “super hero” pages and that takes talent. He does a great job conveying the body language between Richard Wentworth and Nita Van Sloan and there’s a few Law & Order/CSI pages that he really makes work. His strong suit, in my opinion are his city-scapes. They are beyond breathtaking. Worley is a fantastic choice for the artist on this book.
All in all, I can’t recommend this book any higher. It sucks you in from the very first page and doesn’t let go until the last. And that’s what a comic book should do. I found myself actually lost for the 15 minutes that it took me to read this book. This is a book that I can see myself reading at LEAST twice a month. Once when it comes out and once before the next issue comes out… and probably a couple times in between. It’s over-flowing with art and story, and I guarantee you’ll want to revisit it between issues. So, when you go into your local comic shop this week, make a b-line for the Independent section and grab this book!!!