J.J. Abrams SPIDER-MAN (2019) #1 review

Spider-Man (Marvel Comics)

Spider-Man #1 is available now where all good comics are sold!

Synsopsis

The most shocking and incredible comic of 2019 is here as J.J. ABRAMS (STAR WARS, STAR TREK, SUPER 8) and his son HENRY ABRAMS are joined by superstar artist SARA PICHELLI (MILES MORALES, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) team up for SPIDER-MAN! What do they have planned for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson?! Who is Cadaverous?! The Modern Master of Mystery Makes His Marvel this September!

Review

Spider-Man #1, J.J. Abrams and son Henry’s first foray in to the world of Marvel comics was teased as a huge comics event for 2019 by the publisher. Whilst snagging the Hollywood legend to co-write a comic book is undoubtedly a coup, this first issue is little more than average.

It’s opening act is easily the highlight. Slowly pulling back the curtain to reveal the real story at play. We’re introduced to a new villain, Cadaverous, in the middle of a battle with an already tired and beaten Spidey.

All of the components are there. Famous New York landscapes, Mary Jane calling out “tiger”, everything you could want is laid out ready for a Spidey Spectacular.

It’s the kind of cold open which Abrams fans can easily compare to much of his film and TV work. But with it comes the first signs of trouble with the storytelling mechanics of this version of Spider-Man.

The series throws a couple of major hints towards what is to come. It treats the reader like we require exposition to piece together the plot points of a complex narrative. This Hollywood trick feels unnecessary in a comic book which features a fairly simple and predictable story.

I felt on the brink of being hooked as one twist was teased and another played out on the page. But once a “twelve years later” caption strikes the book descended in to derivative high school drama.

The problems with the rest of the book are not necessarily down to its characters. Future Peter clearly has some form of PTSD following the events at the beginning of the book. He’s struggling to cope and throwing himself in to his work.

But as it isn’t explored, at all, in this issue it’s difficult to identify with his struggles. Future issues will hopefully delve in to this more.

Likewise we spend little time with Aunt May to catch up on the intervening period with her. It’s clear that in this universe she and Peter had a more open relationship following the confrontation with Cadaverous, but that is – again – a story for another day.

Instead we focus on young Ben Parker. But what is there to say about the character which you can’t already predict?

He has a great anger around the loss of his mother; he regularly gets in trouble at school, has a poor relationship with his father and ends up in detention and by the end of the book his inherited spider-powers are manifesting.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the story of version of Spider-Man. There’s just absolutely nothing compelling or exciting about it… yet.

The saving grave of this book is Sara Pichelli. Her artwork is spectacular throughout and genuinely sets the book apart from other Spider-fare.

I really appreciated all of her choices in designing the book and would to see her jump over to the main series.

Verdict

Whilst Spider-Man #1 has an interesting and engaging hook in its first act, by act three the story has veered off in to soft teenage drama. Teased as “shocking and incredible” it ultimately comes off as nothing more than mildly intriguing.

5/10

Spider-Man #1 is written by J.J. and Henry Abrams with artwork by Sara Pichelli and a cover by Oliver Coipel.

Spider-Man #1 cover art by Olivier Coipel

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About Neil Vagg 3751 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG