Tagged with the marketing line of “Before he was amazing. . . he was Spidey,” Spidey #1 takes a look at the high school adventures of Peter Parker and his more colorful costumed identity: Spider-Man. Written by Robbie Thompson and drawn by Nick Bradshaw, this comic delivers an upbeat, continuity-lite take on Spider-Man not unlike the “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon from a few years back. As a matter of fact, this title blends the concepts and execution from a wide variety of Spidey’s appearances, like Spidey talking to the reader and imaginary bubbles popping up to emphasize those discussion points and a different take on the web lines on Spider-Man’s costume.
Readers leap into action alongside Spider-Man, and more seasoned readers will recognize White Rabbit in the first modern-day scene of this comic before encountering upbeat takes on Gwen Stacy, Sajani Jaffrey, Flash Thompson, and more in an issue that opens up the world of Spider-Man to new readers and reminds more experienced readers of the energy and youthful enthusiasm that were once so very contagiously required in the adventures of everyone’s favorite webslinger.
Thompson’s characters are recognizable and relatable as he makes Peter Parker the heart of Spidey #1. Spider-Man is enduringly endearing due in no small part to his vast supporting cast throughout the years, and Thompson gives readers ample opportunity to observe several characters’ integral importance to legend of Spider-Man, especially in his early days.
Bradshaw’s art is both detailed and dynamic. The characters are all exaggerated caricatures of fictional friends and foes that are nearly instinctually known by pop culture consumers the world over. Expressive eyes, sweeping gestures, ranging detail, and mobile perspective describe this world in a most exciting visual manner, as Bradshaw seems custom-made to draw Spider-Man’s adventures, and gives readers plenty of individual fun images stitched together through strong storytelling.
Colorist Jim Campbell takes Bradshaw’s work and fills the animated characters with life, the detailed backgrounds with texture and the atmosphere with emotion. Spider-Man is red and blue, black and white, as he should be, and Peter Parker’s schoolmates wear yellow and pink, orange, purple, and just about every other color in the crayon box. Campbell packs as much energy into the color of Spidey #1 as Bradshaw pours into his drawings.
Even letterer Travis Lanham brings energy to the tale, augmenting the dialog Thompson delivers while taking caption boxes and infusing them with character. From Spider-Man’s opening monolog introducing himself to readers and dialing up the self-deprecating humor to emphasizing Peter’s attitude towards Gwen by breaking “O.M.G.” into individual caption boxes.
With a cover logo reminiscent of Spider-Man’s appearances on “The Electric Company”, Spidey #1 is a safe comic to share with younger readers, as it takes Spider-Man back to the early days of balancing his identity and his studies. There are no Avengers or Parker Industries to share space with, just further examination of the adventures of Spider-Man in his formative years. Safe, but not saccharine, this comic is sure to provide enjoyment for readers of all ages and levels of familiarity with the wall-crawler.
More seasoned readers might take offense at yet another retelling of Spider-Man’s earlier adventures, but this comic isn’t solely pointed in their direction. This is the comic for shopkeepers to point to on the shelf when a parent/aunt/uncle/grandparent comes in looking for something to share with their child/nephew/niece/grandkid. This is a Spider-Man for everybody, and darn it, it’s fun. Y’know, like comic books should be.
Editor’s note: I felt that it was important to point out what seems to be a confusion surrounding the nature of this title. Back when the title was announced Marvel stated that the book was to be considered in-continuity, along the lines of Untold Tales of Spider-Man. Anyone who has read this title can see that that clearly isn’t the case. We have reached out to editor Nick Lowe to see if he can provide us clarification as to whether that is no longer the case or this is a soft reboot of Spider-Man’s history in the vein of Spider-Man: Chapter One.
Writer Robbie Thompson and artist Nick Bradshaw take readers back to school - - high school - - with Peter Parker and Spider-man in Spidey #1, which introduces readers to a fun peek at the stories between the stories we already know.