Saturday, January 21, 2012
Retro Review: Web of Spider-Man #1
In comics, you'll find hidden meanings all over the place. Sometimes you might look too deep into a comic and come up with a meaning. But that's fine. Web of Spider-Man #1 is what I consider to be one of the most influential Spider-Man comics of all time. I say this because this is the issue the shows and movie looked to. This is the issue where Peter gets rid of the Symbiote using the church bells. This comic was adapted in the 90's animated series, the 2008 Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, and in the 2007 film. This is a major factor in future issues, this was before Venom was created and before Peter and Mary Jane were married. It is also one of the greatest Spider-Man comics I have ever read.
I find it interesting that the whole Symbiote story was finished in the first issue of a new series. Not a negative thing of course, but I'm surprised they didn't wrap it up over at the main title. Anyways, it's the dialogue and ending that make this issue. It doesn't take any time to get the ball rolling, the first page shows the Symbiote watching Peter. It's pretty amazing how it intelligent it was before Venom came along, it masqueraded as Spidey's red and blue suit. I love Spidey's reaction when he see the Symbiote spider logo. What follows is Spidey basically going to war with the Symbiote. He needs to go to the Baxter Building to use Reed Richards' Sonic Blaster. However, the Symbiote has plans of its own. The writing is just fantastic as Spidey talks against the Symbiote and how he uses the term 'puppet.' While this is as serious issue, it features some great moments that are serious yet humorous. Spidey trying to sling a web, but the Symbiote forces him to sling in the other direction was just great. I also laughed at the moment when Spidey and goes haywire with both the Symbiote and him trying to take control then he bangs a building saying "Ouch." These are the great Spidey moments I live for.
Besides all of this, the other focus is on a bunch of Vulture wannabes. They aren't badly written, in fact, they're pretty well written. It takes a skilled writer like Louise Jones Simonson (I actually didn't know that a woman wrote the issue, pretty cool) to make a bunch of nobodies mildly interesting. I like it when Spidey says "...But the Vulture would never let me near enough to pull a stunt like this! " to one of the people in the Vulture suits. (I also like how he refers to the Symbiote as 'alien body snatcher.') The best part of this issue, however, is the ending. I'll get to that in a sec, I just want to talk about the lead up and art first. The church bells scene is such an iconic page. That's the part the shows and movie adapted. Spidey wanting to die than be absorbed by the Symbiote is truly something. Of course he goes with his usual Spidey manner, telling the Symbiote IT might as well go before he loses his sense of humor about this.
The cover is a fantastic piece of art by Charles Vess. Such an iconic look, Spidey in the black suit has never looked better. Not to mention the gargoyles next to it adds to the atmosphere. However, the ending is what made the issue. After the Symbiote is driven from Spidey because of the bells, it goes back and saves him. It takes him to the bottom of the church to safety. Then the haunting text "In very a short while, Peter Parker will awaken and wonder why did it save him? It is a question that will haunt him for the rest of his life!" It's such an iconic scene, definitely one of the best in my opinion. Did it save him because it felt an emotional attachment? Because it felt honorable of letting a worthy opponent live? It's just an amazing moment that makes you think. That exact scene needs to be adapted.
Overall, I really enjoyed this issue. It's interesting to look back at how big events happened. Who would have thought that this issue would be the catalyst for Spider-Man's most famous villain. The writing is top notch, Spidey's dialogue while the Symbiote attempts to re-bond with him is worth the price alone. It's the ending that really made the comic, one of the greatest scenes in all of Spider-Man. Web of Spider-Man #1 is one of the definitive Spider-Man comics. Good attempting to rid himself of evil, but not without the ladder going down without a fight. It has a good deeper meaning to it, this comic is definitely something to track down and get.