The return of one of the premier spider scribes…Gerry Conway. To what new heights and adventures shall he take our fabled web-head on in this new era?
“Spiral, Part One”
WRITER: Gerry Conway
PENCILS: Carlo Barberi
INKER: Juan Vlasco
COLORS: Israel Silva
LETTERER: VC’s Joe Caramagna
VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Simone Bianchi
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: Our issue begins with Spider-Man attempting to cope with everything going back to normal. He can’t help but feel like he has become different in his absence, but is quickly put at ease when he overhears a police stakeout. Detective Watanabe, and her captain Teddy are about to issue a warrant to Tombstone who is currently hiding out in a warehouse with an army of goons. Before the two can get into to much of an argument one of Tombstone’s thugs begins opening fire. Spider-Man intervenes and dispatches Tombstone with ease. In the crossfire Teddy gets shot and goes into a coma. Due to Teddy being in a coma the Judge is unable to verify the veracity of his witness, and allows Tombstone to walk away free due to the legality issues of the warrant. Peter visits Watanabe in the hospital to console her and remind her the importance of “the rules”. Here we receive some information about the ongoing Gang War due to the absence of The Kingpin, and are reminded about the events of Superior Spider-Man. During their conversation Teddy passes away in the hospital. While at his funeral Watanabe is approached by Mister Negative who gives her evidence of the Judge being corrupt. Watanabe shows the photo’s to her boss who dismisses the photos outright saying they prove nothing. This causes her to break out as The Wraith and break into one of Tombstones bases to find physical evidence of corruption. After blowing up part of the building with an anti-tank gun Watanabe finds the evidence she needs, and the issue ends with her swinging away under the watchful eye of Mister Negative.
STORY: For the return of Gerry Conway this issue does seem radically different from the rest of the Spider-Man titles. For one there’s really no cutaway, the entire story is very focused. This is the story of Yuri Watanabe, and her disenfranchisement with the police department. Spider-Man does appear, and has some cool inner monologues (that yet again sound and feel waay different from his current writings) but in this issue he feels like more of a supporting character. This issue is an enjoyable change in direction, but there is no denying that it does have a view bits of repetition.
How many Spider-Man stories will feature Gang Wars? Spider-Man and Batman are two characters that have a nearly unending supply of super villain Gang Wars. It’s a tired trope in superhero comics, however this is not an entirely bad thing if Conway does enough to separate himself from past stories. If this entire mini-series takes place from the perspective of Watanabe then it will be a worthwhile story to tell. Watanabe is becoming a much more interesting character than my original introduction to her so I am very excited to see where her journey goes next.
For the most part this issue takes note of a lot of past issues and take time to ponder about the consequences of both Spider-Verse and Superior Spider-Man. Which is important, and has been glossed over a little bit by the main series. This being said Spider-Man’s reaction to Spider-Verse giving him a “punch in the gut” is a little odd. It’s written like he’s never met an alternate version of himself before which is something we’ve seen countless times before, and he’s even met up with exact CLONES of himself so you’d think he’d be used to it by now. Another minor quibble is that fact that his Spider sense is back already. At the end of Spider-Verse is strongly hinted that the web will not be fully repaired for some time, and certain aspects of their power’s will not be available spider sense being one of them. I suppose that time on the inheritor’s home planet acts much differently than it does in our dimension but it would be odd to mention that and then never act upon it.
The art in this issue is different. Parts of it work really well, and other sections have Spider-Man looking like his legs are bending in completely unfathomable ways. Again its a lot different from what we have been getting lately so its an enjoyable addition nonetheless. Overall this entire story is off to a strong start. There is a deeper meaning behind the story, there a lot of thought provoking discussion about Conway’s views, and his version of Spider-Man.