Spidey #1 Review


Spidey_1_Cover

Before Spider-Man become “Amazing,” “Spectacular,” or even worthy to be called “Spider-Man” he was Spidey. These are those so called accounts. But is this blast from the past an actual blast, well you will have to read this review to found out.

WRITER: Robbie Thompson
ARTIST: Nick Bradshaw

Cover Artists: Jim Campbell & Nick Bradshaw

Letterer: Travis Lanham

Editors: Axel Alonso, Nick Lowe & Devin Lewis

 

Plot– The first page is a splash page that through Spider-man’s narration summarizes the origin story of Spider-Man, which all fans and everyone alike should know by now. The second page continues with Spider-Man’s narration and him referring himself as “Spidey” because he does not feel quite worthy enough to be called “Amazing” or “Spectacular” just yet. This musing is cut short when he comes upon a robbery in progress. The robber is a young woman dressed in a bunny outfit, who has appeared in Amazing Spider-Man as a minor villain. He quickly stops her by using his super speed and webbing.  In the next scene Peter arrives to school late and is surprised by a pop quiz in his history class. He seemingly fails the quiz which prompts his history teacher to request to speak to him privately. The teacher assumes that Peter’s lackluster performance in history class is a result of Peter’s uncle’s  death. The history teacher, Maxwell, tells Peter what history teaches which is “to never give up” and assigns Peter a tutor who happens to be Gwen Stacey. While Peter is thinking about Gwen, Flash starts to bully Peter in the hallway. At that moment Peter thinks to fight back but before that Gwen stops Flash by giving him a right hook. Gwen comments that he needs Peter to be his tutor and tells Peter to get ready for their field trip.  

The field trip is at Oscorp. In the middle of the tour, Doctor Octavius aka Doctor Octopus crashes through the ceiling proclaiming that he will steal the technology at Oscorp. After saving Gwen Stacey from the debris, he rushes to the bathroom to change into his Spider-Man suit. Spidey and Doctor Octopus fight and at first it seems Doctor Octopus has the upper hand. Doctor Octopus’s arms are too fast for Spidey and he (Spidey) is unable to stop Doctor Octopus from stealing information from a computer. Eventually Spidey gains the upperhand by pulling out a wire from somewhere and shocking Doctor Octopus. Doctor Octopus manages to flee and Spidey stays behind to save his classmate from more falling debris. Spidey uses the lesson that his history teacher taught him about never giving up to draw strength from. Spidey returns home to Aunt May who is happy to see him and asks him if he has learned anything today. He replies that he has learned to not give up. The scene then shifts to Norman Osbourne who is berating his head security for allowing both Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man to infiltrate the Oscorp building. He threatens his employee and then retreats to his own office. In his office he imagines the Green Goblin and the Green Goblin states that it is nearly time.

 

Analysis– This issue deeply disappointed me. I love the premise of the early years of Peter Parker being Spider-Man. At its the core the premise promises to highlight the reasons that everyone that loves Spider-Man, loves Spider-Man. The tropes that made me fall in love with the character that I thought would be present are of course: Spider-Man being an underdog, Spider-Man being hated by the public, Peter helping out his Aunt May out, and him trying to balance school, work and being a hero. “Spidey” #1 had none of those tropes that I love about Spider-Man. First let me start off by saying what I enjoy about this issue.

 

Pros I like the fact that the origin story is summarized in the first page and that Spider-Man does not feel Spidey-1-6comfortable being called “Amazing” or “Spectacular” because it shows that he still lacks confidence. Him lacking confidence should be the case because he is just starting out as Spider-Man. Some of the banter or the quips are pretty funny. The banter between Spidey and Doctor Octopus about Spider-Man being a menace is pretty funny with Spidey saying that the Daily Bugle just made a typo. But this is where the positives for me end.

 

Cons The first gripe I have is in the first page. I know I just said that I like that they summarized the whole origin story in one page and I still like that. The problem I have is with one line: “I made money. I helped my family”. At this moment Spidey is recounting the events that lead to his uncle’s death and that also lead to him becoming Spider-Man or Spidey. Spider-Man fans know that before his uncle’s death that Peter was a selfish jerk, he was not helping out his family. These two sentences clashes with the page and it stands out in a bad way. The next flaw comes with the scene between the history teacher and Peter and this is a big flaw. It is a big flaw because much of this story is built around it.

 

After a pop quiz the history teacher pulls Peter aside and schools him about the morals of history. Apparently a lesson of history is “to never to give up.” That is the first time I ever heard that one but it gets worst. The history teacher, Maxwell, then lets it known to us the readers know that Uncle Ben has died only a year ago. This fact has little bearing on the story for both Peter and Aunt May do not reference it and do not seem to be affected by it. Maxwell then tells Peter that he will tutor Gwen Stacey in science and she will tutor him in history.

 

The tutoring aspect is also puzzling for two reasons. Why would you make two students that are failing or struggling in a subject tutor each other? Are there no better tutors? The second reason is Peter’s reaction to the Maxwell saying the student would be Gwen. Why is Peter so shocked? What is their relationship (Gwen and Peter)? There is no background for Gwen, so there is no explanation as to why Peter reacts in the way he does. The issue provides some background on Flash who has such a minor part in the story but none for Gwen. And Gwen seems to be a more important character than Flash in terms of this issue.

 

But let’s focus on Flash and Gwen more for a moment. Flash’s only reason it seems to be there is to show us that Gwen is a strong female character which would be a positive but in the next scene, Gwen is shown to be damsel in distress when Peter saves her from debris.

 

Spidey_1_Preview_2Now on to the field trip. Another field trip, again really? Are all the conflicts going to be during a field trip? The origin story is during a field trip and now the Doctor Octopus story is during a field trip. Next the fight between Spidey and Doctor Octopus, it is disappointing. First disappointment being that this is not even their first encounter. You think that this supposedly being  Spider-Man’s early days you would think that this would be their first encounter, but no. In addition, Spidey is too calm and confident when he faces off against Doctor Octopus. This is Doctor Octopus! The man who he will have brutal life and death fights with and he casually fights him and forces him to retreat in this issue. This does not feel like a Spidey that just started but one that has years of experience and who is brimming with confidence. Furthermore there is one line of narration that throws me off “His arms, they’re alive, thinking on their own. I’m not fighting an octopus. I’m fighting a machine.” Hold on a second, if the arms are alive then how is it a machine? Machines are not alive!  Another issue I have with the fight scene is when Spidey holds up the debris to save his classmates and he musters the strength by remembering his teacher’s lesson about never giving up. Not only is this scene corny but it is further cheapened by the fact that it relies on nostalgia by attempting to replicate the scene in the original Amazing Spider-Man #33.

 

Then the story gets down right cheesy and feels like an afterschool special with a moral. The exchange between Aunt May and Peter is so cliche and does not feel earned at all. Aunt May asks Peter if he learned anything and Peter responds that he learned never to give up repeating his teacher’s saying. The exchange alone summarizes the issue in a nutshell and has me convinced that this issue only works if the target audience is for elementary or middle school aged children. The characters are incredibly shallow and none of the moments that are supposed to feel strong feel earned.

 

My rating for this issue is a

D

 This issue suffers from poor characterization, awkward narration, and shallowness. If you want a comic book that chronicles Peter’s early days as Spider-Man or his lost days then you should check out the Untold tales of Spider-Man instead. I thought Spidey would be like Untold tales but instead it is a dumbed down version of it. The only reason I did not give this a lower grade is because I do like the idea of showing Spider-Man from this perspective and trying to highlight his early days. This issue just failed at carrying out that premise.

(26) Comments

  1. Al

    @#24-25: The Miles Morales book isn’t even out yet and even if it was we have one issue to go by. One Bendis paced issue. I think it’s fair to say that as of this moment the jury is still out on that one. All we’ve seen is Ultimate End and some Avengers appearances which neither confirm nor deny exactly what has happened. Furthermore it’s entirely possible that Reed et al simply took the molecules of Miles’ family and put them into the MU. That is to say they are the exact same people but their memories have been tweked, which is what was the deal with Battleoworld as a whole. Everyone living on Battleworld over 8 years old had memories of a life that was in fact a fabrication, had they like time travelled 10 years into the past they would’ve witnessed the pre-Battleworld Multiverse. A similar deal could be at play here, that is to say go back 20 years into the past from Spider-Man volume 2 #1 with Miles Morales and you aren’t going to find a Marvel Universe with Miles in it. And if you travelled back however many years into Miles’ own personal timeline similarly you are going to wind up in the Ultimate Universe where Ultimate Peter Parker was Spider-Man. This is backed up by a) The characters in Web Warriors very clearly remembering the events of Secret Wars because that is where they formed into a team and Mayday has new her costume. b) Ultimate End making it clear the Miles who woke up and was overjoyed at seeing his mother was the same Miles from Secret Wars, but his memory just got hazy. The Ultimates book and other books similarly make it clear that people have foggy memories of what happened ‘8 months ago’ which is to say the incursions. So those events DID happen, the MU was blown up, it was just put back together again, much the same way it was in Age of Apocalypse, House of M, and even some other storylines. It isn’t a DC Crisis situation wherein a whole new history exists wholesale and we had flashbacks showing that history to us. So effectively Miles and his family could’ve just not existed in the MU until 8 months ago, but they believe that they did. It’s like they blew up a house and rebuilt it the exact same way, except they put in an extension then forgot it wasn’t always there. But again, we’re still waiting to see what precisely happened. And frankly what’s the lesser of two evils? The Marvel Universe has been genuinely erased and replaced by something new so the incursions were the one true deaths of all the characters you knew and loved....or these are the same people and they’ve just been mind whammied, in particular the people in Miles’ life. So Miles himself might’ve gone through a quasi-reboot of sorts, or else he hasn’t he and his loved ones are just the subjects of mental manipulations and don’t realize it. As for Miles’ mother being alive again, that’s relatively easy to explain. We’re talking about the Molecule Man, the Beyond and Secret Wars. In Secret Wars 1984 Dr. Doom vaporized Kang the Conqueror and upon obtaining the Beyonder’s power resurrected him. He didn’t make a new copy, he just took the atoms and molecules that had been blasted apart and put them back together. The Beyonder himself did something similar in Secret Wars II with the New Mutants. He literally killed them, then brought them back as his henchmen, then they went back to normal but remembered dying. This is something in effect Molecule Man and Doom could do in Secret Wars 2015 and in fact probably did do, hence Battleworld. Mayday Parker on Battleworld clearly was the same one from Spider-Verse since her father was dead due to Daemos and Uncle Ben Spider-Man was there. Similarly in the Spider-Verse mini-series the Web Warriors had vague memories of Spider-Verse, the cosmic web and the knowledge that they didn’t fit into the world they inhabited. Which is to say everyone on Battleworld was the genuine articles, their molecules having just been reorganized and reconstructed by Doom and Molecule Man and a mind whammy placed on them to ensure law and order. So, in theory if the Multiverse was being recreated, Molecule Man could just take the Molecules of Miles’ Mother (alliteration!) and reorganize them so she was alive and well again.

  2. WolfCypher

    If there is a mind-wipe in play, God I hope not, not AGAIN, then that would have to affect everyone. Not just the Morales, but everyone around them. And that still doesn't explain why Miles' mom has to be alive again.

  3. WolfCypher

    "Thus far Secret Wars hasn’t done anything to indicate that the Marvel universe is any different or that it changed as result of Secret Wars" We have Miles Morales and his family living in the 616, and his mom and dad don't seem to have any recollection that they don't belong there, like they've always been around. They have an apartment and an established life. Maybe Miles remembers, but his family is acting like "we've always lived these lives...what is this Ultimate non-sense?" That is one big Secret Wars change right there.

  4. Jason

    @22 "As for Secret Wars’s purpose, hahahaha, no. Secret Wars wasn’t there to get rid of AU’s, Secret Wars was to get rid of the F4 and to bring Miles into 616." Seems like Secret Wars is just a waste of paper - Marvel can easily kill off the Fantastic Four in the 616 universe. Want Miles in 616? Just have him walk through a wormhole or however 616 Spidey initially got there in the first place (I can't recall off the top of my head).

  5. Al

    @#3/20 Putting Gwen in high school isn’t a little rewrite. It literally changes their entire relationship and goes so far as to change the Master Planner trilogy itself. Sacrilege! But seriously, it changes too much stuff to shift the pieces like that. Continuity rewrites should only be accepted if they are incredibly additive or if we’ve been given cosmic resets. Thus far Secret Wars hasn’t done anything to indicate that the Marvel universe is any different or that it changed as result of Secret Wars. Something isn’t in continuity just because a Marvel staffer says so. It has to be something in the comic itself to indicate that so until modern continuity acknowledges anything lets not consider it in continuity. As for the issue itself…honestly…I thought it was harmless. It’s for little kids as their entry point. As for Secret Wars’s purpose, hahahaha, no. Secret Wars wasn’t there to get rid of AU’s, Secret Wars was to get rid of the F4 and to bring Miles into 616. Additionally we do not know the nature of Miles’ inclusion in the MU and everything about him being in the MU could honestly just be explained by saying their memories were re-written, which isn’t the same thing as a DC crisis. @#15: Peter’s reason for making money in AF #15 wasn’t exactly 100% selfish…but mostly. The idea that he did it to help his family is…problematic. It makes him a nice guy but that’s kind of against the point of AF #15. He got power and used it selfishly and self-indulgently and for reasons which were frivolous. Then he had to learn the hard way that his power wasn’t meant for that. It perfectly set up his ego and selfishness when he let the burglar go and made the lesson sink in all the harder. Having him use the power to help his family changes the morality of the story because in a sense he WAS using his power responsibly just not AS responsibly as he should have been. It also creates a problem on the occasions that he did go back to showbiz to make money every so often because he is now recreating the same conditions that led to Uncle Ben’s death. Accepting AF #15’s origin means that he is justified in doing that sometimes because he’s trying to help Aunt May. See what I mean? The crux of AF#15 wasn’t as simple as ‘stop the burglar’ it was ‘you shouldn’t use your powers for showbiz money in the first place.’ The story as a whole is about responsibility, if it isn’t the case it makes the rest of the story basically moot. @#18: Yeah kinda

  6. Jason

    @20 An interesting point, but could be hard for people to just accept. I still have trouble accepting the fact some things in Peter's life changed just by not having married MJ. Sure it's easy to change the mind of a comic book character and make it seem like this is the way it's always been, but unfortunately for human readers, there's no such thing as a mind wipe. This isn't Men in Black.

  7. WolfCypher

    An explanation to why this mess could still be considered canon is if this is now what Peter's early life as Spider-Man is after Secret Wars. If Secret Wars has the same effect on the Marvel Universe as your average DC Crisis, then who's to say that history hasn't been affected here and there? Due to Secret Wars, we have Miles Morales, and it looks like whether he remembers his past life or not, his family wont and canon is now going to say that Miles' mom and dad and friends have just always been in the core universe all this time.

  8. krankyboy

    I had some problems with the first issue of "Spidey" as well, for reasons that are too numerous to mention. But it's nice to have a Spider-Man book that actually somewhat resembles what the character should be (at least, in my opinion). The art is generally good, and I didn't have a gripe like the reviewer did with his first adventure taking place during a field trip, which is tried-and-true setting for the teen superhero genre. Beyond that, Spidey also had a good first month financially, ranking in the top 25 and selling over 65,000 issues. Not bad for an all-ages book. Of course, those numbers will go down, but it's a good start for Thompson and Bradshaw. Hopefully they'll settle into the title and future issues will improve.

  9. Tommy

    I'm sorry, but Gwen being Peter's tutor and being able to take out Flash Thompson like nothing is not only some serious Gwen-wanking, but it's super mary sue status that makes me cringe. Is it now going to be retconned that Gwen designed the spider tracers or she improved Spider-Man's webbing?

  10. hornacek

    @15 - Before Uncle Ben's death, Peter is talking and acting like a future supervillain. 1) When Flash and the gang ditch him, he says "Some day I'll show them! Some day they'll be sorry! -- Sorry that they laughed at me!" 2) After he gets his powers, the first thing he does is use them to make money. 3) When he lets the burglar go past him, he doesn't apologize to the cop, he tells him off, telling him "Save your breath, buddy! I've got things to do!" 4) When May and Ben give him a telescope, he thinks "I'll see to it that they're always happy, but the rest of the world can go hang for all I care!" (wow, Stan loved exclamation points) What If? #19 from 1980 does a pretty good job of showing what would happen to Peter if Ben hadn't gotten killed. Spoiler alert: he becomes a self-obsessed douchebag who goes Hollywood.

  11. RyanKnight

    I have to strongly disagree with you on one point. The comment about prehero Peter helping his family was spot on. The notion that Peter was purely selfish before his Uncle's death has been blown ridiculously out of proportion time and time again by adaptations for dramatic effect and it's shameful. That Peter was motivated to help his family before Ben's death became canon at latest with Parallel Lives and was reinforced by the Ultimate books.

  12. PeterParkerfan

    I still say we should pass the issue off as an alternate universe Spider-Man story regardless of whatever Marvel is spewing about it being a part of the 616 continuity. Let's call this universe EARTH-617!

  13. Jason

    @11 re Secret Wars - You'd think so, but then again, we have Web Warriors which might as well be an alternate universe.

  14. WEB SHOOTER

    Hey, is this Marvel's way of saying sorry for killing off the Ultimate Peter Parker and canceling Marvel Adventures Spider-Man?

  15. hornacek

    @6 - I could be wrong, but after this book was announced, everything I read said these were in-continuity stories. So if that's what Marvel is thinking, hoo-boy! @8 - Ditto. Great minds think alike! @9 - Others have already said similar issues in other books, but wasn't this what we had Secret Wars for? To get rid of the alternate universes?

  16. Jeff Gutman

    I think the attitude in NuMarvel is that continuity literally doesn't matter in any way. They see it as a hindrance and something that holds them back. I see this attitude come up over and over in every title. Having Gwen in High school with Peter is just more of the same.

  17. Jason

    An additional thought, if it's not in continuity, then it isn't the real Spider-Man and just some alternative universe version.

  18. Jason

    @6 I would have a hard time reading any Spider-Man title and not think how it fits into continuity. It's just the way my mind is wired after reading Spidey for 24 years.

  19. Mark Alford

    Sean, you are a nicer man than me. I would have flunked it. I was first disappointed that it wasn't continuity like I thought it was going to be. That doesn't completely Ron it gift me, though. Marvel Adventures was an all ages book set in it's own continuity That I bought for my son and I loved reading it myself. But then, like you said in the review, the awkward narration just completely took me out of it. It was just awful. I'll be reading your reviews to see if it gets better enough to start buying again.

  20. PeterParkerfan

    Spider-fans, don't think of this comic book as a "untold 616 Spidey story". Think of it as an alternate universe story, then it'll make much more sense. The Marvel staff has no idea what they're saying. There's NO WAY this could fit in the 616 continuity.

  21. hornacek

    @4 - Well, when I said I could "accept it" I meant that it wouldn't offend my sense of continuity (i.e. like "the genetically-modified actress" did). But that doesn't mean I would like it or buy it.

  22. Jason

    @3 Wow. Now I'm rethinking my decision to even get the trade paperback. There's no justification to just making things up when an established timeline has already been created. I don't know if I could be as accepting as you. I feel like the writers are playing "Quantum Leap" with the Spider-Verse, tampering with the past so the present fits in continuity. Unacceptable.

  23. hornacek

    Is there any discussion in the issue of whether or not this title is in continuity? Everything I've heard before this came out said that it was, but then not only do we have Peter and Gwen meeting before he goes to college, but they are in the same high school! I'm sounding like Bertone here, but no! This didn't happen! If this first issue says "This title is not in established continuity" then ok, I can accept that they will rewrite little bits of established continuity in order to have certain characters know each other earlier than when they actually met (expect Eddie Brock to show up in issue #3). I won't like it, but I can at least accept it. But if this title is supposed to be in continuity, either the writer (a) has no idea that Peter and Gwen went to different high school and didn't meet until he went to university (come on, look it up on Wikipedia!), or (b) he doesn't care and doesn't think the readers care. Just the description of this issue makes me love Untold Tales of Spider-Man more. Busiek really did his homework making sure his stories fit into the Lee/Ditko issues and that he didn't write anything that upset established continuity. I guess nowadays, Marvel just doesn't care about that.

  24. Jason

    I didn't read the entire review, just skimmed, but I'm disappointed in its low rating. I have not picked up the book, but planned on getting it in trade paperback form. I hope future issues improve in content.

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