Spidey learns to channel his inner nerd and Spartan in order to take on the ferocious Sandman!
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Nick Bradshaw
Color Artist: Jim Campbell
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Axel Alonso, Devin Lewis, & Nick Lowe
Plot: Struggling in a swirling pool of sand, Spidey thinks back to how his day began. Thus the scene transitions to Peter getting ready for school and Aunt May noticing that he is acting peculiar. Peter has changed his shirt several times. Aunt May says “Peter you’re going to be fine. Just be yourself.” To this advice Peter contemplates about his various “selves”: his “nerdy,” “dork,” “broke,” and “Spidey” self.
In the next scene Peter is in history class and gets humiliated for not knowing “what gave General Leonidas the advantage.” After his class ends he has a tutoring session with Gwen Stacey. The session with Gwen was the cause of his insincerity about his shirt. Through the anxiety Peter employs his “nerdy” self and impresses Gwen with a Lord of the Rings reference: “You… shall… pass!“
After school, Peter now in his Spidey garb patrols the city and still marveling at the fact that him and Gwen have something in common, their love of Lord of the Rings.
Due to his spider-sense Spidey comes across a bank that has been broken into. Before entering the bank Spidey thinks about ways to earn money and webs up his camera to a light post in order to capture pictures.
Spidey enters the bank and once inside the sand starts to swirl about and man made of sand attacks him. Spidey recognizes the man as a thief known as Flint Marko aka the Sandman. Spidey’s attacks prove to be pointless as it just passes through Sandman. Due to Sandman’s range and destructive power the battle ends up outside the bank and Spidey notices that people are getting hurt. Spidey takes a duffel bag from Sandman, which holds the stolen bank money, in order to lure Sandman away from the public. This enrages Sandman and he unleashes a volley of attacks at Spidey.
Spidey recognizes that the situation is getting out of hand and resolves to end the confrontation. Spidey leads Sandman to a construction site and encases the Sandman in cement.
The issue then ends with Peter telling Aunt May that thanks to her advice everything worked out great.
Analysis (The Audience Question): This comic book has made me think deeply about its intended audience. This is an important question to ask because I need to know if my critique of the book is warranted. So let us tackle this question.
First off the comic book is rated T (teen) meaning it should be geared toward people aged at least 13 years and onward. Many comic books rated T such as Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 are entertaining for people not only in their teens but much older. Although Spidey is rated T it does not share the tone and maturity that the other spider titles hold. When I read Spidey I get the same vibe I get when I see the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. For those unfamiliar with the Ultimate Spider-Man series it is a Disney adapted Spider-Man series that is intended for young children and preteens. I recall watching the show and not liking it. But my 12 year old sister (her age at the time of our first viewing) did and at that moment I realized that it is not geared for 20 somethings but for preteens and young children.
This is the same feeling I get when I read Spidey, that it is meant for young children and preteens. It would make sense given the style of the writing and artwork.
If indeed the comic book is aimed for young children then this book most likely is not aimed at long time Spider-Man fans. Spider-Man fans are typically much older than young children and preteens. It would make more sense that this comic book is aimed toward the same children that enjoy the Disney Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.
Overall I am a bit bewildered as to who the actual audience of this comic book is aimed toward. I would not think it is geared toward the same demographic that reads the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 comics. And I do not believe it is geared toward long time Spidey fans. Furthermore since it is rated T, I will treat it as I would any other Spider-Man comic book.
Analysis (Writing & Art): I will say that this issue is an improvement when compared to the opening issue. The narration, writing and overall theme is stronger than the first issue. The first issue’s writing had errors that brought down the issue. Despite being better than issue one this issue still has its flaws. The positives and negatives in this issue in many ways cancel each other out. For nearly every positive I also found a negative to accompany it. Therefore this issue for me is slightly below average as a Spider-Man comic.
While the writing of the comic book may be appropriate for a final draft, its artwork is not. The characterization of characterization of supportive characters are also severely lacking which is a problem that has been brought over from the first issue.
It must also be said that I am only so critical of this comic book because I have seen the premise of a young Spider-Man done better in another Spider-Man comic book. The characters both supporting and main characters are fleshed out, the writing is mature and well written and the story overall feels true to Spider-Man. The comic book I am talking about of course is the Untold Tales of Spider-Man.
Pro: (1) The overall theme of “just be yourself” and how Spidey is depicted as trying to balance his life is done well in this issue. This trope is a familiar one for Spider-Man comics and I enjoyed its depiction here.
(2)The third and the fourth page feels like classic Spider-Man. The image of Spidey fighting his way through sand highlights that he is way over his head.
(3)When Peter constantly changes his shirt as he gets ready for school it feels realistic. Peter wants to impress Gwen but feels like he needs to be someone else. None of his shirts are good enough he thinks. Also when Aunt May tells him to “Just be yourself” this is a line a mother would tell her son who is trying to impress someone.
(4)The issue also does a great job of giving foreshadow for the Daily Bugle.
(5)The quips in this issue are actually funny. The exchange between Sandman and Spidey is quite good as well.
(6)Luring Sandman away from civilians shows Spidey/Peter as a responsible and clever hero. Although Spidey/Peter talks about how popular his instangram is, he does care more about the people around him. When he sees that innocent people are getting hurt he moves the battle else where. This is hero 101 but it shows growth for Peter when you compare it to his origin story. This action also shows his cleverness, in that he sees that the Sandman cares a lot about money so he uses that insight to lure the Sandman away from the public.
(7)The depiction of Sandman and his action sequences were top notch. I enjoyed watching the Sandman in action.
(8)Spidey’s cleverness shines through again when he lures Sandman to a construction site and traps him in cement.
Cons: (1) Kraven The Hunter only gets a cameo in this issue.
(2) When they show Spidey pondering about his “dork” self, why is he still getting bullied. I thought Peter has superpowers. I am not saying he should beat up Flash but Flash should not have him pinned on the floor neither.
(3) In history class Peter is unable to answer a question to which Gwen tells him the answer after he leaves the classroom. The problem is: are they in the same class? How did she hear what the history teacher said unless she was there? In the history class scene Gwen is nowhere to be found.
(4) I am a little curious where Gwen fits in this high school’s hierarchy. We all know from the last issue that Flash is popular, Peter is unpopular but Gwen we have no idea. She knocked out Flash last issue so she’s popular. But she’s tutoring Peter so she is not popular. The real question is: why did we get background on Flash but not Gwen? Gwen is obviously more important to the story than Flash.
(5) Has Spidey learned nothing from Kickass? You should not have an instangram account because that is how people will trace you. I do not understand how he can be smart enough to invent webbing and web shooters but does not know that an instangram account can expose his identity.
(6) Although I enjoy this fight, it does feel like a cliché Spider-Man fight. I feel like I have seen this exact fight with the exact resolution on an animated series.
(7) The villain is very one dimensional. Spidey even says at one point “Since all he cares about is money.” I would have liked a little more depth. For crying out loud this a man that can turn into sand, so can we have a more complex character.
(8) What does Aunt May do all day? Does she work or stay at home? This is a single parent household and it would be nice to know how the bills are getting paid.
(9) The artwork of this issue was not consistent. There is one panel with Gwen and she appears to have aged about twenty years and her coloring is much darker. But in the next panel she reverts to her youthful and brightly colored self. What happened?
(10) Although it was fun to watch the Sandman in action, it was not fun to watch Spidey in action. There are several spots in the Spidey vs. Sandman fight in which Spidey is not completely colored and drawn. This was a big flaw for me especially considering this comic book costs $3.99. I want my money’s worth which means a finished book!
In conclusion this issue is slightly below average. I had some fun reading it but there are some serious flaws that need to be worked out. The characterization of characters besides Spidey needs to be fleshed out. The last issue has a proofreading problem and the artwork in this one is inconsistent. The editors need to be on top of this new comic book.
My Grade for Spidey #2 is a C minus.