Tuesday, June 19, 2012


For me, the first two issues of a comic book is make or brake time.  It's the possibility for a home run or a first and second strike in a game with only two strikes before you're out. We live in financially precarious times and many comic book budgets have been cut down drastically. Mine included. Writers are taking a chance by giving us decompressed stories with few hooks in the first couple issues. So if a comic doesn’t really have me completely sold on it’s story by issue 2, then I cut that title loose. Of course it’s always possible that I’ll revisit it again when it becomes a trade and is for sale at a discount on Amazon. But these days I am far more selective about monthly comic purchases than ever before in my 40 year career as a comic book reader and collector. To stick with a title or give up. That is the question. I’m currently at such a crossroads with four different titles at the moment and I’ll be examining the first two issues of each of these new series in the following four posts.

THE SPIDER 1&2. Dynamite Entertainments The Spider is one of the latest pulp characters to be revived for a new generation. Instead of keeping the character in the 1930s, writer David Liss has transplanted the Spider to contemporary times. Richard Wentworth aka The Spider is a no holds barred vigilante. A veteran of an unnamed war. In the pulp magazines of the thirties, Wentworth was in love with best friend Commissioner Kirkpatrick’s daughter Nita. Here, Nita is a high powered print and cable news editor. Instead of being the daughter of the Commissioner, she’s his husband. This complicates things a bit as Wentworth is still in love with Nita. Seems Wentworth was going to marry Nita but was about to be deployed a second time and he didn’t think he’d return so he broke off the relationship rather cruelly.

Now they’re friends and the only way Wentworth can still keep some kind of closeness to Nita is to share with her that he is, in fact, the vigilante known as the Spider. The first issue does an exceptional and efficient job of setting up who Wentworth is, what his motivations are as well as letting us know about the other characters in his orbit. We also get lots of great, action packed, vigilante violence. Also in this first issue we find out that a certain Detective Joe Hilt suspects Wentworth of being the Spider and he isn’t shy about voicing his opinion to anyone who’ll listen. By the end of the issue we find out that some kind of military grade nerve gas is turning people into violent zombies.

One of which gets their head blown off by the chief architect of this villainy, a voice on the phone known only as Anput. In issue two we see the number of citizens being turned into zombies has escalated. We find out more about the villainess called Anput. How tragic circumstances led her and her mother from Cairo to New York, where her mother died from not being able to get proper medical attention due to lack of insurance. Anput then became a prostitute who trained and turned herself into an even more fearsome and ruthless vigilante than the Spider could ever hope to be. Issue one and two of The Spider are fast paced, well written, with characters full of potential.

Anput makes for a great villain for the Spider to face off against. Her motivations make her sympathetic and that’s the mark of a great villain. Wentworth aka The Spider is also well written by David Liss. Liss gives us a ruthless, cynical vigilante yet one who is nursing a broken heart and who is trying to maintain a closeness to a lost love that is the wife of his best friend. Lots of juicy, complex melodrama to be found here. I am also enjoying the dark, moody, dynamic art of Colton Worley. Issue one was excellent, issue two was just as good. The Spider is a comic that has completely won me over and I’ll be sticking with this series for the foreseeable future.

No comments:

Post a Comment