THE SPIDER Crawls Back from History to Save the Day!
Nov 12, 2012
What is it with New York City? Undoubtedly, the streets of the Big Apple have the best and the worst of what the world has to offer. There’s endless crime, tireless suffering, and it all looks as dark and grim in the sunlight as it did under cover of nightfall. Still, where there’s criminals, there’s bound to be a vigilante – or, at least, there is in the world of pulps and comic books, and that’s precisely what’s at work in Dynamite Comics’ latest relaunch of the legendary mask, The Spider!
(NOTE: the following review will contain minor spoilers solely for the discussion of the plot and characters. If you just want a thumbs up or down, then please skip to the last paragraph. Otherwise, read on …)
Rapes, muggings, and murders aplenty take place on every corner of the big city, but, thankfully, The Spider is back. Wearing a dark trench, waving his trademark .45s at anything that poses a threat, and hiding under the mask of a web, he’s grown comfortably dispatching only the worst dregs preying on the weaknesses of others. But, as fate would have it, a new scoundrel going by the name of Anput – an Egyptian goddess – has a new weapon to turn unsuspecting victims into mindless zombies. The Spider is on the case, but can he stop her in time before the city is reduced to chaos? You’ll have to tune in for more than a first issue to know the answer, my friend!
This is a relaunch, and it’s smart, tight, and grim as one would expect from with an entertainment franchise that originated in the pulps of the 30’s and 40’s. With a story by David Liss, art by Colton Worley, and letters by Simon Bowland, THE SPIDER (Issue #1) is everything I read comics for: action, heroics, and unrestrained justice. The Spider always was a bit of a creative amalgam – someone who was one part Bruce Wayne (the millionaire behind The Batman) and one part “The Shadow,” Lamont Cranston’s alter-ego who likewise protected the innocent by dispatching evildoers wherever he found them – and, in this new version of his adventures, Liss has brought the vigilante into the modern world not unlike what Christopher Nolan recently accomplished (and concluded) in his theatrical DARK KNIGHT trilogy of Batman films. Liss’s New York looks and feels very similar, but his ‘Spider’ acts much more out of street smarts with guns firing. He isn’t weighted down by a moral code requiring him to not kill the baddies; quite frankly, The Spider could care less about moral codes, and it shows!
I’m not as familiar with ‘The Spider’ as I am the early days of ‘The Shadow’ and ‘Batman,’ but, if Liss’s work serves as any inspiration, I’ll definitely be checking it out in the days ahead … as I will be hanging with this comic for the time being.
THE SPIDER (Issue #1) comes from Dynamite Entertainment, and “The Spider” was created by Harry Steeger.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. If you like pulp (I do, yes, please! More! More!), then you’d do well to check out Dynamite Entertainment’s latest incarnation of THE SPIDER (Issue #1). Despite the fact that there’s little back-story provided here, it’s a great first outing with everything you’d come to expect from a masked superhero created in the era of pulps: action, blazing .45s, bloodshed, and plenty of deaths. The bad guys get almost exactly what they have coming to them, and that’s a rare thing in today’s world.
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About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more