Spider-Man (2019) #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on September 18, 2019

Writers: J.J. Abrams & Henry Abrams
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inking Assistant: Elisabetta D’Amico
Color Artist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            This one kind of has a stigma already. There’s a reason I tend to talk about these kinds of books: they’re easy to talk about. I mean, how many great up and coming writers got denied a book because the Abrams had this one approved? And the count down, oh good lord, the count down! Let’s get started in 4…3…2…

            I think aside from the aforementioned controversies surrounding this title, what will upset people about the actual contents of this issue is just how mismarketed it was. Marvel made it sound like a more or less normal Spider-Man title with an A-list name and his kid behind the wheel, but this story is definitely not just that. This issue has a twelve-year time skip, is most definitely not in 616 continuity, and follows a protagonist who isn’t Peter Parker. It also features the death of a major character of the Spider-Man mythos as a footnote in its pages. Given that the book is just called “Spider-Man”, I suspect most people will be hoping for something to closer match the title’s oh-so-nostalgic font. The story sets up an interesting enough presence for the coming issues, although I could easily see it feeling unoriginal for reasons that are kind of a spoiler. The dialogue is pretty corny sometimes. There’s a bully here who is just the cheesiest high school bully movie trope you could possibly imagine. I’m also really, really not a fan of it when writers have MJ call Peter “Tiger” constantly. It gives me the vibe that they don’t really know much about their relationship beyond that. Some characters’ decisions and feelings make no sense, given earlier events in the issue that would also be pretty big spoilers. The protagonist just isn’t very interesting so far, and that goes for the newcomer Cadaverous, too. He’s... a lot like a Star Wars villain, which in and of itself is kind of funny. But he’s pretty dull so far.

            Sara Pichelli’s art isn’t really my thing. There are some undeniably great shots in here, though. Her work with Dave Stewart’s coloring gives such a strong air of cold, uncaring, and unbiased destruction that set the tone for the opener quite well. The faces don’t do it for me, though. The emotions seem so constrained some times. Whenever a character screams, it looks more like they’re just calmly raising their voice, because the faces are always wrinkle free and their eyebrows are straight. It creates a major disconnect. I find myself saying this next part a lot lately: the colorist is the MVP here. Like I said before, Stewart’s colors are a big part of why scenes work as much as they do, even if the other factors are holding him back. Less is more and there a several pages where he shows that exceptionally. He’s always mindful of lighting and the shading is smooth.

            I can’t really recommend this book to most people. If you’re a diehard Abrams fan, you’re going to buy it anyways. Anyone else will be left underwhelmed by dishonest marketing, a so far uninteresting hero and villain, and art that usually doesn’t go all the way to make you believe what the book is trying to tell you. I can only recommend this book if you’re up for a passing-the-torch story, but even then, it’s kind of unoriginal.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Olivier Roth's picture
I saw the spoiler of who dies and what the premise of the book was and it immediately turned me off of it.