Getting Chip Zdarsky to write PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN is the biggest win Marvel Comics has had in ages. We’re only two issues in and there’s a lot going on. Spidey enlists Ironheart to learn more about the hacked Stark cell phones. His sister-but-not-really shows up on his doorstep ready to blow the whistle on a SHIELD plot to take out all superhumans. And, in the best part of this issue, we get to see Spidey’s coffee date with the ever-intriguing Rebecca. Which of course goes off the rails in true Spidey-like ridiculousness.
Zdarsky masterly balances all these events and keeps the momentum going, like one of those performers you’d see in a circus, spinning multiple plates atop pool cues. The accent on comedy is extremely high. In the early days, Stan Lee has said that Peter Parker relied on his sense of humor and comedic skills to over compensate for the fact he was terrifed when going into combat with super villains. But now in Zdarsky’s hands, so many years later, with so many bizarre occurrences and innumerable tragedies having happened to Spider-Man, it reminds me a of a line from a Jimmy Buffett song- “If I couldn’t laugh, then I’d just go insane.”
I’m still not convinced that Adam Kubert’s art is the right fit for this comic. Maybe I’m just nitpicking, and I can’t really find any faults with it per se, but his sketchy style just seems so firmly rooted in the “extreme” 90’s that it doesn’t suit this more refreshing modern take on Spider-Man. I’d rather see him on an X-book than with our friendly neighbourhood web-spinner.
Kubert does have a couple of moments that really shine in this issue. The image of Spidey piggybacking on Ironheart as they soar across New York really sums up the sense of fun of this book. And the sense of the absurdity of it all is reinforced in the date scene when Spidey arrives in full costume, albeit wearing a blazer over top. Stay classy Pete.
Creative teams don’t seem to stick around for very long anymore. Marvel can afford to lose Kubert on this book, but please, keep Zdarsky. Throw some more Eisner Awards at him. He’s worth it.
PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2 – MARVEL
WRITER- CHIP ZDARSKY
ART- ADAM KUBERT
Review by J.P. Harvey