Current Reviews


Spectacular Spider-Man #1

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artists: Humberto Ramos (p), Wayne Faucher (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Something is attacking the good people of New York, and draining their adrenal glands, and the creature responsible should look quite familiar to Spider-Man fans that were reading the series in the 1990s. Yes, Venom is back, and this time it would appear the alien half is either acting alone, or has dominated Eddie Brock so completely, that he no longer has any control over the creature. The issue ends with Spider-Man confronting the creature.

I'm not really sure why the book needed to be relaunched, as this issue is pretty much a continuation of the plots that Paul Jenkins had going in the other series. Even the new creative team excuse doesn't really hold water as it's really just the return of the same creative team we had before. Oh well, I'm not going to make too big a fuss about it, as I'm a diehard Spider-Man fanboy so any ploy that Marvel can come up with that doesn't cost me anymore money is perfectly fine in my books. As for the issue at hand, this opening arc marks the return of Venom to the Spider-Man books, and I've heard some rumblings that some fans are annoyed at this issue as it tipped the hand of a story that is playing out in Venom's regular series. However, since I'm not buying that series, I have little problem with this series acting as my introduction to the new status quo that has been cooked up for Venom, as it would appear that the alien half is now a vampire like entity that jumps from host to host, draining it's victim's adrenal glands. However, this issue also offers up a look at Eddie Brock, and the art seems to suggest he's still connected to the creature. This issue is a fairly interesting read, and the battle in the subway tunnel is nice & intense, plus it ends with a pretty exciting cliffhanger.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of Humberto Ramos' exaggerated style, and frankly I don't think it lends itself all that well to the down-to-earth, hard luck hero adventures that we normally see in these pages. However, I can't deny that he does deliver one creepy looking version of Venom, and his action does have a way of leaping off the page. Plus, having seen the work of a half-a-dozen other artists who are trying to mimic his style, I have to credit Humberto Ramos for being the best version when it comes to clarity, and design sense.

Final Word:
Spider-Man is not a book that ventures into the creepy corners of the Marvel Universe all that often, as about the only Spider-Man story that really sticks in my mind as a truly scary story would have to be "Kraven's Last Hunt". However, if there's one Spider-Man villain who lends himself to the creepy villain lurking in the shadows archetype, I would have to say Venom certainly makes for a fine choice. Plus, speaking as a fan who was bored to death of the old "I'll eat your brains" version of the character, I welcome this new take on the character. The book also offers up some fairly interesting out-of-costume material, as we look in on Flash Thompson, who is still in a coma, but it would appear that physically he's emerged from the accident in pretty decent shape. I do have to wonder about this book's linkage to the events playing out in the sister title though, as it seems to present Peter as a swinging bachelor, while over in Amazing Spider-Man Mary Jane is back as a regular part of his life.

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