Comics : Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1

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This story is part of an Arc: "Down Among the Dead Men"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Marvel have been threatening a new Spidy title for awhile now. At first, Kevin Smith was to helm it and write an ongoing Black Cat series. Then it was going to be JMS, while Kevin took over Amazing. Then everyone just faced reality and that Kevin can't keep comic book deadlines and ruled him out of the equation. Finally it was decided that the team that brought us 'Trouble', fan favourites Mark Millar and the Dodsons, would launch a new title under the Marvel Knights imprint. Apparently this book will differ from the other Spidey titles in that it will be more 'adult'.

In Detail...

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #1
Jun 2004 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Down Among the Dead Men"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Mark Millar
Pencils:  Terry Dodson
Inker:  Rachel Dodson
Cover Art:  Terry Dodson
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Review
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (SM:MK) #1
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Scorpion (BTS)

This issue starts with Spidey being trashed by the Green Goblin. Spidey fights back and eventually wins, webbing up the Goblin for the police, while an ungrateful public riles hims. Apparantly the Goblin had gotten tired of their truce and kidnapped some hostages to force Spidey into a face-off.

Later, Peter arrives via taxi at Aunt May's Forrest Hills home battered and bruished. He's supposed to be helping her move, but instead everyone atttends to Pete's wounds. Then they start reminscing. In a tree outside, someone dark figure hangs upside down and keeps watch on the house.

The next day Pete is at school teaching when some of the kids revealed they've discovered Pete's past as a Daily Bugle photographer. They begin to ask him questions when the class is interrupted by another teacher who tells Peter he has a phone call.

We then see Peter at a local graveyard staring at Uncle Ben's smashed headstone. The call was about the vandalism. Pete's a bit disturbed by the act, while he's discussing repairs with the attendant his mobile rings. It's that upside down stranger again, he threatens Peter, telling him he knows his secret identity. He intimates that he's going after Aunt May.

Pete webswings across town in his cilvilian guise, throwing caution to the wind, so that he reach Aun May in time. When he arrives he finds her apartment ransacked...

In General...

This issue was a lot better than I was expecting. The dialog, pacing and art were pretty much spot on. The plot is interesting and takes a slightly more realistic approach to some things, i.e. the silly truce thing between Spidey and the Green Goblin (though really, the silly thing is that Spidey keeps the truce!) and what a true villain would do with the knowledge of his secret identity.

There is a Marvel Knights feel to the book, the fight scene at the beginning is more brutal than usually depicted. The dialog is also a bit more mature. There's room for some character moments as well, I particularly liked the school scene where Pete's students figure out his 'secret'.

There were some little problems though and its no surprise that its mainly to do with continuity. My knowledge may be a little rusty on some details, but I am sure that May has moved out of the Forest Hills house at least once before, most recently when she lived in that apartment with Peter and MJ after the reboot. I'm pretty sure Anna Watson lived there during that time, so it wasn't sold. The point is, there's a big deal made about Aunt May moving out of the family home, when its happened before and no mention is made. What's more is that we're supposed to believe that Peter's room has been kept exactly as it was when he was a boy! That just deosn't jive, especially when you consider that the house has been 'rented' out before.

The other thing that gets me is the Green Goblin being wrapped up almost as an aside. The scene is great and I see its point in the story, but its does seem a bit easy. I wasn't happy with the status quo at the moment and the silly 'truce' that Spidey and the Goblin had. But, at the same time, to have things resolved in such an off-hand way seems to be a bit of cheat. I'd really like to see the issue of how Peter could've let a man he knows is evil and muderous roam around. Especially a man who had killed some of his loved ones, disabled others and generally screwed with your life in a big way.

Besides those things, this issue is a promising start to a new series. I'm intrigued by the shadow villain. The obvious guess seems that its the Vulture, but I think that's a red herring.

Overall Rating...

Good stuff, bad continuity.