Writers: J.J. Abrams & Henry Abrams
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inker: Elisabetha D’amico
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Oliver Coipel
Variant Cover Artists: Sara Pichelli & Dave Stewart; Chip Kidd; Ed McGuinness & Laura Martin; Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado; Jason Polan; Lee Bermejo
Nothing is stronger than the power of love. At least, nothing should be. But now and then, things don’t seem to abide by that age-old rule. Not for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, anyway. Standing before them, threatening their love and everything that matters to them is a new villain, Cadaverous, who needs Peter and seeks to get him by any means necessary. Who is he, and what does he want Peter for? And what will the consequences be if he doesn’t get his way?
It’s not much of an overstatement to say that this new title has been a pretty prominent talking point for the past couple of months, for better or for worse. From the accusations of nepotism to the incredibly suspicious count-down from the number four, this announcement of a new mini-series written by JJ Abrams and his son Henry Abrams has been soured on the tongues of many, many fans. After all, we already have so much Spidey content, from the main book to Friendly Neighborhood, to Spider-Man: Miles Morales and now Ghost-Spider, and not even mentioning the eventful juggernaut of Absolute Carnage. What could be so important about this new mini-series other than the fact that it has the Abrams name attached to it? Well, I’d say it’s the fact that it’s nothing at all like what it’s been advertised to be, and is one of the most shocking, surprising, and harrowing comics about the web-head I’ve read in recent memory that makes it pretty special.
To start, Pichelli’s art is just absolutely inspired and jaw-dropping, with some pages and panels, in particular, being some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. Stewart’s colors, as well, are crucial and effective, especially in the opening of the issue. Cadaverous’s design, while not being the most original of the bunch, is incredibly imposing and creepy in all the ways it needs to be. His minions, while there’s a clear correlation as to what they’re inspired by, are also well-done, and introduce something fresh in contrast to Peter and his world.
One of the most surprising things, other than the story, was how well-done it was written and executed. While I should be more well-informed about them, I don’t wanna spend too much time digging into the specifics of the whole behind-the-scenes situation, as they warrant a whole article entirely. But as far as I know, it seems to be pretty much confirmed that Henry Abrams is the main writer, with J.J. contributing to the overall story construction. With that in mind, it’s even more impressive just how good the writing and storytelling are. This is Henry’s first comic, and tackling something as huge and iconic as the web-head is no easy task, even for those who are neck-deep in the industry. It’s clear as day that he knows what makes the character tick, as well as what makes a good story for the character. Also, a nice bonus is that a lot of the scenarios remind me so much of J.J.’s other works, and as someone who’s a fan of his movies, that’s enough for me. I can’t doubt bring myself to doubt Henry Abrams anymore, and if this momentum is kept up, he’s gonna have a bright future in the industry.
There’s no way I could talk about the main story without giving away serious spoilers, but all that can be said is that it’s nothing anyone could expect. It truly feels like Marvel gave them no restrictions on what they could do, and that excites me for the future issues of this mini-series. The story beats are so effective and impactful, and the creative choices are clearly familiar, yet still entirely fresh. It’s been ages since we’ve gotten a unique and unexpected Spidey story, in my opinion, and this just might be one for the history books if everything goes well.
Overall, this issue has sparked something in me that I haven’t felt in a good while from reading comics. It threw me for several loops and shows no signs of stopping in that department. That alone deserves all the praise in the world in my book, and I haven’t been this excited to see where a story is going in a long, long time. Strap yourselves in, folks, because J.J. and Henry are about to take us on a wild ride. Hopefully, it’ll keep up the momentum without derailing by the end.