Spectacular Spider-Men #1 Reviews 

“The Spectacular Spider-Men” #1

By | March 8th, 2024
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Since there are multiple Spider-Men floating around Marvel these days, it’s a fantastic opportunity to boil the character down to its essence and find out what really makes them so successful. At the moment, I can think of two things.

The first is suffering the endless torment of doing the right thing in the most inconvenient way possible. It doesn’t matter how much it hurts, it doesn’t matter the price to pay, and it doesn’t matter how lonely it is, the spider person will do the right thing in the name of Uncle Ben’s (or his narrative equivalent) memory.

The second thing he’s most famous for are his quips. Let’s see how well “The Spectacular Spider-Men” #1 deals with both.

Cover by: Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado
Written by Greg Weisman
Illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Inked by Victor Olazaba
Colored by Edgar Delgado
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna

The stars of two of Marvel’s biggest series come together in their first ongoing series ever! That’s right, Peter Parker and Miles Morales are going to team up on the regular, comparing notes and using said notes to take on some of their most dangerous bad guys. This duo is better than dynamic, amazing, sensational, superior…they’re SPECTACULAR! And with GREG WEISMAN, writer of the fan-favorite animated Spectacular Spider-Man series, returning to Spidey along with Spider-Legend HUMBERTO RAMOS, you know it’s going to be epic.

It’s a Peter Parker and Miles Morales team up! The two Spider-Men are thrust into the middle of a mystery when a hulked up version of the Jackal begins rampaging through Empire State University. Meanwhile, Peter has taken the younger Miles under his wing as a sort of mentor and has been showing him around the ESU campus, sending not too subtle signals that he should apply and become a student. It’s a slice of life story juxtaposed with life threatening action and dangerous science, so of course it has all the makings of a classic Spider-Man story.

“The Spectacular Spider-Men” #1 is written by Greg Weisman, who is more famous for creating the Gargoyles tv show, working on the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon, and for producing a lot of Star Wars content and cartoons for DC. It’s quite the resume for a comic book writer and Weisman wastes no time showing his love for the character. Weisman has crafted some fantastic action for Miles and Peter to chew through and the fight scene dialogue is fantastically written. The two characters play off each other very well and there’s a sense of easy going fun as Peter and Miles do their level best to contain a rampaging creature with the strength and rage of the Hulk. On top of that, there’s a sense of respect and a willingness to teach and be taught as the older Peter shows Miles the proverbial ropes. The friendship between the two is palpable and if the entire issue was just the two characters trading quips while fighting monsters, the issue would be amazing.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to “The Spectacular Spider-Man” #1 than kicking butt and trading one liners, and it’s here where the problems start. While the action part of the book is great, it does fall apart in the quieter and more mundane moments. Yes, Peter and Miles are well written, but the book veers out on tangents that feel random and unnecessary and there are characters that are barely written and have no reason to be in this book. The fight between the two Spider-Men and the Jackel is great, but the mystery as to why the Jackel got there in the first place and why he’s so angry isn’t very well set up and feels confusing. Also, it feels like this book could have been better paced and a lot clearer if it was shorter, since the book is a decadent thirty pages of art, which for a comic book is pretty big. The simple fact is that while the Spider-Man part of the story is great, the Peter Parker part of the story is sorely lacking, and as a result the book feels a bit off.

Continued below

The artwork sees the return of Spider-Man legend Humberto Ramos, who helped define the look and feel of the character in the early 2000’s and who deserves to stand among the other comic book legends who have built Spider-Man up through the decades. Ramos’ style has a flexible and highly energetic feel that has some pretty clear manga influences, but is distinctly his own. While his faces are simple and easily contorted, and while he may not pay the most attention to how the human body can bend, it’s a great style for Spider-Man, especially in the action. There’s an amazing sense of energy and inertia as Peter and Miles swing through the city, and seeing their bodies twist and contort as they fight is just so cool to see. It looks like Ramos is having fun drawing the characters again, and as a result the audience has a lot of fun as well.

While it’s wonderful to see such a great artist back drawing what he loves, there’s also something that feels a bit different with “The Spectacular Spider-Men” #1. Whenever I read a new Marvel book I always seem to go back to the fact that hey all seem to look and feel a bit similar. There have been times when the art feels like it was created with a lot of editorial oversight and the colors on the page look like they share the same artistic philosophy, even if they have a different colorist in the credits.The same thing kind of applies here and even though Ramos’ style does shine through in spots, there’s a weird sense that this book has been drawn using the now ubiquitous Marvel house style. It’s not bad, it’s just a bit of a shame that Marvel isn’t giving each comic its own unique feel and isn’t willing to experiment with new things.

“The Spectacular Spider-Men” #1 is a book of contrasts. On one hand it is a fantastic Spider-Man story filled with some great action, clever one liners, and creative solutions to super villain problems. On the other hand, the mundane and ordinary lives of Peter Parker and Miles Morals seem to be treated as an afterthought, which does put a damper on the book.

Final Verdict: 6.1- It’s a great Spider-Man story, but the Peter Parker and Miles Morales bits feel confusing, disjointed, and in need of a rewrite.

Matthew Blair

Matthew Blair hails from Portland, Oregon by way of Attleboro, Massachusetts. He loves everything comic related, and will talk about it for hours if asked. He also writes a web comic about a family of super villains which can be found here: https://tapas.io/series/The-Secret-Lives-of-Villains