There’s a reason why Spider-Man is one of the most popular comic book heroes ever made, it’s because he’s a normal kid. Peter Parker isn’t a billionaire, he isn’t a super-soldier, or an alien refugee, or any of the amazing origins people expect from a hero. He’s an every-person, he’s a character that almost all readers can identify with on some level, and a hero that readers could picture themselves being.
Over the years the character has become a lot more complex, and numerous people have take up a ‘spider’ mantle of their own, meaning that despite his popularity it can be difficult for new readers to know where to being with the character. This is where Marvel Action: Spider-Man comes in.
The new series, written by long-time Spider-Man fan Delilah S. Dawson, brings together three of the most iconic spider heroes, Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, and Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman (known as Spider-Gwen among fans). The book is designed as a jumping on point for readers, one that isn’t ‘focusing on origin or history’, but telling it’s own story.
This first issue introduces us to a young Peter Parker, aged only 16. Much like his original comics and the new Tom Holland movies this Peter is still in school, balancing his nerdy school life with the pressures and adventure of being Spider-Man. Instead of focusing on his school life, however, which has been done so many times in numerous versions of the Spider-Man story, this series follows Peter as he enters an internship programme at the Daily Bugle, where he ends up in a group with Miles and Gwen.
Whilst there’s initially not much indication that there is more than one spider hero in this universe when huge mutant dogs start attacking the city Peter, as Spider-Man, soon discovers that Miles also has incredible powers much like his own. The issue ends with Peter figuring out that Miles is like himself, and determined to learn more about his new friend. Throughout this first issue there’s nothing that shows Gwen has powers too, but considering that Spider-Gwen is featured both on this cover and the cover for issue two it’s a pretty solid conclusion that she does.
The first issue doesn’t have huge amounts of action, nor does it introduce any kind of villain or big-bad for Spidey to fight, because it’s chosen to focus on the characters instead. This immediately makes me think about some of the earlier Spider-Man comics, and the start of the Ultimate Spider-Man series, which built a solid foundation for itself with strong central characters.
The artwork, provided by Fico Ossio, is absolutely gorgeous, and immediately evokes the same sense of style that Ultimate Spider-Man had at the beginning of it’s run, especially in some of the ways the young Peter is drawn. Miles doesn’t stand out too much in this first issue, mainly thanks to him wearing a plain grey hoodie, he’s well drawn and instantly recognisable as the character. Gwen, on the other hand, stands out as the best looking of the three, with her civilian look combining her traditional comic book look, whilst also making nods to her super-hero alter-ego with her hooded coat and pink in her hair.
What really stands out in this issue is Spider-Man’s suit. Whilst not making a huge leap away from the classic design it has little touches that make it different enough to stand out, without looking too strange. He has very clear soles on the bottom of his boots, which have been changed from the traditional red to blue, he’s got blue wrist pieces that presumably hold his webshooters that break up the red along his arms, along with a few other small changes. The overall effect is one where it’s clearly Spider-Man, yet he’s distinct enough to not be mistaken for the regular Spidey.
With issue one being a tiny introduction to this new universe there’s still a lot left unanswered, but the book doesn’t feel lacking in any way. We’re going to learn more about these new versions of the characters soon, and we’re going to get to see this awesome spider team in action. I can’t wait until issue two to get more.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1 is now available from IDW Publishing.