After something of a lacklustre start to this third version of Marvel Action: Spider-Man, things finally seem to be moving in an interesting direction as our wall crawling hero comes up against the villain Scorpion.
The issue begins with Peter starting his first day as part of the Oscot Tombstone, the school newspaper, whilst also dealing with the news that the TV are blaming Spider-Man for a series of robberies because the person responsible was able to climb walls. Even though the footage shows someone dressed in green and wearing a mechanical tail it seems like Spidey is getting the blame for it. So now Peter’s having to juggle reporting the news whilst being the news himself.
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This story makes for some interesting moments, though it does seem a little bit ridiculous that Spider-Man is being blamed when it’s clearly not him committing the crimes; though this is something the book itself does acknowledge. The main focus, however, is the investigation that Peter and one of his friends make into the secret areas of the school, something that comes back later in the issue to tie into the ‘surprise’ revelation that his teacher Mr Gargan is the Scorpion.
Whilst this is treated as a big moment in the book it’s something long time fans will see coming a mile away, and it was foreshadowed in the very first issue. Thankfully the book doesn’t really linger on this too much and makes the fight between Spider-Man and Scorpion the main focus of the back half of the issue. The fight is fun, and makes some interesting use of the location to give Spidey the edge that he needs to best the bad guy.
I didn’t enjoy the first issue of this series that much, but it definitely seems like things have improved with this one. The script felt snappier, and writers Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins seem to be having a better time telling the story now that the new groundwork of the first issue is done with. They kept things fairly interesting, and began setting up teases for upcoming villains pretty well in the final moments of the issue. That being said, the book is still pretty light on characterisation, and it still feels like most of the characters have yet to be given much beyond a basic personality, though I’m hoping this is something that will change as the series goes on and we get to spend more time with the characters.
The issue also has some really nice artwork from Arianna Florean and Valentina Pinto. It often feels less like a comic, and more like you’re looking at screenshots from an animated show, due in large part to the minimalist line work and colour choices; two things that come together to make the action sequences in particular look pretty good.
Whilst the changes the title has gone through since the last volume feel less exciting than what came before, the book is certainly becoming more interesting, and the cover reveal for issue three at the back of the book, and the villain that’s going to be coming with that one certainly makes me interested in seeing what new things this relaunch is going to bring to the table.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.