Writers: Dan Slott
Artists: Paco Medina; Ty Templeton
Colorist: Erick Arciniega; Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
Release Date: November 1, 2023
In Spider-Man #11, Spider-Boy sensed a man was in danger. When he touched a freshly washed shirt hanging out to dry, young Bailey Briggs realized Gutterball was to blame. Can Spider-Boy save the man from the villain? Let’s fwip into Spider-Boy #1 and find out!
Our heroes hurtle into Lucky Lane’s bowling alley. Aided by Spider-Man, Spider-Boy saves the endangered man, the proprietor, and others from Gutterball. Yet everyone regards Bailey with horror. When he sees a photo of him “monstering out” on the front page of the Daily Bugle, Bailey realizes why.
With no place to call home, the F.E.A.S.T. shelter where Aunt May works takes Bailey in. Christina Xu—another volunteer—regards him as a friend. Peter Parker arrives with a new edition of the Daily Bugle. Thanks to Peter, the article hails Spider-Boy as Manhattan’s latest hero. But when the ten-year-old returns to the bowling alley to receive his reward, the ceremony doesn’t go as planned.
Dan Slott’s “Solo Run” raises intriguing questions about how recent Spider-Verse events reshaped reality. Most people seem ignorant of Gutterball. Yet a cop recognizes him. In Spider-Man #11, Bailey claims Gutterball was out to get the man, which suggests he also knows the villain. Timing and logic inconsistencies menace Spider-Man’s visit to the Daily Bugle offices. Lastly, Madame Monstrosity’s choice of Humanimal to send on her mission is either blind luck or a subconscious suggestion, given she doesn’t remember creating Bailey. Still, readers discover how Bailey became Spider-Boy, meet a friend from his past, and see him pit his spider abilities and wits against one of her Humanimals in Spider-Boy #1.
Paco Medina conveys the fight’s furious action as Gutterball fires his bowling pin handgun, Spider-Boy rescues bowlers, and Spider-Man swoops in for the takedown. Bailey’s conversations with Christina convey the ten-year-old’s desire for acceptance, his camaraderie with Christina, and his kinship with Peter. Surrounded by her Humanimal servants, Madame Monstrosity works in a laboratory less impressive than Norman Osborn’s but more upscale than Doc Ock’s recent lair. Erick Arciniega’s bold, vibrant colors energize the bowling lane brawl, reveal how volunteers help make F.E.A.S.T. a home, and enrich the drama as young Bailey relives the day that changed his life forever.
Christina drags Bailey away from F.E.A.S.T. for the best meal of the year, so he figures they should nab the best spot to observe the Macy’s Day Parade. Bailey carries her as he climbs a highrise. On the roof, they meet Squirrel Girl. When a child’s balloon alerts Spider-Boy that all the spectators are in danger, Spider-Boy and Squirrel Girl leap off the multistory building and race through the crowded streets. Their appearance prompts Professor Emilio Helio to launch his evil plan.
Dan Slott’s story Balloonacy in Spider-Boy #1 builds upon children’s love of parades and balloons. It also puts a sinister spin on the inflatable characters people display on holidays and businesses use year-round. Spider-Boy’s unconventional solution will please parents and teachers while introducing readers to Balloon Man and Captain Squirrel. Like Spider-Boy, the latter wears a mask to protect his identity.
As spectators flood Sixth Avenue, giant balloons float between tall buildings. Ty Templeton portrays holidaymakers with expressive faces. Images surround Spider-Boy’s masked face, illustrating the inrush of information from his spider-sense. Dee Cunniffe’s palette softens this all-ages tale in which Spider-Boy and Squirrel Girl battle a balloon vendor wearing a balloon over his head and hat.
In “Solo Run” and “Balloonacy,” Joe Caramagna thwips black uppercase dialogue into white balloons. Whispered exchanges shrink words, raised voices enlarge them, and intonation emboldens or colors them. He seasons Spider-Boy #1 liberally with sound effects to help us hear Bailey’s battles and feel the ten-year-old’s pain. Thanks to Marvel for providing a copy for review.
Madame Monstrosity’s links to the Scorpion and the Human Fly—as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #31—combined with Daily Bugle demonizing compare Marvel’s newest Spidey Hero with Spider-Man’s turbulent past. After Bailey proved he could tackle adult villains in Dan Slott’s Spider-Man #11, Peter Parker steps aside to let his new sidekick battle people from his past and make all-new friends in the all-ages Spider-Boy #1.