Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Art: Pasquel Ferry, Phil Noto
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 14th, 2021
What feels like ages ago, resurfaces in this week’s series opener. Peter Parker put on an alien suit that practically engulfed his very being. However, what if he’d never taken it off? What if Peter ignored every warning and welcomed the symbiotic relationship? Plagued by horrible nightmares and fatigued by a vast flurry of villains, Peter can’t seem to gain his footing. SPIDER-MAN finds himself at the edge of a cliff and susceptible to these new dark impulses. Let’s swing into SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER’S SHADOWS #1 by Chip Zdarsky to see if it’s truly Peter who is in charge as this creative team brings SPIDER-MAN to the edge!
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I’m a huge fan of “What If” stories. In terms of writing, the world is the creator’s oyster. Writers and artists can go in any direction they deem fit without worrying about repercussions or outraged fans losing their $&@$! Well, Chip Zdarsky decides to render his canvas the moment SPIDER-MAN makes a choice: should he stay bonded to the alien suit or not? Truthfully, it should come as no surprise that Peter decides to stay bonded with the symbiote in this comic. Nevertheless, it’s the “how” that this reviewer will leave for your enjoyment as you read.
What I think readers will discover to be the most inviting aspect of the issue is how similar Zdarsky’s take is to the original, except with some minor deviations. SPIDER-MAN makes a few different choices that ultimately result in his decision to stay bonded to the alien suit. However, the reasoning that decision happens boils down to one huge detail that Zdarsky weaves into his story between Peter and a specific character who made an appearance in the original story. It’s that moment that sets up a chain reaction that spills into our web-headed hero tumbling down the path of no return.
The dialogue between Peter and the supporting cast seemed awkwardly forced to make him come across as angry. Yet, his comments and conversations didn’t sound nasty or indignant. Imagine someone saying to you “ Stop yelling at me” when you’re merely speaking to them calmly and almost politely. It’s as if Zdarsky wanted to lay it on thick that the symbiote was affecting SPIDER-MAN’S personality… in case anyone forgot. But, wouldn’t most people interested in reading this story already be aware of the effects the symbiote had on Peter?
Let’s face it… I know the premise that “every comic is someone’s first comic” BUT if you’re interested in SPIDER-MAN and your reading SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER’S SHADOW, there is no way this is your first comic. This comic is specifically for fans that have some experience with Spidey and the symbiote. Therefore, did we need the forced, awkward dialogue to drive home the point?
Pasqual Ferry’s art is reminiscent of SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES from the 90s’ with an updated feel. The angles and edges of the characters are sharp and straight. The linework is also thick with panels involving SPIDER-MAN lacking definition within the black suit. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors are bright yet the blacks mixed with the darker lines make SPIDER-MAN’S suit lose tone and three-dimensional figure as well as shape. Overall, the art isn’t terrible but I think it will be an acquired test.
This is another great spin on a classic concept. And, who better to write in than Chip Zdarsky? The man who’s PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN got me interested in the writer in the first place? Or, how about his SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY? He’s got experience with the character, understands the lore, and I believe will mold this “What If” tale into another classic. That said, this inaugural issue of SPIDER-MAN: SPIDER’S SHADOW doesn’t deviate too drastically until the end.
Zdarsky gives readers an introduction on the curtails of a classic that even the casual Spider-fan can get behind. However, there really isn’t too much that’s jaw-dropping quite yet. If you’re a fan of everyone’s favorite web-head or love “What If” concepts, this series is right up your alley. I strongly recommend you give it a look. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!