Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1 Review
Review By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Peter Parker, in an effort to make ends meet, finds himself picking up any work thrown his way. The most recent job he’s been offered is seemingly a quick family photo but turns almost immediately into a funhouse of hallucinations, vertigo and disorientation. Beginning with a portent uttered by Madame Web and winding up in a twisted prison featuring Arcade, Morbius, Frankenstein’s Monster and other such fiends, Parker begins a strange trip down the rabbits hole, where nothing seems real, his spider-sense is hijacked and chaos reigns.
Reading like a haunted house tale, the first part of a five issue mini-series in the Marvel Knights Spider-Man line, takes Peter Parker on a long, dark journey where he will face 99 of his problems while his head swims in a drug induced haze. Inside a maze of his mind, Spider-Man attempts to make all these backwards sensations fall in order but ultimately is pulled like a rag doll through his own nightmares. In sequences where his perception is condensed to a 16-bit video game he is still expected to fight for his life and defend against an onslaught of doll bombs, wolf men and jack-o-lanterns.
Scripting this psychedelic trip is writer/artist Matt Kindt, whose current ongoing series Mind MGMT and original graphic novels Red Handed, 3 Story: Secret History of the Giant Man, Super Spy, Revolver and Pistol Whip are amongst the best comics being published today. Recently he has delved into some company properties such as Suicide Squad, Martian Manhunter and the now defunct Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, where his talent as an espionage and spy fiction writer has been exercised to great success. His work within this first chapter of Marvel Knights is slick, fast paced and bold. Reminding me of other non-continuity books like Arkham Asylum where the hero is taken on a journey to the heart of their evil counterparts and presented to them by way of a dreamlike reality, this stand-alone tale of the Amazing Spider-Man is frightening and mind-bending. Kindt’s plot is simple and starts without any posturing, throwing Parker directly into a carnival of terrors and taking the audience along with him from page one.
Accompanying the interesting story and ominous narrative with insane visuals is Marco Rudy. His work within the New 52’s Swamp Thing was outstanding and a perfect compliment to Yanick Paquette’s work on the series. With Marvel Knights Spider-Man the world you are sucked into alongside Peter Parker is a perfect platform for Rudy to experiment with his unique design and panel layouts as well as exercise his eclectic muscles with different styles each page. On some pages we have panels that look as though taken from a David Mack or Bill Sienkiewicz painting, others feature a more relaxed and simple structure you’d see in a Dark Horse horror comic, some have watercolour swirls that could be in a Sandman comic, a page of Frankenstein’s Monster has a black and white finish and touch inspired by Bernie Wrightson, he delves into a double page display that’s got a Marcos Martin feel and others that look pulled right out of the world of a Gameboy game. Rudy was truly given room to breathe within this issue and his work is absolutely breathtaking. His artwork completely drives the story and gives you a gloriously nauseous feeling as you are drug through a night terror of Spider-Man’s worst enemies.
A powerful artist on this interesting Amazing Spider-Man story, completely unburdened by continuity, makes the first issue of Marvel Knights Spider-Man an absolute success and a must read this fall.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com