Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow Advanced Review: “What If?” Well done


Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow is the first of the new “What If?” From Marvel. stories, introducing fans to a Peter Parker who keeps his Venom suit too long.

On Spider-Man: Shadow of the Spider, Peter Parker is tired. Crucially, Peter is already exhausted when the story begins, having grown increasingly dependent on the black suit that fans know is actually an alien symbiote, one that, in Marvel’s main timeline, was eventually joined by Eddie Brock. and he became stout and sharp. the jagged villain Venom. In this version of the story, Peter decided to keep the suit a bit longer, and it’s starting to get to him. Nightmares, dark impulses, and an addiction Peter has yet to admit to are clouding his judgment, promising even greater power and encouraging even less responsibility.

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Taking place around the events of 1984 Spider-Man # 258, this title is the first in the renewed version of Marvel. What if? , telling versions of the famous comic giant stories where things were a bit different (at least at first). Fans have seen the evil Wall-Crawlers before, from Venom himself, to Peter’s clone brother Scarlet Spider, and a swarm of arachnids. Acting like the young student they once consumed, countless writers have experimented with the idea of ​​a Spider-Man gone wrong. But the writer Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil, the silver coin), artist Pasqual Ferry (Thor, Ultimate Fantastic Four), and color artist Matt Hollingsworth (Catwoman, Hawkeye) they ask a slightly different question: what does it look like when Peter parker surrender to your darkest impulses?

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Spider-Man’s alter ego, like Chip Zdarsky’s previous work with Marvel, is endlessly concerned with goodness and humanity. Much mocked as Spider man 3“Emo Peter” was, this version of the character equally corrupted by Venom embodied the idea that there isn’t much malice or evil lurking inside Peter Parker waiting to come out. Zdarsky’s writing embraces this concept, envisioning Peter’s relationship with Venom as one of small compromises. Peter is tired, physically and morally, and takes less and less responsibility for his actions. Wearing the suit is the only easy thing left for him, so he just keeps doing it, and his darkness manifests itself not in the urge to get his teeth out and rip off a villain’s arm, but in the temptation to keep choosing the easy option. The problem is, for someone as strong as Spider-Man, the path of least resistance can go through other people.

Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow Chip Zdarsky

The art of Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth complements this sense of Peter losing himself in frustration with compassion. Flames lick the pages and, true to a story full of nightmares, the panels vary in shape and size, communicating an underlying breakdown of order and control. The art team would be an odd pick for Eddie Brock’s Venom, all monochrome teeth and edges, but Peter’s transformation is taking him in a different direction, putting him behind the wheel of a monster that is gaining momentum faster than he is given. account.

Like in Spider-Man: Life Story Y The Spectacular Spider-Man, Zdarsky describes Peter with moments of exceptional truth, such as when he asks Black Cat not to call him “Tiger”, the nickname MJ coined for him. But unlike those series, which asked what bold and kind choice Spider-Man would make at any given time (like exposing his identity to comfort an old enemy), Spider shadow He asks what Peter Parker would allow to slip once he got tired, and what would slip after that and after that. Similarly, Hobgoblin is an inspired (and age-appropriate) villain choice; the enemy who most epitomizes petty and petty villainy, catching Peter on the wrong side of a series of bad days.

Spider-Man: Shadow of the Spider promises to be a horror story about a monster, but at least in this first issue, it’s a horror so much about becoming a monster as if it were upside down. Whatever era it unfolds in, the central idea of ​​a good but exhausted person accepting easy decisions is one that will not lose its relevance any time soon. With four numbers to tell this story, Spider-Man: Shadow of the Spider has plenty of room to maneuver and a creative team you can trust to make unexpected but satisfying decisions that stay true to Peter Parker, even on his worst day. Look for Spider-Man: Shadow of the Spider when it launches on April 14.

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