“The Spider” #1 is a great reintroduction to this fantastic old school pulp creation. If you don’t know a thing about this strange vigilante then everything you need is right here. If you do know a little, then you are rewarded with an updated version that honors the original while carving its own path ahead.
David Liss writes a very caption heavy issue, which works for the tone of the book. Much of the action plays with the Spider narrating over the top as he explains himself and his actions. This double hit of information gives us a clear understanding of what he does, how he does it, and even why he does it. Richard Wentworth is a solitary soul and he sees his vigilante actions as a very large mission. Liss and artist Colton Worley go a long way in this issue to showing you how unrelenting the Spider needs to be.
For a caption heavy issue, this book is absolutely action packed. The Spider does his fair share of killing as he gets across the whole town. We need to know that the Spider never hesitates and will not stop. With the character established, we end the issue by looking at a new, intriguing case for Wentworth to sink his teeth into, which Liss handles by using it to establish more characters beats and drop some very cool narrative moments into our lap. Liss works every angle for every scene.
Colton Worley delivers some phenomenal pages when it comes to style and layout. Worley steps away from the conventional to generate some spectacular ideas using the spider as a general concept of structure. There is an inventive quality coming to life in what Worley attempts to do in his grander moments. The only problem comes in the execution. His faces often fall lifeless and while the broad strokes are good, it’s the detail that let the game down. It would help for Wolton to change his colors to better make the skin tones and grim cityscapes pop. This comic wants to look amazing and Worley is so clearly working for this to happen but some tweaks will need to be made before this occurs.
“The Spider” #1 is a fantastic slice of action and world building. It’s bleak and it’s harsh but it’s all in service of the story and not just for the sake of it. Liss has previously shown some really good writing prowess and here it is capitalized upon. Read the first four pages and see if I’m wrong. I just found my new favorite pulp comic.