In “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #1, writer Matt Kindt and artist Marco Rudy do a number of things: they kick off a walk-right-in story; they bring Peter Parker’s mind back into Peter Parker’s body; and they deliver a Peter Parker not entirely unlike the nephew of Aunt May and Uncle Ben as portrayed by Andrew Garfield.
Titled “99 Problems…” and set to run for five parts, this story opens with Peter Parker explaining his current predicament, chockfull of the ol’ Parker luck. Before anything can be done about that, however, Kindt delivers a deep threat to Parker that sets things in motion and Spider-Man into action. The reader is grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged into the action as the world explodes around Spider-Man. Kindt gives enough of a premise to set things in motion and keep them there, letting Spidey’s confusion amplify the reader’s own. Despite having Spider-Man name check a few of the antagonists he faces in this issue (Really, how many foes are going to answer to interrogatives like “Beetle? Is that you?”), Kindt keeps Spider-Man familiar and connected, locking the reader into this story.
“Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #1 gets wild quickly. Marco Rudy’s artwork is all over the place, in a very good way. Rudy throws in decorative potions of the story, like creator credits making up the grain of the floor in Madame Web’s scene or the middle of the book forming a spider from Spider-Man’s panicked thoughts. Through it all, Rudy offers tributes to Ditko, Wrightson and Romita all while making this comic book very much a visual collection of extravagant styles and transitions. Rudy has crosshatching right next to very loose watercolor work that is drawn into with the finest of lines. Some panels a small and their contents so contorted that readers have to physically lean in closer to comprehend the action. Other panels, despite being nearly the size of the page itself are filled with visual experimentation that would make Bill Sienkiewicz jealous. Through it all, colorist Val Staples leans heavily on the reds, giving enough variance to allow Spidey’s costume to still pop, but making the atmosphere crimson enough to help fill “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #1 with anxiety and surprise.
This comic book kicks off the latest round of Marvel Knights comic book stories. This isn’t a simple read-and-release comic book quick to fall out of memory. “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” #1 is an enjoyable, engaging read that will leave readers wondering as much, if not more, than Spider-Man himself. This comic absorbs readers into the story and delivers. Readers will be able to think about the story in this comic and not simply about the comic book itself. Of course, it helps a little bit to have Peter Parker back in the driver’s seat of a Spider-Man title.