The first story arc of The Spider concludes in issue #5, as the pulpy anti-hero attempts to save the girl and the city from the zombie gas of the villainess Anput. Yes, you read that right. Zombie gas. For those of you who have not been following “The Spider,” it follows Richard Wentworth, ex-soldier, as he wages a one-man war on crime in New York City. Surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, his alter-ego – basically, Rorschach meets Spider-Man – now faces an Egyptian terrorist who may have ties to his father, who manufactures chemical weapons and other nasty things. It’s another excellent issue of one of the many pleasant surprises to come from Dynamite this year.
WRITER: David Liss
ARTIST: Colton Worley
PUBLISHER: Dynamite Entertainment
RELEASE: Sept. 26th, 2012
David Liss’ writing for this series has been, by and large, a joy to read. The Spider is locked up in a room slowly filling with the aforementioned zombie gas, and our hero barely raises an eyebrow. Snarky, sardonic, and generally mean-spirited, The Spider sounds like Peter Parker on a whiskey bender. It’s usually as entertaining as you’d imagine it to be, but unfortunately Spider’s ex-girlfriend (and wife of his current best friend/the police commissioner… yeah, shit’s complicated) Nita gets zombified early on, and we get Serious Spider for the most part of this issue. It’s not quite as fun, but it’s necessary to raise the tension.
This issue holds some quality art by Colton Worley. Worley’s art has been remarkably consistent throughout this series. His characters emote very well, and he is quite good at creating a sense of physical impact. He has his flaws, though. There is a lot of fade effect in his panels and some characters seem a little too digital for my tastes. That said, he definitely possesses a unique style and he’s able to nail the most important panels.
As a villain, Anput feels all to generic. While her motivation isn’t ridiculous and her identity isn’t rooted in Western Islamophobia (on the contrary, Liss’ political commentary within this series has leaned decidedly to the left), she still is just another one-dimensional bad girl with an over-the-top, if amusing, scheme to zombify New York City. There are also one or two lines that seem a little too self-conscious, even if they do elicit a chuckle. But none of it takes that much away from the quality of the book, thanks to the superb writing and solid artwork. I’m looking forward to where this series goes from here.
Reviewed by – George Shunick