Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Written by Peter David
Art by Greg Land
Inks by Jay Leisten
Colors by Frank D’Armata
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Stacy Dooks
There are certain facts in this world that are incontestable: the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the tides rise and fall, and Spider-Man’s black costume is the best costume the character has ever had, do not dispute me.
Okay, I might have led my review a little strong, but permit me a moment to explain myself. I love the red and blue spider-suit as much as the next merry Marvel maniac, but when the black costume came along, it was a game changer. My affection for it may also come from the fact that I grew up during the period that Spidey wore the iconic black suit, with its stylish white spider-insignia and those awesome patches on the back of his hands. It was an amazing piece of alien technology (at least, that’s what we thought at the time. . .) brought home from Battleworld, a realm that had been created by the mysterious eldritch being known only as the Beyonder, who wished to explore the concepts of good and evil by gathering Earth’s heroes and villains and having them fight it out.
The tale was told in Secret Wars, which was the first major Marvel crossover event. I can’t remember the names of relatives at family gatherings, but the cover image of The Amazing Spider-Man #252 is seared onto my gray matter. Now, we have a brand new title set during that period when a young Stacy Dooks was transitioning from a kid who read comics to a comic book fan with Symbiote Spider-Man #1. What did I think? Read on, true believer.
Quentin Beck is a guy who wants respect. He wants to make a name for himself. A name that’s feared throughout New York, spoken in the same breath as the Kingpin. The only problem is, Quentin Beck is the supervillain Mysterio, whose claim to fame comes from special effects-derived illusions and rocking a resplendent fishbowl helmet. But he’s got a plan: one big score, then he’s living on easy street. Kill Spider-Man? He’ll be so rich he can hire people to take of that for him. What could go wrong? Lots, it turns out.
I won’t give away any more of the gold, but man was Symbiote Spider-Man #1 fun. A chance to go back in time to when I first encountered Spider-Man and his world. The decision to tap Peter David as writer was inspired. He wrote the character back when Spidey rocked the black suit. Greg Land’s art normally isn’t my cup of tea, but I have to say he does some impressive work here, backed up by astounding colors by Frank D’Armata. The inks by Jay Leisten make everything look crisp. The lettering by Joe Sabino gives everyone a unique voice and inflection that hits some very familiar beats. There’s one piece of art in this book that literally made my jaw drop. It’s the clearest indicator that, yes, this book is set a long time ago.
Buy It. While a fun nostalgia bath for older fans like myself, Symbiote Spider-Man #1 has a lot to offer: a self-contained story that’s funny, thrilling, and touching all at the same time. Recommended.