The Spider #1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Colton Worley (cover by David Cassaday)
(The Spider was created by Harry Steeger)
In the dark alleyways and seedy places that people rarely travel in New York City, we see crime at its height. Luckily for NYC, The Spider is watching! From Dynamite Entertainment, we see this retelling of a hero spawned back in the Depression Era by Harry Steeger. This character is a gritty war hero named Richard Wentworth that has assumed a secret identity to fight crime. Not only fight crime, but put a stop to it, permanently. That’s right, he has no qualms about killing the criminals that he stops, and does it without a second thought. He also has a love interest, Nita Van Sloan. He and Nita were in love, but he was being shipped over seas for the war, so he dumped her because he didn’t think it was fair for her to have to wait for him, and that’s if he came back alive. He went “missing” in the war, but it was all part of a bigger mission. Nita was told he was dead. He resurfaced years later, but she had already found someone else. That someone else is Richard’s good friend, the police commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick.
Right off the bat, David Liss (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear) has a very intricate story here. There’s the personal side of things with Nita, Stanley, and Richard. Then the crime in the city in general, plus the years of war that Richard went through. Liss also has another angle that is slightly different from most other heroes in that three people (so far) have shown that they know Richard’s alter-ego, and that Richard is filthy rich because of inheriting his father’s business. Throw all of this together, and even add in a very sick and twisted new enemy at the end, and you have a winner.
Colton Worley is a great artist that has been working in comics for a few years now, and did some fantastic work in the Dynamite series The Complete Dracula. His work on this book is dark and gritty, which is the perfect formula for this title. The crowning jewel of this book is definitely when the Spider is on panel. He looks like a superhero, but is also kind of creepy. Almost like Batman in the sense that he strikes fear into criminals, and they don’t stand a chance just on that alone. The shots of NYC are pretty good, too, and add that sense of how big not only the city is, but also the size of the crime. The covers for this first issue were absolutely stunning, as well. As usual, Alex Ross does his thing, and that needs no further explanation. The other three covers, though, were just as cool. Francesco Francavilla and Ron Lesser (below) really brought their “A” game, too. Overall, it was a great read and certainly worth picking up. Rating 4/5