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'Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude' is a lackluster recap of 'Captain America: Civil War'

Comic Books

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude’ is a lackluster recap of ‘Captain America: Civil War’

You adored his introduction in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, you can’t wait for his Hollywood Homecoming – now really get to know the Spider-Man of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this prelude to his big-screen solo adventure! By day, young Peter Parker attends high school and lives with his Aunt May. By night, he fights crime with wall-crawling powers and web-swinging tech – and he’s destined to one day have an amazing, spectacular, sensational reputation as his neighborhood’s friendly hero! Join Marvel’s Spider-Man as he makes his first tentative web-swings towards a blockbuster future!

Right from the start, the collection disappoints in that the “prelude” issues are simply a recap of Captain America: Civil War. This might not have been a bad thing, but the scripting to the prelude issues themselves aren’t very dramatic. While there are some bits that add to Peter’s story (such as Aunt May watching the news coverage of the bombing that kills King T’Chaka),  Corona Pilgrim misses a huge opportunity by not using a more intimate point-of-view.

Oftentimes, the scenes play out as they did on screen, rather than giving readers any new insight. An example would be when Ant-Man takes Cap’s shield from Spider-Man at the start of the airport battle. It would have been nice to feel that tension from the inexperienced Peter’s vantage point, to see him notice something was wrong but not be able to place his finger on it only to be shocked when Lang appears. Instead, Cap calls Lang and is handed his shield back in a matter of three small panels. It’s understandable that Corona Pilgrim and artist Todd Nauck are limited in how much they can contribute to the mythos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if these “preludes” are going to be this rigid, perhaps they ought to market them as something else.

Because the prelude covers almost the entirety of Captain America: Civil War, artist Todd Nauck has the unenviable job of trying to make that work with the pacing and still match the visual thrill of that film. No matter how often the mediums of comics and film are compared, they really are quite different in terms of structure, and credit is due to Nauck for getting some of the pacing to work. The loose, sketch-like quality to Nauck’s work makes for a nice visual contrast to the film; having an artist with a more photorealistic style would have made the recreation a pale imitation of the film. However, at times Nauck’s work appears rushed, as figures become wildly distorted in other panels.

'Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude' is a lackluster recap of 'Captain America: Civil War'

This prelude is only a two-parter, however, and therefore most of the collection is made-up of reprints of Invincible Iron Man (2008) #7, and Amazing Spider-Man #2 and #46. Collection editor Jennifer Grünwald deserves serious credit for her curation here as these selections make for a much stronger prelude to the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming than the prior section. Invincible Iron Man #7, written by Matt Fraction with art by Salvador Larroca and colors by Frank D’Armata, takes place in the aftermath of the Civil War crossover and features Spider-Man and Iron Man discussing their roles as heroes under the new registration act. It’s a tense issue, and there are some definite parallels between their relationship here and what’s been seen in the trailers for the new film.

The Amazing Spider-Man issues are a big draw here, as they present the origins of Vulture, the Tinkerer, and Shocker – the villains of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Each issue is written by Stan Lee with art by two Spider-Man legends: Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr. For many, these stories may be the highlight of the collection, though both issues can be found in different collections that would have further value.

Is It Good?

A lackluster recap of Captain America: Civil War makes the Spider-Man: Homecoming prelude a dull collection with reprints of issues that have been collected elsewhere. Certainly, there’s a market for a product like this, and it’s easy to imagine that younger readers might enjoy a package with the origins of classic Spider-Man villains. But older readers and especially longtime collectors will find little of value here unless they specifically want the reprinted older issues.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude
Is it good?
The actual prelude issues collected here are the weakest part of the collection, with the older issues providing the most value. This might be a nice collection for younger children, but it doesn't have much use beyond that audience.
The classic issues of Amazing Spider-Man are a fun read.
The "Prelude" issues are almost a complete waste, giving no real insight into the events of Captain America: Civil War beyond what can be gleamed from the film itself. Considering that these were the issues the collection was built around, that's a pretty big problem.

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