Hey, aren’t you sick of Venom and Spider-Man fighting all the time? Okay sure, they are teaming up in Absolute Carnage currently, but what bout when there isn’t an event going on? Fear not, for instead of duking it out, Mariko Tamaki and Gurihiru have a heavy helping of Venom and Spidey becoming roommates! It’s a match that makes so much sense thanks to the writing and cute as heck art in this first issue.
This issue does a good job of establishing some slice-of-life aspects of Spidey and Venom. Spider-Man fights crime, while Venom fights it in his own way, or Spidey makes dinner and Venom eats it all. The general vibe is strong with each character as the creative team characterizes Spidey as fun-loving and quick-witted while Venom is a bit of a loud-mouthed and mischievous. The friendship (or are they just roommates?) is cute in a sitcom sort of way. It’s the kind of relationship that makes sense given how friendly and giving Spider-Man can be. Their personalities are the loudest thing in the book and they are also the most entertaining element too.
Gurihiru draws these characters extremely well and each has an ever so slight creative twist that makes them feel original but totally respecting the source material at the same time. Spider-Man’s feet, for instance, are like thick, cylindrical boots while Venom’s head has a wispy tendril, as if he’s wearing a hat at all times. There are a nice size and weight to the characters, which adds to their cuteness. It’s also fun to see how Gurihiru draws Spider-Man’s spider-home (actually, it’s more of an apartment). It has normal everyday rooms, but it’s fun how it’s laid out. There is also a board-game double page layout that tracks a little side adventure that’s super fun too.
With many of these kid-friendly comics, adults might feel left out, but I never did while reading this book. I am a huge Spider-Man fan, but because Tamaki and Gurihiru kept me guessing, introduced some fun ideas, and otherwise made this feel unique, I had a blast. There is enough in this book to hang your hat on. Many all-ages comics tend to keep it light, but there are a few twists and turns adding to the overall package.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say some Spider-Man purists might find Spidey’s legs way too different for their liking. I’ll fully admit two different renderings made his legs look giant and oddly bloated maybe due to the angle. The details in posture and eye reactions is enough to crank up the realism and the Spider-Man we all know and love.
Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble is fun, fancy-free and a true delight. It’s a riff on the characters that all ages can love.
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