In Spider-Punk #1, the team of Cody Ziglar, Justin Mason, Jim Charalampidis, and VC’s Travis Lanham reintroduce readers to the titular hero and his amazing band as they take on Kraven and all manner of threats! We all know Spider-Punk rocks, but this really feels like the start of something special. Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on the kick-off to the new miniseries.
As I mentioned on the most recent episode of the AIPT Comics Podcast, I was already sold on this book and creative team before it was in my hands. I’ve been eating up every bit of preview art I can find, and Ziglar’s excellently-curated Spider-Punk playlist has been on fairly constant rotation for me. This very much felt like a book I would dig, is what I am saying. And upon opening the first page and seeing the opening narration borrow a line from Iggy and the Stooges, I knew I was in for something truly up my alley.
First off, there is so much kinetic energy in every single panel. Kicks fly in from off-page, connecting in an explosion of righteous fury. Every single one of Charalampidis’ color choices make these big, fun moments pop in a way no other medium could capture. Even when all of the characters are just standing around having a conversation, the snappy dialogue and placement of characters in the space make for a dynamic sequence. There’s so much youthful swagger from these heroes, to the point where you can’t help but smile at the sheer level of attitude on display.
And there’s no denying the power of the Spider-Punk look itself. This Olivier Coipel-designed costume already cuts a mean figure and Justin Mason clearly relishes the opportunity to put it in as many badass, high-flying poses as possible. From the tip of his spiky “mohawk” to the beat-up Converse with visibly worn treads, Hobie looks every bit the part of a counter-culture hero, just ever-so-disheveled and unbothered by the stuck-up menaces in his way. Meanwhile, the lettering is immediately striking as well, looking like something out of DIY zine. This particular element — including the bits where some text is rendered in a different color for emphasis — feels like it gives the issue even more punk rock cred.
The amount of character work in this first issue alone is an impressive feat, particularly since we haven’t gotten to see too much of Spider-Punk getting to work on his home turf. And yet, there’s already such a strong sense of familiarity between all of the characters that it’s hard not to feel like we’ve already spent years rushing to the shop every month to snag the latest issue of Spider-Punk. The title page and a few brief moments of exposition catch us up on Hobie’s history as the Spider-Person the Establishment least wants to f*** with, and then we get right into the new adventure. This first issue somehow manages to simultaneously be completely friendly to new readers and very exciting for fans who have enjoyed Spider-Punk stories in the past and have been hungry for more.
And while I won’t spoil any of the particulars of said adventure, I will say it’s fun as hell. The action is fast and furious, the jokes all hit perfectly, and there are few fun reveals and references to both the Marvel multiverse and punk/hardcore culture that surprised and delighted me as a massive fan of both.
Without question, Spider-Punk #1 absolutely shredded my high expectations and is my favorite debut issue of the year thus far. Do yourself a favor and snag this as soon as you can — then go home, crank up some Bad Brains, and have yourself a grand ol’ time with Hobie Brown and his buds.
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