The last few years have proven to be banner years for myself as a Spider-Man fan, and this year seems to be another particularly big one. Across the Spider-Verse comes out next week, I’m saving my pennies for a PS5 so I can play Spider-Man 2 in the fall, and while I find the murder of Ms. Marvel a questionable decision, I’m still enjoying the current Amazing Spider-Man, at least theoretically. Spider-Men Double Trouble may seem like an appetizer when held against some of the bigger stuff this year and in past ones, but personally, this feels like it should be more of a big deal!
The Double Trouble titles have been some of the best books of he last few years, and Spider-Men Double Trouble continues that trend, largely on the backs of the artist team Gurihiru.
Gurihiru has a style that’s iconic, stylish, recognizable, and easily legible. The pair has built up an amazing portfolio at this point, of work that deserves to stand the test of time (Superman Smashes the Klan), general popular franchises (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Spider-Man, the aforementioned Superman), and even pure sugary candy (It’s Jeff!).
In this volume of Double Trouble, Gurihiru clearly had a blast drawing the Spider-Men and their roughly 100 villains. The sense of movement is so fun to read, and while the layouts are typically simple, that also left room for things to really pop off in a few places. The style may be overly simple for some, but it does a perfect job at what it’s trying to do. These versions of the characters are so charming and fun to read, and I hope they keep drawing them forever.
Now, the all-ages nature of this book means that it’s not really for everyone, and that’s fine. I myself prefer a more complex relationship between Peter and Miles, or even just cribbing the relationship from Into the Spider-Verse, as this isn’t exactly a main continuity work, so why not go with the best version? However, I think this Saturday morning cartoon treatment simply works for Spider-Man in general, even if more young adult takes might be my preference. Spider-Man should be able to be enjoyed by children!
It’s also just nice to see a comic made for younger readers with these iconic characters. It’s not like kids can’t just stream a Spider-Man cartoon that made for them, but comics—especially those in the direct market—have skewed older and older across the last couple of decades, and it’s nice to see children served more directly and purposefully. If anything, I wish there were more age groups being specifically catered to, rather than the weird situation we’re in now where we basically only have comics for children or young adults, with very little in the middle or older.
Ultimately this is an excellently made comic designed for young readers. It doesn’t have the space to have the depth of something like Into the Spider-Verse, but it’s a book that I’m really fond of, if only because it’s a display of incredible creators putting their all on the page for kids who’ll appreciate it like no one else. I’m excited to share this with my nieces and nephew just as I have with the other Double Trouble books.
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