Posted November 11, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Marvel Knights Spider-Man #2

Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Marco Rudy
Colors: Val Staples

I’ll admit that there’s a healthy amount of bias at play in this review. However, it doesn’t work in the way you probably think it does.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve been quite vocal about how much I miss Peter Parker, and honestly, the best Christmas gift I could receive this year would be a two-page spread of Ghost Peter donkey-kicking Doc Ock’s consciousness out of his body before he manages to do further damage to Peter’s life. While I’m pretty sure that my boy Peter will be back in a year or less, every issue of Superior Spider-Man does nothing but (a) ruin Peter Parker’s life – both in his civilian identity and as Spider-Man – and (b) prove that Marvel Earth’s supply of oxygen has been replaced with stupid gas.

When Marvel Knights Spider-Man was first announced, I was absolutely excited – it’s a book set in the 616 universe that stars the real deal as the webslinger, how could I possibly resist that? – but truth be told, I really wasn’t expecting much. After all, I hadn’t read a lot of books written by Matt Kindt at that point (and the last Kindt book I reviewed was rather lackluster). Furthermore, I wasn’t exactly familiar with Marco Rudy’s work prior to this book (definitely my loss, I now realize). On the other hand, I absolutely loved the first 12-issue arc of the first volume of the title (read my review here), and the Marvel Knights imprint has a colorful history of bold, new, interesting, or at the very least attention-grabbing stories.

Keeping all that in mind, I went ahead and bought the first issue, with the mindset that even if it were to end up sucking hard, at least it features a legit “Peter Parker” swinging around and cracking jokes. I knew I’d be looking at this new series with more scrutiny and higher standards than what I usually uphold for its bimonthly Superior cousin. That’s where the bias comes in – if this is the only book I’ll get to read this month with the Amazing Spider-Man in it, it better live up to its star’s most famous (and 50-year old) modifier.

The result? I ended up loving this book so much that I went ahead and got the second issue.

Part 2 of this energetic five-issue limited series takes us where we last saw our hero: on a plane, with four of his most resilient super-villains. Matt Kindt continues to knock the ball out of the park by giving us a compelling reason to keep reading. The story’s pretty simple, but Kindt takes it to the next level by turning what would be, under normal circumstances, a perfectly ordinary (and perhaps even yawn-worthy) Spidey tussle into a good look inside the head of everyone’s favorite arachnid-powered Avenger. Kindt makes us understand Pete’s thought processes a bit better by showing us how his powers work in conjunction with his mental faculties and motor skills. It’s one thing to see Spider-Man jumping around and dodging bullets, and another thing entirely to read him thinking about which threat to prioritize and how efficiently he could use his patented fancy moves to quickly take care of the opposition. We’re treated to a tactically, er, amazing Spider-Man, and despite the disadvantage of being under the influence of some kind of mind-altering drug, Spidey manages to handle the situation nicely. Of course, he does this while getting himself into further trouble – it’s that wonderful old Parker luck at play here.

Ah, but Kindt’s writing is only part of the reason why Marvel Knights Spider-Man is such an enjoyable book. The art is handled by Rudy and colorist Val Staples, and I think they couldn’t have picked a better art team. The style might be too jarring for some, but I think it’s absolutely brilliant, and it’s something we don’t often see in a Spider-Man book. Rudy alternates between real and surreal almost seamlessly, and his paneling is eye-catching and very creative. Even the gutters (the spaces between panels) are used to great effect – it’s what you’d get when you combine the art styles of David Aja, Jae Lee, and Steve Ditko and make the resulting masterpiece go on an acid trip, and it’s gorgeous. Rudy’s redesigns of classic Spider-Man villains also fit right in with the story’s trippy nature – Hydro-Man is nightmarish (and has learned a new and devastating way to use his powers), Shocker looks like a dangerous runaway, and Mysterio puts his 616 and Ultimate costumes together to create one striking ensemble. One could argue that not a lot of stuff happens here compared to the previous issue, but the art alone makes the book worth reading (and buying).

The series has been one wild ride so far, and this issue’s cliffhanger adds an air of mystery that really makes you look forward to reading the next one. If you miss Peter Parker as much as I do, then this is certainly the book for you. The title of this run of Marvel Knights Spider-Man promises “99 Problems…” and trust me, quality ain’t one.

VERDICT: 10/10


This review was sponsored by Druid’s Keep (third floor, Fort Strip Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig). Join the group on Facebook (here) and pay the shop a visit – it’s an awesome place to hang out and play games.

Mikael Angelo Francisco