Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on April 10, 2019

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            Another untold story from the black suit days. I wasn’t super fond of the last one, but that was by a whole different group. I don’t think the premise itself was what kept me from enjoying. That’s not to say that this one turned out much better, though.
            It starts with a pretty normal idea: Mysterio’s finale. One last gig, and he’s out. It doesn’t totally work, though, partly because Quentin’s feelings about the whole thing seem to change for unclear reasons. The story doesn’t clearly choose him or Peter as the sole protagonist, so it’s kind of weird that the train of thought is mysterious itself. The pacing is weird as well. It could of course be relevant later, but there’s three pages of Spider-Man stopping the Human Fly from stealing a painting that don’t relate to anything else. The dialogue ranges from really, really bad, to just okay. There’s this terrible idea of a joke when Mysterio is robbing a bank, and it doesn’t work for so many reasons. Nobody would say it, it’s not funny, it clashes with the tone, etc. Before rolling my eyes, I had to reread said joke several times to make sure I wasn’t just misunderstanding it.
            Greg Land is on pencil duties, and that should rightfully deter plenty of people from reading this. This issue checks all the boxes for him: obvious tracing, “suggestive” faces, body positions that just make no sense and get worse the more you think about it. His Quentin Beck in the first half of the book looks like a completely different person in the other half. It’s jarring. A good inker can’t really do much to save all that… The coloring is kind of 50/50. What happens in the dark looks pretty good and feels like it’s presented in a natural way, but anything in the day time or a lit room looks overexposed and with jaggy shading.
            I’m expecting a larger than normal drop off in numbers after issue one. There aren’t any inherently bad ideas here, but nothing is done nearly well enough to keep the reader on board. Bad pacing and dialogue paired with art that constantly pulls you out of the experience makes this a regrettable experience. I’d say save your money for something else.

Our Score:


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