Spider-Man and the League of Realms #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on May 15, 2019

Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Nico Leon
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Lettered: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            I’ve been pretty hesitant to check out any War of the Realms tie-ins, mostly because I haven’t heard anything particularly good about them and I’ve gotten the main story just fine. I think Marvel kind of shot themselves in the foot by releasing a billion of them, because I don’t think they reasonably expect everyone reading WOTR to pick them up too, and that tells me that I should only really check something out if it features a character I particularly like. So here we are.
            The idea of a spin-off following Spider-Man leading the League of Realms to liberate Africa isn’t something that sounds all that amazing to me, but I believe any story can work with the right execution. Thankfully, this one does have that, but it’s not quite over the edge and into greatness. To his credit, I think Sean Ryan writes Spider-Man really well here. Too often do we see guest writers of the web head trying way too hard and failing to have him crack jokes left and right that just give the reader some form of second-hand embarrassment. This imagining hits the sweet spot. He’s not making a joke in every panel, and when he is, they appropriate for the context. He’s not beating you over the head with pop culture references. Beyond the dialogue, I think the most interesting thing about this story is Ryan pitting Spidey’s specific moral code against that of his allies. They’re never at each other’s throats about what to do, but they butt heads just enough. I’m glad Ryan knew to keep these endearing qualities of Peter in mind when putting in such an unusual scenario. The resolution to this specific issue’s conflict is pretty corny and underwhelming, but it’s not the climax of the whole story, so I don’t think anyone should be bothered by it too much.

            Nico Leon’s illustrations are clean and expressive. I can’t say that his work every really made the book for me, but it’s a presence I certainly enjoyed nonetheless. His Spidey is sure to remind a lot of people of Andrew Garfield’s, but with expressive eyes to boot. His motion has a strong emphasis on his acrobatics, and with Leon’s panel layout, you get some really fun pages. Carlos Lopez’s coloring is serviceable, but I think a setting like this definitely could have used more pizazz. I do think he brings a lot to the most important moments of the book, whether he’s playing up comfort or danger. Having the events of the book take place at sunset certainly helps too. Lopez always keep lighting and its source in mind, giving us consistency and detail that I think we can all appreciate.

            Spider-Man and the League of Realms is a book I can only really recommend to fans of both Spidey and the Norse mythos. Sean Ryan does write the web head well, and I can definitely say I did enjoy this story… but not so much that I’m really going to recommend it to someone who’s just a Spider-Man fanatic. If you check both boxes, then you’re in for a good time.

Our Score:


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