The Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on January 29, 2020

Writer: Mat Johnson
Artists: Mack Chater and Francesco Mobili, Scott Hanna (pg. 18 finishes)
Colorists: Dono Sanchez-Almara & Protobunker
Letter: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            If you’ve ever thought about how great Spider-Man’s supporting cast is, I’m sure the premise of ASM: Daily Bugle was at least a little intriguing to you. I’ll admit I’m in that boat, but can this portion of cast really support their own miniseries? I would say yes, and yet…

            Those hoping for a lot of Spider-Man with a heavy focus on the Bugle will be disappointed. He is hardly present at all, at least for this issue. Instead, this one follows Ben Urich and Chloe Robertson, the niece of the Bugle’s publisher, as they pursue a story about Peter’s webs littering the city. Yeah. Along the way, the writing is pretty hit or miss. The dialogue is pretty good – even if the character interactions are pedestrian, they sound natural and realistic. The characterization can be pretty off, though. I’m not sure Mat Johnson has actually read anything featuring Robbie Robertson before, because this ain’t him. Urich and Robertson don’t find anything particularly interesting on their search, and it ultimately leads them to probably the most lackluster cliffhanger I have ever seen. Mild spoiler, but really not a spoiler because it’s so insignificant: they find a guy webbed upside down in an alley. Just some guy, far as I can tell. I guess I’m supposed to think he’s dead, but if so, the art didn’t convey that very well. If he is, he’s been out way past time for the webs to dissolve, and there are no signs of a struggle in any way. If not, well, this is something that happens all the time in this city; what’s the big deal?

            The art is similarly hit or miss. The first few pages look good, but the artists rotating pages for seemingly no reason will really take you out of it. The faces can be uncanny. Peter looks like he’s in his late 40’s in the few places he shows his face. In the few instances of very light action, there are weird gaps between moments that make you wonder what happened between them. Some pages will make you feel claustrophobic, while others are so needlessly barren. The lighting and shading look awesome in the opening pages, things quickly take a turn for the worse. It can be really blotchy, very rough transitions in tones.
            The Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 is rough. The best thing it has going for it is the dialogue, but that doesn’t really mean anything if the characters aren’t talking about anything interesting. There is no sense of coherence in the art, and you’ll find something on most pages that will break your immersion, whether it’s in the pencils or the colors. This is one miniseries I would not recommend you commit to.

Our Score:


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