King in Black: Spider-Man #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 17, 2021

Writer: Jed MacKay
Pencils: Michele Bandini
Inks: Michele Bandini & Elisabetta D’Amico
Colours: Erick Arciniega
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Back-up Story
Artist: Alberto Alburquerque
Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg

Before getting stuck into this review there is a bit of an elephant in the room that needs to be dealt with first. Spider-man is one of the key players in King in Black, his obvious history with Venom, and Eddie Brock, makes his role within the symbiote event a no brainer. He’s currently in the midst of Knulls invasion and fighting alongside the Avengers, X-Men, Dylan Brock and all the other big hitters. So it begs the question of what he’s doing here, on the peripheral of the invasion, doing the friendly neighbourhood spider thing. There is an argument that this is happening in the middle of everything else in King in Black, Spider-Man has slipped away to just do his own thing, but it doesn’t feel true. At one stage Peter even says he can’t help Eddie or Dylan, which just feels out of character. It’s just a bit jarring for readers, who realistically as Spider-Man fans will be lapping up King in Black, so it ends up feeling like Jed MacKay has been left out of Marvels planning and has no idea what Spider-Man is up to.

But if you can get past that little bit of glaring continuity mishap then a pretty decent Spider-Man story unfolds within. This one-shot seems to have two purposes, the first is to tell a Spider-Man tale which ties in a little closer to the classic friendly neighbourhood spider-man. The second is to tell a story about Reptil, and bring him to readers attention before a limited solo series arrives in May. The two pair up to save an old woman, which leads them into conflict with a giant symbiote dragon. It’s a good set up, and the two characters work well together, Reptil looks up towards one of his inspirations, and it serves to remind Peter Parker what it means to be a hero.

The story is fun, filled with plenty of action, and will get a laugh from readers with an old woman whose opinion of Spider-Man is heavily influenced by the Daily Bugle. A classic set up that MacKay makes the most of. It’s clear though that there are big plans for Reptil in the future and that is where the real focus of the story lies.

Michele Bandini’s art looks fantastic, she looks like she’s having a great time drawing dinosaurs fighting giant symbiote dragons, all the while Spider-Man is swinging around doing his thing. New York is covered in Knulls symbiote gloop and it really captures the overwhelming force that his invasion is bringing. Erick Arciniega’s colours work great with Bandini’s art, and this is a really good looking comic.

There is also a mini back-up story, also written by MacKay, which is narrated by Reptil. If it wasn’t clear before then this short lets readers know that Marvel are setting Reptil up for big things in the future, and is designed to get readers invested in the character before his solo series arrives. This is just an extra bonus story however, and isn’t the reason that readers will pick this comic up.

This short is illustrated by Alberto Alburuerque and coloured by Rachelle Rosenberg, and the pairing really capture the chaos of Knulls invasion, showing some action packed battles and rescues, and looks great.

A fun story that is reminiscent of Spider-Man’s Friendly Neighbourhood origin stories, it’s only let down by the fact that the story doesn’t tie in very well with the King in Black event. Someone forgot that Parker currently has his hands full dealing with Knull and isn’t just swinging around helping out innocent bystanders. An entertaining story that feels more like it’s designed to introduce readers to Reptil before his solo event later on in the year. The art looks great throughout the comic, and both art teams really bring their A-Game.

Our Score:


A Look Inside