- Written by: Cody Ziglar
- Art by: Justin Mason
- Colors by: Jim Charalampidis
- Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
- Cover art by: Olivier Coipel, Alejandro Sánchez
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: April 6, 2022
Spider-Punk #1 revisits Earth-138 and the titular character as he and his Spider-Gang battle Kraven and the Hunters to stop their turf from becoming a war zone. They soon learn Kraven is on the payroll of a much bigger threat.
Was It Good?
Spider-Punk #1 is the type of comic that will be talked about and remembered. Whether those memories are positive or negative is entirely up to you.
After reading this comic, I had to go outside and look at the sky. Breathing in deeply the marvel of Nature that God hath created to cleanse myself of all emotion and doubt before sitting down to write this. Good reviewers (that means everyone who writes for Weird Science and Comical Opinions) do their level best to leave personal biases out of a review. The focus should always be to assess a comic on its merits as objectively and clinically as humanly possible. That said, this comic tested every last ounce of my patience.
Genuinely, I could not say for sure if this comic was meant to be told straight or if it’s a cleverly disguised parody. The plot is fairly straightforward – Spider-Punk and his pals fight off a terror attack on the neighborhood by Kraven and the Hunters, eventually learning Kraven was paid to commit mayhem by another party for a more insidious purpose. Simple, right? Yet, it’s not the plot points that will immediately give you pause. It’s the execution and the details.
First, the dialog is clunky, awkward, and (although I despise the overuse of this word) super cringy. Nobody speaks with a natural vocabulary or conversational style in this issue unless your idea of natural involves Tweet replies.
On this next point, I’m going to preface the explanation by saying I’m not interested in online squabbles about “alt-Right” this or “authoritarian Leftist” that. Those types of arguments, to me, are a bunch of Twitter bubble nonsense that has no bearing on the real world. So, when I make this next observation, bear that in mind.
The details of the character designs and story are an Antifa-loving Leftist’s wet dream made real. Spider-Punk’s partner is an Indigenous, gay man called Captain Anarchy whose costume is a cross between Captain America and an Antifa rioter. Kraven and the Hunters, despite having a multicultural mix in their group, are referred to by Spider-Punk as “nazis” without any explanation. The big “plan” involves creating mass terror in Spider-Punk’s neighborhood so that Kraven’s boss can enact Gentrification, and the big boss is shown on a last-page reveal to be a Capitalist Taskmaster with a big $ on his shield.
Some of these depictions are not new. Karl aka Captain Anarchy has appeared in at least one issue in the past, but he’s given plenty of room to shine in this issue. The whole tone and mood of this issue reads like an underground comic written by members of a Portland Community College writing circle.
Does that sound unfair or stereotypical? If so, you’d be right because that’s how this comic comes across. Take the worst, stereotypical attributes of protestors you might find on a CNN news report about college protests in California and inject them into a Spider- comic and that’s what you have here. Again, if it’s a parody, it’s a brilliantly disguised parody. If it’s not a parody, this comic begs to be mocked for all the wrong reasons.
“Well, is the art any good?”, you may wonder. It’s not bad. In keeping with the tone of the script, the art style has an underground feel that’s a cross between Nathan Stockman’s work on Savage and Daniel Warren Johnson’s work on Beta Ray Bill, closer to the former than the latter. The action sequences are dynamic, and the panel compositions are solid. On visual aspects alone, this is a good comic.
Bits and Pieces
Spider-Punk #1 is a bizarre comic that mixes all the worst stereotypes about Leftist activists into a story about Spider pals fighting the evils of Gentrification and Capitalism. If this is a parody, it’s cleverly disguised parody. If it’s not, this comic practically dares you to make fun of it for the level of obnoxiousness it reaches.