REVIEW: ‘Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1

Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Howard Chaykin, art by Howard Chaykin, colors by Jesus Aburtov and letters by Ken Bruzenak. Say hello to Victor “Dutch” Hollander. A small-time criminal with a penchant for kitbashing monster models as a side hobby. Times are tough for Dutch. With the supers always causing havoc everywhere he’s starting to think that maybe it’s time to look for greener pastures.

A comic is often more than purely how good the story and art are. Even if a solid story, presented by fine art and lettering is present a story can still suffer from thematic or presentational issues. These sorts of problems are my biggest stumbling blocks with Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1. First, let’s tackle the simpler issue. The presentation.

My big problem with the presentation of this book is that it is not, in fact, a Spider-Man book. Sure, he appears for a couple of panels, and he’s on the cover, but that’s it. It’s not even like he shows up at the end to have an impactful heart to heart with the main character. It feels like he is on the cover mostly to sell the book.

Now let’s talk about the big background theme in Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1. All throughout the book, there are radios playing news reports. These generally talk about how supers are making life tough on New Yorkers. Clogging traffic, and interrupting the general life of the city. Especially for the “overworked and under-appreciated” NYPD.

Well-meaning citizens, putting themselves on the line to challenge things that local officials either can’t or won’t address, being painted as the problem for disrupting life. I obviously do not know what a creative intends to say with their work, only how it hits me. But, given that a general dislike for the hero population has never been a long-standing theme in the MU, this comes across like writer Chaykin is using superheroes, and the disruption they cause by doing what they believe is right, as a metaphor for the Black Lives Matters, and other similar events.

This feels particularly pointed as the broadcasts make such a point to push the NYPD into a sympathetic light, with the knowledge that for us right now, police brutality is the biggest uniting cause for many of those “life-disrupting” marches. Painting such events and organizations in the same light that Marvel’s heroes are painted in Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1. Whether this is a problem for the reader obviously depends on your feelings for those events.

Beyond the above mentions, Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 delivers a well written, if fairly predictable tale. Dutch is a low time thug who finds times are getting tougher. He was never a big fish in the crime world, and now with supers putting even more pressure on things, he considers getting out of the biz. Even as he tries to though a buddy of his convinces him to come back for one final score. Things go less than perfectly.

All the characters in Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 are written well, and the story delivers the same sort of emotionally grounded tale other Marvel Snapshots have delivered. While it is fairly predictable there are good reasons for it. The tale written by Chaykin is a classic one. And can really only end in one of two ways. Only so many surprises can be had in that sort of situation.

The linework, also done by Chaykin further enhances the real-life elements of the story. The character is portrayed as looking like everyday people. Some aren’t in great shape, every woman isn’t a tall statuesque supermodel. These look like real people. They just happen to be in a superheroic world. The issue’s colors further this tone as well. Colorist Aburtov keeps the colors a bit darker than comics often lean-to. The bright primaries of many stories are swapped out for more everyday choices. It fits the rest of the presentation nicely. Lastly, we have Bruzenak’s letter work. The primary task of the letter is to deliver the story clearly and in a way that lets the reader focus on the story, not how they are consuming it. At this, Bruzenak delivers nicely.

So, when all is said and done Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 delivers a solid, down to earth tale, that is almost completely absent of its title character, and has some potentially problematic trappings.

Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1
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TL;DR

So, when all is said and done Marvel Snapshots: Spider-Man #1 delivers a solid, down to earth tale, that is almost completely absent of its title character, and has some potentially problematic trappings.