Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 is written by Joe Kelly, penciled by Chris Bachalo, inked by Tim Townsend, colored by Marcio Menyz, and lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham. It is published by Marvel Comics. “Big Brain Play” features Peter Parker tracking down a conspiracy when his classmate Austin suffers a fatal overdose from a new designer drug. Said conspiracy eventually leads him to battle a new gang of hi-tech thieves as Spider-Man.
Editor Nick Lowe describes this book as what happens if Spider-Man was the protagonist of Speed or Crank and that’s fairly accurate. From the very first page, readers are thrown into the action. Spidey bursts out of a window, falls fifteen stories straight down, and slams into a car-all the while webbing up the debris so that it won’t harm the civilians. The first five pages are a great display of Spidey’s superpowers and his on-the-fly thinking, which are two of the many attributes I love about the character.
Kelly is no stranger to high-octane storytelling, having worked on similarly paced animated shows like Generator Rex and Ben 10 as part of Man of Action. Under his pen, Spidey operates on pure instinct-and an undercurrent of simmering anger. Peter Parker’s philosophy of “with great power comes great responsibility” often means he feels guilt or anger when people close to him die, and the latter comes to the forefront due to the fact that Austin was a grade A student who wasn’t into drugs. Kelly has him express that anger via pointed barbs and literally slamming objects into his new foes.
What REALLY makes this comic sing, however, is Bachalo’s artwork. Bachalo has illustrated virtually every Marvel character, yet his work here is among some of his best. Bachalo and Townsend draw massive splash pages for half the issue, even tilting panels diagonally to give the comic a sense of movement. Every kick, punch and web that Spidey throws or shoots bleeds into a another panel, and enemies even go flying.
These new enemies also have an immensely cool design. Spidey refers to one of them as a “wannabe street samurai,” but the Japanese influence on their masks and clothing is fairly strong, from the red and white coloring (which ironically are the same colors of Japan’s flag) and their masks resembling an oni‘s.
Even Menyz and Lanham lend their talents to making the book feel like an action movie, with Menyz providing a bright color palette which makes it easy to distinguish Spidey from his foes. Lanham’s letters also make the reader feel every punch, kick, or body slamming into debris, and he comes up with a unique way to visualize Spidey’s Spider-Sense. Instead of the usual jagged lines, Spider-Sense is described as words surrounding Spidey’s head, such as “GET UP NOW!” or “BEHIND YOU!” It’s a neat touch that reminds you this particular power is all about warning Spidey of danger.
The book also contains a backup story written by Kelly and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham, which feels rather disconnected from the main plot. Hopefully it ties into the main story, but I felt it could have been saved for another issue. However, Eaglesham draws an amazing action sequence and gets to put his own spin on a classic Marvel villain in the process.
Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 is a jolt of adrenaline in comic book form, placing the friendly neighborhood web-slinger into the middle of an action film. Spidey fans and action fans should pick it up if they like their comics fast and furious (to quote another famous action film franchise.)
Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 will be available to purchase on Wednesday, March 10th wherever comics are sold.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.