Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1 is written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Pasqual Ferry, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It is published by Marvel Comics. The series takes an alternate approach to the events of Amazing Spider-Man #258, where Peter Parker learned about the true nature of his symbiote suit. Here, he decides to keep it, which leads to a gruesome confrontation with the Hobgoblin.
Spider’s Shadow sees the return of the What If? Tales series, which often explores alternate paths for legendary Marvel stories. What If? has launched multiple series, including an upcoming animated series that will explore multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe paths. It’s also well-worn ground for Zdarsky, who explored an alternate life path for Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Life Story.
What made Life Story stand out was how it took a realistic approach to many of Spidey’s iconic stories and character moments while also factoring in real-life historical events such as the Vietnam War and the Cold War. With Spider’s Shadow, Zdarsky considers how the Symbiote might affect Peter’s life. Peter is already not in a great place; at this point in his life, he’s losing out on sleep, Mary Jane Watson revealed that she knows his secret, and his Aunt May isn’t speaking to him after he dropped out of college. Combine this with some utterly horrifying nightmares and a recurring foe in the form of the Hobgoblin, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Ferry’s artwork for this book is of equal parts, gorgeous and horrifying. A recurring dream sequence features Peter running through flames, haunted by the women in his life (including Gwen Stacy). Peter looks utterly haunted and tired, with bags under his eyes and a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow. And the evolution of the Symbiote suit is reflective of the darkness within Peter’s soul. It starts as the standard black-and-white Spider-Man suit before transforming into something more sinister. While not as frightening as Venom’s visage, it’s still a far cry from the friendly neighborhood web-slinger fans know and love.
Rounding out the creative team is Hollingsworth on colors. His palette is bright and eye-catching, utilizing multiple colors for different environments. Peter’s dreams are often awash in fiery oranges and reds, while his bedroom, and the Fantastic Four’s headquarters in the Baxter Building, where he later visits, are colored a cool calming blue. Finally, the Symbiote suit is black as night, and combined with Ferry’s illustrations, it actually feels like a living thing.
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow launches a new era of What If? Tales, sending the web-slinger down a dark path. Given Zdarsky’s previous work and how gorgeous Ferry and Hollingsworth’s art looks, this feels like it could be an all-timer for alternate Spider-Man tales.
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1 is available wherever comics are sold.
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #1
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow launches a new era of What If? Tales, sending the web-slinger down a dark path. Given Zdarsky’s previous work, and how gorgeous Ferry and Hollingsworth’s art looks, this feels like it could be an all-timer for alternate Spider-Man tales.
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.