ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #1

Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #1 is published by Marvel Comics. Written by Peter David. The pencils are by Greg Land with inks by Jay Leisten. The colours are from Frank D’Armarta and the letterer is Joe Sabino. This is the latest in the Symbiote Spider-Man books by this creative team. This book places Spider-Man just after the first Secret Wars when he had just acquired his new costume. Working with and dating Black Cat and battling his rogue’s gallery, life is looking good for the webhead. But when Felicia gives him information about a robbery at a museum. Attending the crime leads Spider-Man into an even bigger battle than he was expecting…

The plot of the first issue has an interesting setup, utilising a homage to a previous story as a basis for the story. The first half of the comic pays tribute to the “Spidey Meets the President” story inside Amazing Spider #583. This first part of the comic is positive and sets the scene. The tone matches that of the era the comic is replicating before the new story takes over. This part suddenly feels like a different comic, as Spider-Man fights a new and bizarre villain. The real concept of the series only manifests itself later in Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #1 which is a surprise. However, this reveal could have taken place earlier in the comic instead of just before it ends. 

Most of the characters are written very well by David. The dialogue between the classic characters is authentic and true to their personalities. Spider-Man is the wide-cracking joker that he’s always been. There is something about the energetic commentary that will always be entertaining. Black Cat has often been a fantastic partner for Parker, with a sharp wit of her own but much more menace. Famous aspects of the complex relationship between the Spider and The Cat resurface in this issue. The largest example is Felicia’s attraction to Spider-Man and not to Peter Parker. 

The downside of using that trope is that it is a theme that can get tiring with these two, brought up constantly instead of being brought forwards. In David’s defense, this story seems to take place right when this arc was being explored for the first time. In addition, the first part of the comic is there to serve as flavour before the real story takes place, and it is a key feature of the dynamic.

The art is mostly disappointing within Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #1. Greg Land is a talented penciller, as seen by his photo-realistic description of buildings and landscapes. The New York skyline is rife with intricate detail. But it is in the faces of the characters where the beauty declines. The heads of the figures seem too big with the faces too small. Too much detail leaves the faces looking unpleasant and misshapen. The inks by Leisten don’t help in this regard, as too many heavy lines detract from the clarity of the panel. The art improves when there aren’t distinct faces involved. When it is Spider-Man with his mask on the comic looks beautiful, and there are some awesome fight scenes.

The colours are fantastic, in particular on the costumes. There is a beautiful shine that D’Armarta pours onto the suits of both Black Cat and Spider-Man that creates a sense of texture. But the colourist also knows when to leave a mass of black with no light shining on it at all. There are dull tones to most of the panels but the prettiness of the shades aren’t neglected.

The lettering is very efficient and easy to read. There are minor affectations from Sabino, but none that impact the legibility of the text inside. The SFX blends into the background with match colours or just having the outlines of the words without a filling colour. This makes them understated and unobtrusive.

The Symbiote Spider-Man #1: Crossroads struggles to excite. There is an interesting concept inside this comic, but it happens too late into the book for its impact to be powerful enough. The opening scene is a fun homage to a famous story but lacks the strength to fully grab the attention of the reader. The art is poor and lacks a gripping identity. Whilst the issue changes the time that a post-Secret Wars Spider-Man Comic is set in, there isn’t anything within the art that suggests that this story took place in the past. This may change in future issues, but this first chapter does not do a good job of wanting you to keep reading.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1: Crossroads is available wherever comic books are sold.

 

Symbiote Spider-Man #1: Crossroads
2.5

TL;TL;DR

The Symbiote Spider-Man #1: Crossroads struggles to excite. There is an interesting concept inside this comic, but it happens too late into the book for its impact to be powerful enough. The opening scene is a fun homage to a famous story but lacks the strength to fully grab the attention of the reader.