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"Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Chip Zdarsky
Illustrated by Pasqual Ferry
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Lettered by Joe Caramagna
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 12th, 2021


Peter Parker's life took a dark turn when he found a mysterious black costume out in space. In the history we know, he shed this corrupting force, embracing his classic blue and red suit once again and leaving the symbiote to find a new host with Eddie Brock. Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow looks at a different version of events, where Peter held onto the creature and became the being known as Venom.

After the shocking finale of the previous issue, that saw the death of Aunt May at the hands of the Hobgoblin and the swift vengeance Peter unleashed on the villain, this chapter looks at where the web-head goes next. Civilians and villains alike are afraid of him. His friends are concerned for him. J. Jonah Jameson couldn't be happier.

Writer Chip Zdarsky spends some time exploring the fallout of this move and it really pays off. This is the kind of stuff we'd never get in the previous versions of What If? stories as there just wouldn't be the space for it. Since this is a mini-series, we get some great character moments that really drive home the horrifying nature of this turn of events.

Click images to enlarge

A great example of this comes when Mary Jane comes to check in on Peter only to find the symbiote keeping him afloat above his bed. It's super creepy. Artist Pasqual Ferry captures the look of concern mixed with horror on MJ's face. It contrasts well with the nonchalant look on Peter's. He doesn't feel anything but anger. There's no regret for his actions and he's ready and able to do more.

That is on full display here as some other villains from Spider-Man's rogues gallery get into the mix only to pay with their lives. This is absolutely brutal and a side of the wall-crawler we've never seen. It makes it almost difficult to get through because of how unnatural this is. It goes to show how one bad day can change a person's life.

This version of Venom is different than the ones we are more familiar with. This is particularly true with the face that has a more bug-like appearance. It adds to the inhuman quality of Peter in this form, making him look like more of a monster. Colorist Matt Hollingsworth gives Peter a slickness, like the symbiote is really slimy.

Click image to enlarge

The overall tone of Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow is dark, for obvious reasons. Hollingsworth uses more muted tones that match up with the harrowing story. This is not the bright, sunny adventures of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. These are the lurkings of a monster.

Peter strikes fear into the hearts of hero and villain alike. Letterer Joe Caramagna adds so much to these little moments where characters like the Scorpion suddenly realize this isn't the laughing, joking wall-crawler they once knew. A feeling of pure terror sweeps over them and their words come sputtering out in disbelief. It's perfect.

Spider-Man: Spider's Shadow has laid the groundwork for a frightening alternate reality. It's not dark just to be dark. It explores the feelings of shock and terror that come from such a startling transformation. While it has the benefit of working with decades-old characters as its base, it transcends that familiarity and delivers a solid and terrifying story on its own.


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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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