Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1

Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Review by Gregory Brothers

Up until about a year ago, Peter Parker was the hero of the people. Sure, he had some major events throughout the years, but most of his stories were street level stories based in New York. Besides being a hero of the people he also had what became known as the Parker luck, which was a form of bad luck. No matter how hard Parker worked and no matter how noble the causes a string of bad luck always seemed to be the foundation of Parker’s life. Since the end of Secret Wars II, much of that has changed as Parker Industries has become a global country and the adventures of Spider-Man have crossed the globe. While those stories and adventures continue in Amazing Spider-Man, Chip Zdarsky has been tasked with writing stories of a more local and street level faire in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man. 

From page one it becomes obvious that Zdarsky is going to take a different approach to Spider-Man as we are shown a flashback of how Spider-man’s origin story. Okay, in all seriousness, we’ve heard the origin of Spider-man about as many times as we have seen Bruce Wayne’s parents shot down in that ally. The brilliance in the way that it is told here is that Zdarsky knows that, and instead of laboring through panel after panel rehashing the story, we get Spider-Man and Human Torch enjoying a sandwich as Johnny Storm complains about having to hear the origin story once again. This series of panels is just one of many where the humor and sarcasm of Zdarsky’s writing shines through. It is a comedy that doesn’t go for the cheap laugh but relies on the wink and nudges that long time readers and sometimes critics of modern day Marvel comics will understand and get a nice chuckle out of.

The Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 solicit promises a return to basics and local New York stories and Zdarsky delivers on those promises in issue one. Besides the lunch conversation with Johnny Storm, conversations with Aunt May, runs in with a couple of Marvel New York based heroes and a commercial flight to Chicago reminds the readers that this is a different Spider-Man book that what they have been reading for the last few years. For me it is those ground level conversations that is what makes Zdarsky’s Spider-man feel like a true Spider-Man book. Besides the interactions with friends, colleagues, and heroes, the interaction with a possible love interest is also a throwback that has been missing from Spider-Man books. The interactions were well timed and appropriate for what one would except based on the infamous Parker luck.

Kubert’s spider suit is drawn with the classic blue and red, and without the controversial glowing chest plate spider symbol. The panels are pretty classic and standard layout which fits well for the desired look and feel of the art within the panels. The colors and feel of the city have a much smaller feel and fit in for what the intended purpose of the book. Kubert’s art is perfect for the classic Marvel house style in that it focuses on realism when it comes to rendering of the characters and their surroundings.


Buy It! Peter Parker Sensational Spider-Man #1 sets the tone for what is to be expected of this series moving forward. The humor in the book hits just the right notes of dad jokes and sarcasm to establish the proper feel while not coming off as simply a comedy book. Zdarsky has the chance to tell some fun ground level stores with this series and this first issue moves that needle in the right direction.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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