Peter Parker famously wore the alien symbiote during Tom DeFalco’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN run. Specifically, he wore it from AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 (May 1984) to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #259 (December 1984). Since DeFalco’s “Saga of the Alien Costume” is one of my all-time favorite Spider-Man storylines, I was super excited when I learned that Marvel would revisit that era of Spider-Man history with SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN (2019). Thankfully, Marvel did not let me down. SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 is another amazing Spider-Man story.

Peter David, Greg Land, and Devin Lewis nailed it with this fantastic first issue of SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN. This issue whetted my appetite for more fast-paced, exciting, emotional, beautifully illustrated, super well-researched storytelling. In addition to this, the issue gives readers a new understanding of Spider-Man’s supporting cast. (Black Cat and Mysterio steal the spotlight.) Most importantly, SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 is well worth your purchase. If you haven’t already, go pick it up ASAP.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Made Me Care About Mysterio

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 starts with a glimpse into the future: Spider-Man relentlessly beating up Mysterio. Then, the story splits into four chapters. Each chapter provides key information. Eventually, the reader understands why Spider-Man is beating up Mysterio at the beginning of the issue. But, at that point, the reader will also understand why Spider-Man totally should not be doing that.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Chronologically, the plot follows Mysterio planning a robbery with a friend. His friend rejects the offer, and Mysterio performs the heist on his own. It goes terribly wrong, and Audrey Henning, an innocent civilian, dies. Afterward, Mysterio heads to the cemetery to reflect on his actions. Mysterio even considers giving up crime, since, apparently, he had never before been responsible for the death of another person.

Unfortunately for Mysterio, Peter Parker and Felicia Hardy were at the cemetery at that exact same time. Peter took Felicia there to mourn the anniversary of his uncle’s death. While there, Felicia and Peter see Quentin Beck, Mysterio, at the cemetery, and suspect that he knows their secret identities. In response, Peter tracks him down in a fit of rage, and things get a bit out of hand.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Stays True to the Timeline

Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

This issue seemingly takes place between AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #253. Peter’s five-o-clock shadow gives it away. He sports the same look in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252. Honestly, it’s incredible how accurately David, Land, and Lewis portray this time in Peter’s life. For a brief moment, I believed they made a mistake, but the creative team quickly proved me wrong.

When Felicia gets scared of Peter’s new costume in SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1, I remembered a similar moment from Defalco’s run. I thought that AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #257 featured Felicia’s actual initial reaction to the symbiote, but the issue never indicates that. In other words, I was wrong. David, Land, and Lewis really did do their homework for this miniseries, and for that I am grateful.

Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Symbiote Spider-Man #1 Is Super Fun

Additionally, the art and writing work together perfectly, making the entire story much more immersive and engaging. For example, Land’s fluid and dynamic figures mesh well with David’s brisk pacing and excellent sense of humor. SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 actually features a very entertaining action sequence atop the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. One panel makes a reference to Philippe Petit.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

This scene is probably my favorite in the issue. It contains a proper dose of jokes from the web-slinger, and it looks awesome. Land’s creative page layouts especially shine during actions scenes like this one. As a result, panels flow naturally into each other. Each one draws my eye directly to the next, highlighting each movement made by Spider-Man and the Human Fly. Of course, Joe Sabino’s lovely lettering also helps guide the motion of the comic.

Symbiote Spider-Man #1
Image Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Lastly, Jay Leisten’s inks and Frank D’Armata’s colors create a satisfying, sleek, and dark style that matches Land’s drawings. There is room for improvement: some pages could’ve benefitted from some extra contrast in color tone and line value. But, nonetheless, the overall product is stunning.

Final Thoughts…

In conclusion, SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 tells a thrilling story, and it tells it extremely well. The book shines with loads of action, humor, twists, and turns. I can’t wait to see where the creative team goes next with this series.

SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN #1 by Peter David, Greg Land, Iban Coello, Jay Leisten, Frank D'Armata, Joe Sabino, and Devin Lewis
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
This issue is fast-paced, exciting, emotional, beautifully illustrated, and super well-researched. It also gives readers a new understanding of Spider-Man’s supporting cast. Can't recommend it enough.
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One Comment

  1. Red

    April 11, 2019 at 12:15 am

    I noticed a big mistake in this issue. It’s suppose to take place within continuity right? That means this would’ve been Spider-Man in the early to mid-1980s. Page 7, 2nd panel (bank scene). We see the teller, Audrey, talking on a cell phone. They were corded back then! I’m a little disappointed. Only reason I was excited about this was because I was hoping for a series able to capture that classic Spidey I grew up with again… but what Peter David does is just write a modern Spider-Man that’s set in that time. Marvel comics back then wouldn’t have had profanity due to the Comics Code and there were a few in this issue. And then that slip up of with Felicia suggesting Peter get undressed and naked for her. Completely out of line with the time period. The worst was Aunt May and Felicia asking about whether she was a “friend” or “lover”. God that was just really bizarre and out of place. No way Aunt May would ever have engaged in that sort of conversation back then. It just was never her character. So far this issue is a fail for me.

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