Review by Nick Ahlhelm
While Dynamite’s take on The Shadow kept the character in his traditional period setting, David Liss takes a different track as he brings The Spider to life. While the revised character is still very much Richard Wentworth, but he’s in a very different world.
The new Spider is clearly set in modern day New York City, any question of setting gone. Richard remains very much the same, although he has been clearly set up as a former soldier in the Special Forces. Nina Van Sloan is now a reporter and regular talking head in media circles (along with one other major, spoiler-oriented change). Ram Singh is now a lawyer, but still a loyal ally to Richard. Kirkpatrick… well Kirkpatrick really hasn’t changed much. He’s still the head of the police, still pretty much knows Richard is the Spider, and still just lets him operate on his own.
If the changes seem too much, they really aren’t. Despite the serial-inspired costume, this is still very much The Spider of old. The violence is still visceral, the villains are still over the top and the storytelling is still as brutal as ever.
The first plot quickly goes from the Spider gunning down local thugs to introducing a new villain, a woman that calls herself Anput after an Egyptian goddess. And in typical modern comic format, she likes to turn people into zombie-like creatures.
The second issue quickly deepens Anput’s plot for the city as well as slipping in her origin. Liss doesn’t waste a lot of space in his storytelling with drawn out sequences. His comics move with at a breakneck pace even as they pack huge amounts of plot on each page. It’s a trick more modern comic writers need to discover.
While the writing by Liss is compelling, Colton Worley does equally well on art. His style attempts to bring a photo-realistic design to the characters and this reviewer wouldn’t be surprised to learn he used models for the characters. When Richard puts on his costume, Worley gives the Spider a fluid grace as he flashes through the city, guns drawn. The two pistols have a great visual effect: a targeting light that flashes out in a web-like pattern—not very realistic, but really cool-looking.
With two issues in the can, The Spider looks to be a tough book to beat in the pulp field, much like Liss’s previous work on Black Panther and Mystery Men from Marvel.
The Spider issues one and two are now available at finer comic shops for $3.99 or digitally at Comixology for only $1.99 an issue.