REVIEW: Spidey #10 – “Bad Reputation”

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SPIDEY #10
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Nathan Stockman
Colorist: Jim Campbell
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 09/07/16
Rating: Rated T
Price: $3.99

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Plot: Civil War is everywhere and now it’s Spidey Vs. Captain America! PSYCHE! Spidey is feeling down until Captain America teams up and inspires the webslinger.

Story: Spidey is a book that takes places early in Spider-Man’s career and tells the untold tales. This is a tricky thing for a writer because you have to tell something fresh and fun, but at the same time you have stricter guidelines to work within. Robbie Thompson does this flawlessly here. Even the introduction of Agent Coulson in this issue worked like he was always around. Thompson creates a story that even someone who is a continuity buff like myself can accept.

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This issue is about Spidey meeting Captain America for the first time, and it is AWESOME! The pure love and enjoyment I felt when reading Spider-man as a kid exudes from every page. There are no forced tie-ins. There are no overdrawn out arcs. What there is, is a very simple, very engaging adventure. I think that was the formula that made Spider-Man so endearing to fans. Thompson took these two iconic characters and boiled them down to their basics and gave us a story that left me grinning from ear to ear with each page turn.

Thompson tells the perfect timeless Spidey tale here. This could take place in the 60’s 80’s, or today. He does that here by focusing on the characters and putting them in something that everyone no matter when you grew up can relate to. Spidey is feeling down because even though he tries his best, people still put him down and treat him like he is the bad guy. This especially rings true with the way society is right now with social media, everyone quickly judges everyone else. They take that one moment, one picture, and twist it to fit their narrative. Spidey finds inspiration from the Living Legend himself, and remembers why he became Spider-Man to begin with. This is very after school special, but it is done in a way that when you close the issue you smile and decide, “yeah I’m going to re-read it.”

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Art: The art here is very simple, but it works perfectly to capture that timeless feel of the story. Everything about the art is pure fun. Nathan Stockman gives Spider-Man that simple classic look, and actually remembers he is a skinny teenager under that mask. So many artist try to beef Spidey up when they draw young Peter. They tend forget that he was that skinny geek, not the buff athlete. One of the great things visually about this series is that artist get to draw Spidey in his early days with these crazy awesome poses that really weren’t introduced until Todd McFarlane’s run in the 90’s.

Stockman also does a great job with Spidey’s mask. A classic element of Spidey is how he emotes even with a full face mask. Stockman allows him to fully emote without it being overdone. He utilizes not just the eyes to show how Spidey feels, but also throws in other angles so we can see the profile and get what is going on under the mask. But Spidey isn’t the only one that emotes well here, because Cap has the most awesome smile throughout this issue. Each time Cap helps someone he has this smile on his face and Stockman sells us on why people love and respect him through that smile.

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The colors really add to the fun and enjoyment here. They are big bright and bold. They grab your attention and does so without overpowering your eyes. Jim Campbell uses a very classic color palette that continues the timeless feel. Cap and Spidey share the same color scheme, but each have different tones. This can be seen mainly with the blue. In Cap’s costume blue is the color with black shadowing. While Spidey’s costume is the same, yet it looks more like it is black with blue highlights by adding more shadows, and as a result invokes that classic look of the character.

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Verdict: Overall this is the Spidey I love and miss. This is the best Spider-Book Marvel is putting out right now. If you have been disenchanted with Spider-Man lately, and comics in general, grab this issue and renew your faith. Most of all Thompson doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here, he just rolls it with style.

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