Monday, March 21, 2011

The Spider #1

I've long been a fan of the pulp heroes (though I wasn't around the read them when they first appeared on the newsstands - but I enjoyed the reprints in the '60s and '70s) and I generally try to support those characters when they show up in comics - but all too often I'm disappointed (see the recent Doc Savage comic).

You can add The Spider to the list.

I should admit up front that I have read very few of his pulp appearances - the same is true about Operator 5, who stars in the back-up story.

But pulp stories are usually entertaining, with lots of action, exotic locales, larger-than-life events and destruction on a massive scale - the equivalent of today's disaster films. Fun, if not thought-provoking.

But these stories fail on that level. The Spider story involves mummies, mad scientists, a beautiful woman and lots of mayhem - but the story is erratic and makes almost no sense at all.

The one good thing is the artwork by Pablo Marcos, who did tons of great work in the '70s and '80s on horror and barbarian comics - but the oddly muted coloring on the comic doesn't offer much help to the art.

The backup story features uncover agent Operator 5 as he infiltrates a hate group. The story manages to be confusing and offensive (though most of that is deliberate to establish the villains).

I'd urge the creative teams to go back to the basics here. Give us some background on the characters - who they are, how they operate, who their supporting characters are - and then plunge into the story. It'll make things easier on the readers.

I really want to support this pulp revival, but the writing is making it difficult.

Grade: C-


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