Ben Parker (Peter’s son, not his uncle) just found out he has super powers and his dad was the Amazing Spider-Man. This doesn’t change his opinion about his father, who is never around. He finds solace in Faye, the quirky girl with a penchant for graffiti, going so far as to share his secret with her. This puts him on Cadaverous’ radar. The villain that ended Spider-Man’s career and took his mother’s life now has his sights set squarely on the next generation.
This series has an intriguing blend of straight up drama and wide-eyed wonder. On the one hand, Ben is full of a lot of anger and angst at his lot in life. His father is basically non-existent and he can’t even remember his mother. He could go down a very dark path with this setup, yet he finds hope in the wild eyes of Faye, going so far as to put on his father’s costume to go out on the town with her.
This is where the fun comes in. Imagine you’re a high school student and you just discovered that you have spider-like agility and super strength. You’d probably be going crazy, right? That is perfectly captured in Spider-Man #2. Discounting for a moment that Ben is surprisingly nimble for a first-time web-slinger, you can’t help but get wrapped up in his excitement at swinging through the air.
This is interrupted by Cadaverous’ forces showing up. They are nothing short of horrifying, clawing and crawling their way up to Ben, ready to tear him apart. Artist Sara Pichelli, aided by Elisabetta D’Amico’s inking assistance, makes these little monsters look so very unsettling. In contrast, Ben looks a little unsteady and vulnerable. Remember, he’s just a kid. He definitely looks the part.
Speaking of creepy stuff, Cadaverous certainly takes the cake in that department. We know next to nothing about him, but his very appearance sends shivers down my spine. Letterer Joe Caramagna gives him a mechanical, yet monstrous voice, like a techno Frankenstein.
Also, I just noticed who Ben saves in this scene. I’m pretty sure that’s Greg Grunberg, the actor that JJ Abrams puts in all of his movies and TV shows. He even made it into the comic! JJ and his son, Henry found a part for him.
Colorist Dave Stewart keeps up with the balance of Spider-Man, highlighting the bright colors of adventure one moment and the ominous tone of a stalking villain the next. The youthful exuberance Ben brings to the book is amplified by these colors, further pulling you into this exciting time in the boy’s life.
In a world with a seemingly never-ending array of Spider-Man comics, this one stands out. It delivers something new and different, giving Peter Parker a chance to grow old and for a new generation to rise up. Sure, Peter was put through Hell to get to this point, but maybe things are turning around. I know I say that with Cadaverous looming in the distance.