Some dynamic artwork pulls you in to this action-packed comic, however the story leaves something to be desired.
With a new drug called “A-Plus” wreaking havoc at Empire State University, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, Spider-Man searches for answers. This puts him up against a mysterious tech-savvy gang and the deadly Zapata Brothers. Norah Winters pops up to help in the investigation, but Spidey is still cautious after his previous run-ins with the intrepid reporter.
Some more of the background on this drug and this situation is established in Non-Stop Spider-Man #2, which helps flesh out the story more. I had criticized the first issue as we had no information on the victims aside from the fact that Peter Parker might have known them. Now that’s been cleared up a bit more as the action continues to heat up.
Much of that is attributable to Chris Bachalo’s artwork. These are some of the most dynamic panel layouts I’ve seen in ages and they really add to the excitement of the book. Bachalo fits a ton of images on the page in a variety of angles, offering a complete 360 degree perspective on the fight scenes. It gives the appearance of quick cuts in a blockbuster movie, but you have the time to focus in on each detail.
Inkers Tim Townsend, Al Vey, and Wayne Faucher capture all the fine details in Bachalo’s pencils. When a window shatters, you see what looks like hundreds of small pieces of glass flying out like a wave of pain.
The one inconsistency with the artwork is Spider-Man himself. The web-head often looks small, like a child jumping into battle. His anatomy is often skewed, making his limbs or torso look too long or too short at times.
Letterer Travis Lanham goes all out with the sound effects in Non-Stop Spider-Man #2. They are as much a part of the artwork as the images themselves, especially with all the action we see in this chapter. I highlighted this in my review for the first issue, but it bears repeating. The depiction of the Spider Sense is my favorite rendition to date. Instead of just the squiggly lines around the wall-crawler’s head, Lanham shows words that help zone in on the threat. For example, when something is coming down from above, the words “Up! Up!” are shown in that same style as the classic lines. It’s awesome.
This issue gets a little grittier, particularly with the fight against the Zapata Brothers. Colorist Marcio Menyz moves deftly from the bright lights of the skycrapers within the city to the down-and-dirty alleys below. It’s all action-packed, yet each scene comes with its own unique tone.
Coming back around to the story, writer Joe Kelly puts more pieces into place as to what’s being this new drug and who it might be targeting. This gets into a really messed up kind of hate crime that is just too evil for words. When Baron Zemo is involved, that’s not surprising as he’s a literal Nazi. I’m not sure where this is going just yet.
Non-Stop Spider-Man is an all-out blockbuster of a comic, jam-packed with action. The story is still a little light and needs to cover more ground. As it currently stands, it’s a bit more style than substance.
Non-Stop Spider-Man #2 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology.