The Final Countdown: Reviewing ‘Spider-Punk’ #5
by Scott Redmond
‘Spider-Punk’ is a pure example of how comic books are a medium through which we can have a ton of fun while also tackling some of the most prevalent issues, sometimes through the specific lens of superheroes. This is the type of comic book series that would be so easy to suggest as one to get someone into comics because it’s easy to follow while also being powerful on every single page.
The Spider-Band kicked off their adventures by kicking some Nazi butt before hitting the road for a powerful tour, bringing everything full circle by ending that tour by taking down a fascist. By any accounting measure, that’s a very successful musical tour.
For all five of its issues, Spider-Punk has just been a perfectly crafted example of pure comic book fun wrapped around a powerful timely message: we have the power to topple fascism/Nazism. Cody Ziglar has quickly showcased that he has a very powerful writing voice, able to capture all the various realms that make comic books such a great medium. Which is no doubt the exact reason that he’s already been tapped to stick in the Spider side of things with the upcoming relaunch of Miles Morales’s solo title.
Even with the issues like this one that are super action-heavy, there are tons of great character moments sprinkled with emotional moments and comedy and heroes doing the stuff that we love to see. Ziglar balances it all so easily, bouncing between the moments without it feeling disjointed or overwhelming, or unnecessary at any point. I’ve loved superheroes since the moment I learned about them and have been reading comic books almost my entire life. Even at this point in my life the moment I can come across a comic like this that is powerful and inspiring and feels so real, it makes me so darn happy that this is a medium that I fell in love with so many years ago.
None of this is possible without the wonderous work that Justin Mason and Jim Charalampidis have been pulling off through these five issues. While Ziglar has to juggle one part of fitting all these varying types of moments into the story, they’re tasked with bringing them to bright colorful powerful life. Mason has such a smooth and fun style that is perfect for a musical/punk-style story as this, hitting all the right emotional notes and making it all feel even bigger than it appears to be. I mean, he did a whole darn six-page spread kicking off the huge battle that I would love to buy a large poster of to put across my whole wall.
Along with that, the choices that are made with the paneling on any given page are just so good. They shift and change depending on what the page needs, going from a pretty standard type of paneling to ones that are angled or shifted around, popping out of others, and more.
Bringing the feeling leans quite a bit on the coloring at times and Charalampidis makes sure it works here. I still love that in scenes where Osborn is taking charge of a moment, the neon green color associated with him heavily influences the pages. There are battles of the color types as the green fades and the various colors associated with the members of the Spider-Band as well as more neutral colors take control in the moments where Osborn has lost control. As the characters battle on the page having the colors that surround them, the filter-like colors, battling two is just such a cool notion and he makes it work.
All around these bright flashy colors are a lot of shadows and some light that create a truly realistic sort of night feeling. Sometimes night scenes in mediums are a bit overlit in order to fit around whatever is happening at the moment, but I love it when artists are able to really create a true night feeling, that darkness that feels heavy and overwhelming but also peaceful in many ways. It’s a perfect backdrop for a story like this that is just so colorful and vivid, providing great contrast.
Energy, power, and color are clear in all parts of this comic including the lettering work that Travis Lanham has provided. A lot of that color filter battle that I mentioned above bleeds into the lettering as well, as in many scenes the green from Osborn’s presence colors the balloons, and a lot of the emphasized words get that beautiful big red font that just makes them pop even more. It helps with how Lanham makes sure that the volume and tone are always clear in any given bit of dialogue, changing the size or font of the words or even making the bubbles change shape a bit. No matter how dire or serious the moment there is the fun colorful SFX to bring some levity or fun to proceedings, just like the use of changes to font to make sure that a scream or other utterances are bigger and louder at the moment.
What a great journey this has been, as this creative team has done something truly amazing. Comic books are a great many things but powerful and fun should always be the goal, and that is a goal this series and team nailed.
Spider-Punk #5 is now available from Marvel Comics.