Last week I talked about the stellar job Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman did on the King In Black event series for Marvel, which found the symbiote god Knull coming to Earth to decimate and take over.
The roots of that series comes from the alien symbiote that Spider-Man picked up on Battleworld during the game-changing mini series Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars from all the way back in 1984. Ultimately, as most Marvel and comic book fans know, what was first thought to be a real cool black costume wound up having a mind of its own; Peter Parker would end up ridding himself of the symbiote, which would ultimately bond with Eddie Brock, creating the character of Venom.
But…what if Peter wound up embracing the symbiote and the power it gave him? Would Peter have become his own version of Venom? Would the goodness in his heart win a contest of wills with the symbiote?
What if, indeed? This is what writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Pasqual Ferry are exploring in the new What If? four issue mini-series, Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow, and if the first issue is any indication (spoiler: it is), this is going to be one of the great What If? tales.
For the uninitiated, What If?‘s have been going on for years in Marvel, exploring various alternate storylines and character changes, in virtually every instance in the span of a single issue. Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow is the first What If? to span multiple issues, and it’s already clear having the room to breathe is a huge advantage for the creative team. Nothing in the book feels rushed in the least; Zdarsky, who has proven to be a great Spidey writer with series’ like Spider-Man: Life Story and Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, provides both action and character development, which is beautifully rendered by Ferry’s artwork.
Quite frankly, Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow nearly slipped under my radar, especially coming on the heels of the symbiote spectacular that was King In Black. I’m so glad I didn’t miss out. I can’t say I was ever a What If? fan, but this book, free from continuity and willing to go dark, is so well delivered that I’m already waiting for the second issue to arrive so I can see what happens next.
What if Peter’s completely overtaken? What if he kills an innocent?
What if? What if? WHAT IF?