(RE)INTRODUCING…SPIDER-BOY! The battle to save the Spider-Verse may be over, but spinning out of the restored Web of Life and Destiny returns the spectacular SPIDER-BOY, Peter Parker’s stupendous sidekick! Wait, that can’t be right—who IS this Spider-Boy, and what is his connection to the Amazing Spider-Man?!
Spider-Man #11 is the finale to Dan Slott’s initial return to Peter Parker and solidifies how greatly the potential of this secondary title was wasted. Unless the reader has a vested interest in the developing lore of Bailey Briggs, a.k.a Spider-Boy, there is no reason to read this comic. On its own, it lacks anything thematically interesting or satisfying but does a very nice job of streamlining the run-up to the launch of Spider-Boy #1 with a pop-comic style of superhero fiction.
Dan Slott’s writing is technically sound enough to ensure the book is, at the very least, well-constructed, if bland. After a massive Spider-Verse story that tried but fell short of kickstarting this ongoing in the way an opening arc should, and a down-to-earth yet completely safe second arc, it’s clear that this series was never envisioned with merit. When it comes down to brass tacks, this issue is much like the rest of the run: safe, fun, but wasteful.
The issue sees Peter and Bailey taking down the Big Wheel as Peter learns more about the young hero’s forgotten role in the Marvel Universe. Slott’s writing is on-brand, the characters distinctly voiced and characterized in ways accurate to their long history, but with their edges a tad softened. The pacing leaves a little to be desired on the front half but picks up halfway through with some really solid sequencing.
Overall, Bailey’s history fits nicely into Marvel’s canon without exactly disturbing it. Besides its fun action moments and solid character writing, there isn’t an attempt to tell a story with any deeper meaning or artistry. Peter coming to accept Bailey was a fine moment in itself and will play well for those jumping onto the upcoming Spider-Boy ongoing that’s set to replace this one.
That being said, Dan isn’t a hack when it comes to writing. There are loose attempts to tie this back into “End of the Spider-Verse,” although it is done in such a way that lacks weight or narrative punch. I can’t stress enough how solid the characters and plotting are, but it all feels meaningless due to the insular, self-contained nature of the storytelling. There’s no real sense that any of the events of this series connect to the broader Marvel Universe, let alone the greater Spidey narrative.
Hopefully, as the issues roll in for Bailey’s solo series, he will begin to feel like less of a Poochie-esque gimmick and more like a full-fledged character. It’s hard not to have hope, as Dan’s writing here mixed with the innate appeal of a young superhero is charming, but it’s going to need some more creative oomph behind it that this issue lacked completely.
Luciano Vecchio’s art is kinetic, expressive, and wonderfully consistent in both its tone and depiction of the human form. This is a damn pretty book, something you hear often with Edgar Delgado on colors, but Vecchio’s art is suited not just to this kind of action-focused storytelling but to the character of Spider-Man themselves.
Spider-Man #11is an average superhero comic, with strong sequencing and character writing. However, it's better aspects relying on one's interest in Spider-Boy to have any vested reason to read the finale to this somewhat needless Spider-Man title.
Spider-Man #11: Over and Out
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 6.5/106.5/10
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