Spider-Man: Unforgiven #1
SPIDER-MAN GETS THE FRIGHT—AND FIGHT—OF HIS LIFE! RAIZO KODO and the clanless vampires of the FORGIVEN scour the underworld for the most dangerous ghouls and creatures known to man… But when former Sorceress Supreme SALOMÉ returns with a devastatingly devious plan, these moral monsters might run into more trouble than they bargained for… And mixed up in the middle of it all is the one and only AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!
Told in the same vein as Steve Orlando’s 2021 Curse of the Man-Thing title, Spider-Man: Unforgiven #1 is part one in a three-part series from writer Tim Seely and artist Sid Kotian. This new horror-themed mini-series follows The Forgiven, a group of good-guy vampires who were introduced in Fear Itself: Hulk Vs Dracula #1, as they induct a new recruit, Redblood, into their ranks.
I really wanted to enjoy this issue for what it was, but unfortunately, the aping off of Spider-Man ultimately served to be detrimental to the core narrative. This story is 85% about The Forgiven, but the remaining 15% is a shoehorned Spider-Man story that has no business being as good as it is. Spider-Man’s portion of the narrative essentially plays out like a classic Superman tale, where Spider-Man reveals that a huge fear of his is losing control and becoming unhinged like a monster. This story makes up so little of this issue, but it left me wishing that Tim Seely would write more Spider-Man moving forward. Seely also gave Spider-Man an amazing voice, full of all the wit and humor the character is known for, with enough self-deprecation to keep the character consistent. This issue also uses Spider-Man’s Spider Signal, a woefully underused piece of his famous spider gadgets. Callbacks and writing like this make Seely seem like a shoo-in for a Spider-Man ongoing or limited series.
The main narrative of this book left a lot to be desired. The Forgiven is such an obscure Marvel team that I needed to familiarize myself with it before this issue. Unfortunately, this issue didn’t do enough to develop this team into anything desirable. There’s one specific part of this issue where Spider-Man’s inner monologue goes on and on about how much he looks up to Raizo Kodo and how inspirational he’s been to his internal struggles. This came across as super forced since most people will have only known these characters, specifically Kodo, since the beginning of this issue. This team seems like they may have worked better in the original Fear Itself story, mainly since it featured Dracula, but here, their importance seems non-existent. They claim to be the earth’s backup superheroes when everyone else is tied up in crazy events like Secret Wars, but that makes no sense historically in Marvel continuity. D-list teams and heroes already serve this purpose, so The Forgiven is redundant.
Sid Kotian’s art here is a bright spot in this title, balancing the horror and action elements. Solome, in particular, was drawn very well, looking very frightening. Kotian also draws a well-balanced Spider-Man, with the heavy use of lines feeling reminiscent of John Romita Jr’s iteration in the current Amazing Spider-Man run. The art here felt reminiscent of Romita Jr, particularly his cover for the Dark Web issue Spider-Man #16. Kotian’s art fits well with the story’s tone, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the X-Men part.
Spider-Man: Unforgiven #1 fits better as a Spider-Man story than it does as the first part of a miniseries about The Forgiven. Fans of Spider-Man will love how Tim Seely writes the character, with Sid Kotian’s art feeling reminiscent of John Romita Jr’s.
Spider-Man: Unforgiven #1: Spider-Man + Vampires = Horror Stuff
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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