Since the introduction of Spider-Man, one of the staples of the wall-crawler’s adventures has been The Daily Bugle, the great metropolitan newspaper that has alternately provided employment for Peter Parker and stoked public anger towards Spider-Man.
Now the venerated publication is taking center stage with this week’s debut of Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle! The five-issue series looks at the people who make up the Bugle, following them on a series of mysteries involving disappearances, tainted water, and Spider-Man’s wasteful webbing practices.
We’ve got discussion of that title, plus a Rapid Rundown of this week’s other new Marvel releases, all ahead in the latest installment of The Marvel Rundown!
Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1
Written by Mat Johnson
Layouts by Mack Chater & Francesco Mobili
Finishes by Mack Chater, Francesco Mobili, & Scott Hanna
Colored by Dono Sánchez-Almara & Protobunker
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover by Mark Bagley & Morry Hollowell
Samantha Puc: In yet another Spider-Man mini, Marvel is giving us insight to how The Daily Bugle is dealing with Mayor Fisk’s New York, not to mention how the paper is adjusting to digital journalism and social media. Tasteless Gamergate joke about ducks aside, how do y’all feel about the framing of Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1?
Joe Grunenwald: Is there such thing as a tasteful Gamergate joke?
Puc: NO, and yet people keep trying to make them.
Hussein Wasiti: That joke flew over my head because, I’m sorry to say, I’m not entirely sure what Gamergate even is. Which may be a good thing, I don’t know. As for the comic, I kind of enjoyed this, but I will admit that my enjoyment peaked within the first five or so pages of the issue. Those pages convinced me that we’d be getting this great, in-depth look at the Daily Bugle and its reporters but instead it tapered off into this generic, surface-level commentary on modern-day journalism that I found a little annoying. And that art didn’t help, either.
Grunenwald: Hussein, I envy your ignorance of Gamergate. I actually kind of loved this issue. I thought it introduced the characters well and as a sucker for mystery stories I appreciated how it immediately sent each of them off on their own separate investigations. As setup for what’s to come, I thought this was great.
Chloe Maveal: I’m in the same boat as you were, Hussein. They had me at the beginning with the idea of seeing the inner workings of the Daily Bugle. THAT could be something fantastic. But then it sort of morphed into heavy handed commentary that is — while sometimes very on the nose — pretty dang stale at this point. I don’t know. I ended up feeling very ambivalent by the end of the story.
Puc: I’ll send y’all some links when we’re done. My feelings on this issue are mixed, though. On the one hand, I think mirroring the same language used by 45 supporters to talk about Fisk is a bold move, considering one of the executives at Marvel is deep in the president’s pocket. On another, I feel some kind of way about an older, White, cishet, male journalist talking down to an accomplished, young, Black woman whose instincts seem to be just as sharp — if not sharper — than his. And Peter asking Koi Boi to jump into a lake full of poison just doesn’t sit right. Daily Bugle seems to be trying to play too many angles all at once, and not all of them are good. That said, like Joe, I did like the mystery set-up, and I’m curious to see where it leads.
Wasiti: It’s definitely juggling more balls than it can handle. And I share your view of the interaction between Ben Urich and Chloe, Robbie Robertson’s niece. That scene didn’t sit right with me at all.
Grunenwald: The interaction between Ben and Chloe was kind of cringe-y. I feel like it has to be setting up some sort of reversal later in the series. In all of the Ben Urich stories I’ve read, though, I wouldn’t have pegged him as someone who would be so dismissive of someone younger than him. It almost felt like writer Mat Johnson shoehorned him into that role a little bit. Also, is this the first appearance of Koi Boi outside of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl? I kind of enjoyed Peter not really getting what his powers were. I imagine a lot of readers won’t be familiar with the character, but I’m glad to see him live on in the Marvel U.
Wasiti: All of the set-up seemed way too obvious to me. Either it’s a role reversal or they both understand that there’s more to journalism than either of them realise. And I have no idea who Koi Boi is, but I do know that Spider-Man is relentless in his pursuit to apparently kill Koi Boi.
Grunenwald: I may have involuntarily exclaimed with excitement when Koi Boi showed up.
Puc: I’m glad to see Koi Boi live on, as well! I think so many of the interactions between characters in this first issue felt off in a bad way, you know? Like, there’s certainly something to be said about how social media followers doesn’t necessarily dictate quality of a person’s work, especially since followers can be bought but also because someone having many, many ears and eyes doesn’t automatically make them worthy of respect. That said, the interactions between Ben and Chloe didn’t seem interested in dismantling that, and Chloe obviously knows what she’s doing. Having her defend herself with her follower counts felt wrong to me.
Maveal: I agree. Making a follower count as the defense read as really easily dismissive despite that being something real to consider in modern media. It fell apart really easily if you looked too close.
Wasiti: What did you guys think of Mack Chater and Francesco Mobili’s artwork? I wasn’t terribly impressed and I wish a stronger artist could have brought this to life.
Grunenwald: I didn’t dislike the art, but I also didn’t love it. It left no real impression on me.
Maveal: Yeahhh. I was off-put once again by the lack of motion in a recent Spider-Man comic. For as much tension as they wanted to put into this issue, it looked really stiff to me. Kind of just seemed like an afterthought?
Puc: I liked Dono Sánchez-Almara’s and Protobunker‘s colors, but the art felt pretty static. I also thought there were way too many super extreme close-ups on characters’ faces that were unsettling, but not in a way that made sense for the story.
Grunenwald: It’s a book with a lot of talking heads in it, which it seems is tough for even the most seasoned artist. I’m interested by the division of labor in this issue. You have Chater doing layouts for most of the issue save for two pages, and then doing finished art on some of the pages, Mobili finishing some of them (and laying out/finishing the two pages Chater didn’t lay out), and even Scott Hanna jumping in to finish one of the pages. That’s a lot of cooks in that art kitchen. When the series was originally announced back in October Chater was the only artist mentioned, so I wonder if there were either late-in-the-game story changes or delays in Chater’s work that led to the art feeling the way it did.
Wasiti: I just think it’s problematic that the first issue of a five-issue miniseries needed all these artists to get the book out the door. Two colourists? Yikes.
Puc: It’s concerning, for sure, and I think the quality of the issue suffers for it.
Grunenwald: I have to admit I was a little confused by the last-page cliffhanger. Was that a character we were supposed to recognize? I’m sure that’ll be cleared up next issue, but it made me scratch my head a little.
Wasiti: Joe, you don’t understand. Spider-Man is a bad guy! He’s a menace! I guess the reveal was that Spider-Man… webbed up some guy? Why is Chloe surprised, that person might be a criminal?
Grunenwald: I mean, it looked like Spidey left a note. We just couldn’t read what it said. Maybe that explains it?
Maveal: Here’s hoping that the next issue will have at least a couple answers. Cliffhangers with no payoff are beginning to become a bummer.
Wasiti: Not to spoil my verdict… but I don’t think I’ll be reading the next issue.
Puc: The subtitle for the series is “The Hanging Judge,” and I believe this was solicited as taking place during the current Daredevil run. I got the impression this was a figure Spider-Man shouldn’t be stringing up — perhaps (gasp!) a judge. The webs obviously aren’t his, since they’re still there hours later, so the set-up is super obvious to the audience, but I think for characters in-universe, seeing that might make them question.
Grunenwald: Is there anything else anyone wants to add about this book, or are we ready to render verdicts?
Maveal: Based on the conversation, I’d say we’ve been ready for a while, haha
Puc: This is a SKIP. I’m so disappointed, because I love a good journalism comic, and this just isn’t that.
Wasiti: It’s a SKIP from me as well. The first few pages are great but what follows is misstep after misstep, and I couldn’t recommend this to anyone. Like Sam I’m a huge fan of journalism stories but this ain’t it.
Maveal: It’s a SKIP from me as well. I think we’re all of the opinion that journalism comics are killer, but for me this really did miss the mark with tropes, missteps, and too many open-ended questions.
Grunenwald: I’m less enthusiastic about this issue now than I was when we started, as I think talking about it helped clarify some of the weaknesses I was glossing over in my enjoyment of a good mystery. I do think this book has potential if it can get past issues with the art and the trope-y-ness of some of the writing. It’s a WEAK BROWSE for me. I’ll follow along with the rest of the series and let you all know if it improves.
Final Verdict: Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 left something to be desired for the Rundown team. Sam, Hussein, and Chloe suggested you SKIP it outright, while Joe thought it was worth a WEAK BROWSE.
- Captain Marvel: The End #1
- Kelly Thompson‘s compassion for Carol Danvers’ trauma and her understanding of the character is on full display in Captain Marvel: The End #1, which reunites Thompson with artist Carmen Carnero for what is a truly gut-wrenching examination of grief and hope. I loved everything about this issue, but David Curiel‘s color work is especially stunning; the shifts in mood and atmosphere are executed flawlessly and the effect is amazing. This is worth buying, absolutely. — SP
- Doctor Strange: The End #1
- It’s no secret that What If? Magik #1 was one of my top favorite comics from the last decade, largely because of how well Leah Williams handles abuse and trauma within its pages. Doctor Strange: The End #1 serves as a sequel to that incredible one-shot, with Filipe Andrade also returning on art. This one-shot is so sad, but it also humanizes Stephen Strange so beautifully, and reiterates his deep, lasting connections with Wong and Illyana (in this particular universe). I want to read so much more about this world, but if these two one-shots are all there is, then I’m content. — SP
- Hawkeye: Freefall #2
- Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt continue their Hawkeye yarn, and this issue was just sublime and hilarious. Every aspect of the first issue that I enjoyed has been amplified: the humour is more situational and more charming, the Ronin mystery is immediately more engaging, and the art is magnificent. Rosenberg has such a grasp on the comedic side of Clint Barton and as a fan of the character, I’m ecstatic to report that this book is in good hands. — HW
- X-Force #6
- Guest artist Stephen Segovia joins Benjamin Percy for the beginning of a new story, one that focuses on a nation that has decided to ally itself with Krakoa… and all the political drama that leads to. More than anything, this issue is just a highlight of how absurdly brutal this new incarnation of X-Force is, essentially led by Beast as he’ll stop by nothing to ensure victory and anonymity for the mutants. It rubbed me the wrong way but I suspect that’s the point. Describing X-Force as the Krakoan equivalent of the CIA certainly feels like a more accurate assessment of the team now than it did two months ago. Despite that, it was a fairly enjoyable issue with Segovia providing a seamless transition between art styles. — HW
Next week, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four face off for the future of Franklin Richards!