This week in Marvel Comics, Hobie Brown is smashing back into Earth 138, a reference to the Misfits‘ “We Are 138,” in Spider-Punk #1. It’s our main review, with LIGHT SPOILERS about the issue.
Scroll down for the rapid Rundown for brief, spoiler-lite reviews of X-Men: Red #1, The Thing #6, and Devil’s Reign #6. Plus, be sure and let us know what you thought of this week’s Marvel Comics releases here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat!
Writer: “Calamitous” Cody Ziglar
Artist: “Jammin” Justin Mason
Color Artist: “Jumpin” Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: VC’s “Tactical” Travis Lanham
Main Cover: Olivier Coipel, Alejandro Sánchez
Stage Crew: Stacie Zucker, Danny Khazem, and Nick Lowe
Spider-Punk and the Spider-Band are back, with a new bandmate who moonlights as a tech super-genius, Riri Williams. Along for the ride is Karl Morningdew, aka Captain Anarchy, and Robbie Banner, aka Hulk—although the Raging Hulk-side appears to be out of the game, at least for now, because there are still four more issues in this five-part miniseries. There are also some other members of the Spider-Band, but I was unclear on who they are (however, devoted punk rock Spidey fans may know).
Hobie Brown hails from Earth-138, where Spider-Punk fans previously saw him smash his guitar into the skull of the villainously Venomized classic Spider-Man antagonist, Norman Osborn, President of the United States of America. However, even smashing Osborn’s head with a guitar until his brain is hanging upside down didn’t fix the problems in the 138. Good thing the rebel-rousing team is back in action.
Created by Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel, Spider-Punk first appeared as part of the Spider-Verse storyline in 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man #10 by Slott, Coipel, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Justin Ponsor, Wade von Grawbadger, Cam Smith, Livesay, and Chris Eliopoulos. At the “Beyond Amazing: Celebrating 60 Years of Spider-Man” online event hosted by Marvel Unlimited on March 16th, 2022, Slott shared the secret origin of Spider-Punk, whom the writer describes as his favorite alternate universe Spidey.
While working with Coipel on Spider-Verse, a character in Slott’s script was Spider-UK, who is from the Captain Britain Corps and based on the concept of the Union Jack and the Spider. Instead of designing the new Spider-Man that Slott had intended Coipel to depict, the French artist drew a new character instead. “When Olivier drew it, in his mind, Spider-UK meant ‘punk,’ so he drew the character we know as Spider-Punk,” explained Slott.
The ASM writer then added, “I get the art… I needed to script Spider-UK, and I couldn’t find him on any panels. I was like, ‘Olivier, where’s Spider-UK?’ And he was like, ‘oh, that’s him, that’s the punk.’”
The art had to be patched so that Spider-Punk could be lifted out of the art and replaced with Spider-UK, which crushed Olivier, who had a great affection for the character. However, Slott promised Olivier that Spider-Punk would be brought in a subsequent issue, and true to his word, Brown was soon a recurring Marvel character, and now, he is back and ready to kick out the jams.
Writer Ziglar is a self-proclaimed Black punk kid writing a Black punk kid and it shows. In the letter column, Ziglar says the team was given complete creative freedom to reference all of their favorite punk songs growing up—and Spider-Punk #1 did not disappoint in that regard. In fact, it would be easy to make a GRRRRREAT punk playlist out of the references in the first issue alone!
“I’m a street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm,” Hobie begins in the first panel of Spider-Punk #1. With an alias like Spider-Punk, it only seems appropriate that the character’s reintroduction into Marvel Comics’ rotating roster of Spider-Verse books is him quoting lyrics to “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop and The Stooges. The line is especially perfect when Spider-Band’s first foe is Nazified Kraven the Hunter and his hate-mongering capitalist thugs.
However, the irony of a Spider-Punk character is not lost on me, especially right now when Disney’s Marvel unit filed a series of lawsuits to retain full ownership rights to characters, including Spider-Man. Over the years, Marvel Comics’ corporate overlords, Marvel Entertainment, LLC, and The Walt Disney Company have been battling to terminate copyright provisions. Writing for the majority in the 2014 patent case, Kimble et al. v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, successor to Marvel Enterprises, Inc., about a Spider-Man toy, Justice Elena Kagan concluded her decision with the famous quotation from a 1962 Spider-Man comic book: “In this world, with great power, there must also come — great responsibility.” In fact, Spider-Punk’s parent corp seems like the PERFECT big bad for the hero.
Although the last page reveal was spoiled online before the book’s launch with the plot points revealed in future solicitations only followed by the most diehard fans, for comic book readers wishing to maintain the surprise of whom Spider-Punk and his merry band of heroes will fight next—be a capitalist pig and buy the damn thing at your local comic shop.
- X-Men Red #1
- The forward momentum of Destiny of X continues here, with even more soap opera and emotional heft than I could’ve hoped for. Storm, Magneto, and Sunspot are excellent leads, and while much of this issue is scene-setting, it feels like we’re put directly into their heads to see why each of them has chosen to be on Arrako (Not to mention I’m a sucker for emo Magneto). Al Ewing’s characterizations in this are fantastic, to the point where there’s a page in here that feels it could’ve been ripped out of mid-80s New Mutants. The continuation of a number of ongoing plots from so many different books from the past two and a half years of X-Men feel organic and unforced, showing just how much of a master Ewing is at managing continuity. Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee, and Ariana Maher tie everything together with stunning visuals that elevate this book even higher. The staging of the action in the first scene, in particular, is dramatic as hell and does a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the issue. Thankfully, we’re getting two chapters of this series this month because I could not wait a whole month for the next episode. — CB
- The Thing #6
- The conclusion of this outstanding, continuity-informed six-issue series by Walter Mosley, Tom Reilly, Jordie Bellaire, and Joe Sabino sees everyone’s cards on the table, and between a descendant of the Watcher and Death herself, the Thing has his ever-loving hands full. Like the five issues that preceded it, this chapter once again serves up exceptional characterization, incredible art, gorgeous “retro” color, and luscious lettering – each member of this creative team has brought their A-game to every issue of The Thing. Issue number 6 also gives Alicia a chance to play a heroic role and brings all the many plot threads of this flashback miniseries to a satisfying close. While Marvel Comics may not have always had the greatest success when bringing an author best known for their prose work to the comic book page, Mosley’s foray into scripting in the graphic sphere has proven to be an unmitigated success. And the Agatha Harkness cameo? Just the cherry on top. —AJK
- Devil’s Reign #6
- Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, & Marcio Menyz’s epic event reaches its climax in thrilling fashion, with the heroes of New York battling the city’s Purple Man-controlled populace and Daredevil(s) and Wilson Fisk finally facing off. Fisk’s actions at the end of the previous issue propel this one forward at breakneck speed, and Checchetto & Menyz’s storytelling chops are on full display, bouncing between characters and locations without ever being confusing or losing momentum. The conclusion also nicely sets up the next phase of Zdarsky’s Daredevil run, wrapping up loose ends and untying new ones to explore. It’s also weird to read an event where the villain sort of gets a happy ending, but also incredibly gratifying given all the time and work Zdarsky has put into restoring Wilson Fisk to his Kingpin glory. It’s truly a shame that the Ho Che Anderson-written Luke Cage: City of Fire tie-in series got cancelled, as Cage’s role in the climax of the series is pivotal. Otherwise, though, this was an all-around very satisfying small-scale event series. — JG
Next week, X-Men ’92 travels to the House of X!