Graphic Novel Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Spiral

Amazing Spider-Man: Spiral

Amazing Spider-Man: Spiral - Credit: Archant

After 25 years, one of the greatest comics writers of all time is back at Marvel...

(Panini Books)

“Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel

Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel…”

The constant state of flux which exists in Manhattan’s criminal underworld has been a factor in Spider-Man’s career since the early days, when Crime Master battled with the Green Goblin for control over the city’s gangs, and rears its head every few years, generally after the web-slinger has taken a major player out of the game.

The abdication of Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, and the power vacuum this created, lit the fuse on a powder keg of rivalry and ambition, with various criminal factions now determined to seize control over his former territory.

While the likes of Hammerhead, Black Cat, Mister Negative, the Goblin King and Tombstone are battling among themselves for power over the underworld, police Captain Yuri Watanabe, better known as the costumed Wraith, finds their actions are having a devastating impact on her precinct, prompting her to cross lines of legality in her quest for revenge.

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For the amazing Spider-Man, coming in the wake of his cross-dimensional exploits as part of the Spider-Verse epic, this is a chance to tackle the street level crime which has embodied so many adventures throughout his career, but the intervention of the Wraith forces him to question whether the end truly justifies the means when it comes to his work as a superhero…

Few comics writers truly deserve the accolade of legend, but Gerry Conway certainly stands among them. Not only did he create Firestorm the Nuclear Man and enjoy a landmark run on the Justice League of America for DC, but while with Marvel he killed off Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy, introduced gun-toting vigilante the Punisher, and scripted the original clone saga. Having been away from the comics medium for over 15 years, he is now enjoying a renaissance with work for both the big publishers once again.

Admirably supported by artist Carlo Barberi, this five-part storyline proves Conway still has a perfect handle on the character who made his name as a comics writer. Every panel feels like a Spider-Man story, and he captures Peter Parker’s inner voice with the same feel he brought to it back in the 1970s, albeit updated perfectly for a contemporary audience.

Unlike Stan Lee, whose writing has dated over time, Conway remains as fresh and vibrant as he ever was, and having someone who this reviewer considers to be the all-time greatest Spidey writer back on the book is just impossible to overlook. An outstanding run from an outstanding creative team. More Conway Spider-Man soon please!