Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Symbiote Spider-Man #1 is the new mini-series from iconic writer Peter David, whose first break in comic books came all the way back in Spectacular Spider-Man #103 and here makes a return appearance with Marvel’s flagship character in a mini-series set firmly in the time period of David’s first go around with the Web-Slinger. Symbiote Spider-Man is a throwback mini-series, taking a look at an unknown story set back in the classic Spider-man era when he was using the Alien Costume. Spider-Man gained the Black Alien Costume in the original 1984/1985 groundbreaking Secret Wars Maxi-Series (Secret Wars #8 to be exact). Upon Spider-Man’s return from Battleworld the Spider-man books of the time played around with the Alien Costume to the point it was realized that it is a sentient creature and a symbiote as it bonds with whatever creature wears it. During the course of what would become known as the Alien Costume Saga Peter Parker came to realize that the symbiote costume was feeding off Peter Parker and needed to be removed from him. Yet prior to realizing the suit was dangerous Spider-Man used the suit for months without concern and that is the time period Symbiote Spider-Man is set in.
Symbiote Spider-Man #1 is a fun nostalgic story that seems to want to be nothing more than an entertaining tale. As a fan of this Alien Costume Era of Spider-Man this mini-series is a nice nostalgic trip down memory lane. David does an incredible job of dropping the reader back in the Bronze Age of Spider-Man when Peter was a struggling photo journalist and involved with the Black Cat, who was more interested in dating Spider-Man than Peter. New York City is still ruled by the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk and Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery is an eclectic group of costumed villains many of whom are either in service to Fisk or trying to usurp his reign as the Kingpin. Symbiote Spider-Man casts Mysterio as the main antagonist. With his theatrical gimmicks and super visual effects Mysterio is out to make a score that will set him up for life, which is going well until it goes horribly wrong and draws the attention of Spider-Man.
I really enjoyed this nostalgic trip through Spider-Man’s past. I haven’t been reading the web crawler as of late but this issue hit all the historic beats I needed it to. This was one of my favorite era’s of Spider-Man and appreciate the care that David put into his script to take readers back to 1985, although with Marvel history the way it is, as well as the artistic style choices, this book is most likely set in 2000/2001. Joining David on art is Greg Land does an admirable job of capturing the era the book is set in (not the ‘80s when the original saga took place). Anyone wary of Land’s photo style artwork need not worry, thankfully Land has stopped with the cover model scanned artwork he became famous for a decade ago and has returned to the style that first made him a star all those years ago at CrossgenComics. I wasn’t a fan of what Land became during his time as a star artist at Marvel but have enjoyed his more recent output over the past few years and I find his work on Symbiote Spider-Man #1to be a great choice for a period piece firmly entrenched in the time period Land first gained notice as an artist.
Verdict: Buy! Symbiote Spider-Man #1 is a fun comic book full of nostalgia as it drops the reader right into the Alien Suit Saga of mid ‘80s Spider-Man. Peter David and Greg Land have created a comic firmly set in this historic era which is a pleasant ride down memory lane.