One of the worst things for a group of heroes on a very important mission (and band road trip) is when the enemy they thought was gone is actually quite a bit a head (sorry not sorry) of them. Norman Osborn’s legacy was the one thing the Spider-Band wanted to fully end, turns out Osborn wasn’t as gone as they assumed.
While there is a lot that is just pure comic book fun about this series, like most great comics it has a lot to say. In these four issues Cody Ziglar has touched on a lot of relevant issues within our world from the rising of Nazism again, to the fascism of Osborn and how tight a grip men like him have upon the world whether alive or ‘dead,’ and even on crime and capitalism last issue with the Kingpin. Despite what part of the internet might say comic books and politics/real-world issues/social issues have been hand in hand since the very beginning.
Ziglar has such a fantastic ability to weave the two sides together, making for a seamless immersive read that resonates while also making one laugh or cheer. Despite our heroes getting taken down here, caught off guard by that which they didn’t expect to find, we’ve seen how resilient and tenacious and powerful they are. Sure, we always know that heroes will win at the end of the day (at least the majority of the time) but seeing these facets of them makes it an even bigger moment when they do come out on top.
Through the past three issues Justin Mason and Jim Charalampidis have been doing amazing things artistically, and that doesn’t change here. For all those elements listed above that Ziglar is writing into the script for these issues, to become something even more powerful calls for fantastic kinetic energetic art and that’s what we get. Martin captures not just the action in such a smooth flowing way but all of the more personal moments, specifically through fantastic choices in the paneling. A constant mix of shifting panel sizes and shapes but also styles from close-ups to super close-ups to wide shots that all just make us feel like we’re there in the moment.
Norman Osborn has loomed over this series since the start, both figuratively and then literally in this issue thanks to a statue and the real Osborn, and Charalampidis really drives that home with a specific coloring choice. Green and Osborn always go together because of the whole Green Goblin thing, and some might just put subtle hints of green here or there. This book is not and should not be subtle, and Charalampidis is not as numerous panels and pages are bathed in the brightest powerful neon-like green that can be found both as lighting sources or just a tinge to a panel or even in the attacks on some of the characters.
It makes us feel Osborn’s presence no matter if he’s on the page or not, almost like a visual representation of how there is ominous music in games or movies before the big villain or boss pops out. There are even pages after the Osborn reveal where the blue fades and colors are more mixed as the heroes fight back, but as they start to lose and get taken down the green ramps right back up, perfectly.
Comics like these are popping with energy from every angle, down to the letters on the page. Travis Lanham brings it all time and time again, matching the colorful and powerful energy the rest of the book is giving off. From making sure that we know what any given moment’s tone/volume should be (through big giant letters or smaller normal-sized or even smaller fonts), to the beauty of having the heroes’ bubbles be white and the villains being a slightly less white almost yellowish color. I’ll never tire of gushing about the great use of the red font for certain words that are given emphasis, it makes them pop even more than just bolding them would.
While they don’t give off any actual sounds, fantastic comic books such as these are ones that you can not only see but you can ‘hear’ them fully and also feel them (beyond the physical copy of the comic) in so many ways. I love this series so much and really truly hope to see more or just to see more work from this team in the future.
Spider-Punk #4 is now available from Marvel Comics.
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