Spidey #7 continues to be fun and new-reader-friendly. It also keeps an arm’s length from continuity and gives readers a playful tale that has more than a little classic Marvel Team-Up vibe.
Writer Robbie Thompson continues to provide readers with a Spider-Man story that is free from tie-ins, crossovers, and general continuity clutter. The Spidey series strips all of that away, giving readers simple adventures featuring the wallcrawler while methodically introducing samples of the broader Marvel Universe. This approach is exactly what worked for Marvel Team-Up in the 1970s and 1980s, as each issue gave readers solid stories that could either be consumed individually or as part of a larger whole.
Last issue Thompson and artist André Lima Araújo brought in the Vulture and Iron Man. This issue, readers meet Black Panther and his frequent foe, Klaw. Thompson doesn’t bog readers down with power set descriptions or history lessons, he just tells the story and gives readers only enough to enhance the flow. By no means will any reader come away from Spidey #7 as a Black Panther expert, but some readers are sure to gain a new appreciation for the long-time Avenger. As for the ongoing aspects of the greater Spidey story, Thompson expands on Gwen Stacy’s influence upon Peter Parker and continues to build that relationship.
The art has given me some pause, as Araújo’s art is serviceable, his storytelling clear, but his composition leaves panels so wide open that Spidey #7, to me, frequently appears more like an independent comics slice of life tale as opposed to the adventures of a young super-powered hero. This works nicely for high school portions of the story, but leaves me wanting just a bit more detail in the super-powered scenes as Panther and Spider-Man battle Klaw. Jim Campbell’s colors are bright and saturated, as fits a Spider-Man story, but those colors are incongruous at points, as Araújo’s art almost seems to request more muted tones, or even grayscale. Part of my pause is simply the ongoing adapting and adjustment required based on the high bar Nick Bradshaw set for the series with the first three issues. That said, Araújo keeps the story clean and Spidey #7 flows nicely, but it just needs a bit more “oomph.” To see the comparison I’m trying to overcome, check out the Spidey treasury edition released this week and available at many comic shops.
Spidey #7 is another solidly enjoyable chapter in the high school adventures of Peter Parker as he balances his earlier crimefighting days as Spider-Man. These aren’t direct interpretations of the early stories from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, but are instead inspired by those stories. Araújo’s art has a sense of homage to Ditko, which helps the spirit of this series, as Thompson’s writing shares some of the introspection once commonplace in thought bubbles around Peter Parker’s head, both in and out of the Spider-Man costume. Spidey #7 is another solid adventure that makes a strong case for continuity-light Spider-Man tales as well as the benefits of exploration afforded a title like Marvel Team-Up. It’s not the most riveting Spider-Man comic you’re going to read this year, but it is one you can wholeheartedly give to a younger reader, knowing through this issue they’ll be set upon a journey of imagination and fun.