Five issues into his work on Spidey, writer Robbie Thompson brings in the Green Goblin. That choice brings along some extra characters, like Norman Osborn and his son, Harry. Sure, Harry’s been present in this series before now, but this issue puts him front and center as Peter Parker’s confidant and pal.
Spidey #5 replaces the standard-issue, Nick Bradshaw drawn introductory page that has graced the opening of the first four issues of this series with a drawn-out recap, but Thompson and artist André Lima Araújo couch that recap in the developments of Peter Parker’s life, both as Spider-Man and Parker. The three pages move along nicely and give readers a fresh shakeup on the story so far.
After reading Spidey #4, then seeing the cover for this issue, my first thought was, “Too bad Nick Bradshaw isn’t drawing this one.” André Lima Araújo does a great job with the story and also handily dashed my disappointment. Comparing the two artists isn’t fair to either, as each has their strengths and weaknesses. Araújo tends to leave more air (sometimes in the form of negative space) at the tops of his panels, but he does keep every panel framed, invoking the appearance of classic comic book stories in the process. His figures in Spidey #5 are in accordance with what readers might expect from Araújo, but for readers unfamiliar with the artist, the most apt comparison I can provide is that the art transmits influences from Steve Ditko and Steve Dillon. An odd combination, to be certain, but Araújo falls tightly between the two. Araújo ditches the wavy-wannabe-perm from the Osborns’ noggins, and delivers the most Willem Dafoe-looking Norman Osborn ever to grace the comic book pages.
Jim Campbell and Java Tartaglia provide the colors, keeping Spider-Man front and center and as bold as can be in his traditional red and blue costume. Throughout the story Spidey visually pops out of every panel he is in, which cannot be said for this sparring partner, Green Goblin. The colorists give Goblin plenty of spots to project outward, but they never let Spidey slip from prominence. Letterer Travis Lanham makes strong use of the space afforded by Araújo, and even gives the Goblin what should become trademark green word balloons throughout the tale.
Thompson keeps the story tight and rolling, reminding readers of the balance Spidey and Peter have to maintain. The writer keeps the story upbeat and new reader friendly, layering the story between Spidey and the Goblin, to give readers plenty to think about. This is a nice one-and-done tale that adds to the catalog Thompson and his artistic collaborators are building. Spidey #5 is a fine contribution to the ongoing reimagining of everyone’s favorite wallcrawler, giving readers a chance to follow Spidey’s adventures and meet his foes.