ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Darkhold: Spider-Man,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Darkhold: Spider-Man #1

Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Alex Paknadel, with art by Dio Neves, colors by Jim Charalampidis, and letters by Clayton Cowles. Having read from the cursed Darkhold, several of Earth’s heroes have been shown twisted versions of their reality. Here now comes one gleaned from the cursed book by everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man.

This story catches up with our protagonist after a cataclysmic event has struck New York City. As one of the few individuals to survive the event unscathed, Parker is pushed to his limits as he strives to hold the city together. But the eternal toil is rapidly taking its toll on Peter by the time Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 catches up with him. At the end of his rope, Peter needs some solution to his unending dilemma.

It is a strange thing. When you consume a piece of media that somehow manages to feel like it’s trying to do too much while simultaneously not managing to form any of the ideas it attempts to present properly. It feels like the story is hurriedly meandering, if that makes sense. It is a concern I find myself grappling with in Darkhold: Spider-Man #1. Unfortunately, it’s especially a big problem for a one-shot story.

The book’s opening works well. It establishes what Peter has been going through and why he struggles to keep his sanity together effectively. No one can work eternally without rest, though. This turns out to be true even for superheroes. But Peter is Peter. And if there is one thing Peter has always been terrible at, it’s letting his city down, even if it’s at a significant cost to himself.

As Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 moves past this introduction, it begins to fall apart. As additional characters and elements are introduced, the narrative starts taking turns that don’t feel like they go anywhere significant. That is to say, they have an impact, but not in a way that feels like that moment was needed. Instead, any random event could’ve had the same marginal effect on the story. This is particularly frustrating since there are a couple of different ways the moments feel like they could’ve played out that would’ve made it more relevant for it to be there.

The narrative’s final stumble comes with the end. While I won’t spoil it, how it has the impact it does fails to make any sense. It just feels like it was put there for the effect of giving it the unhinged energy that all the Darkhold one-shots have all gone for.

The art throughout Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 does a good job of capturing the story’s setting, as well as its protagonist’s troubled state of mind. Combined with the apt color palette utilized in this book and the visual side of this story does a solid job of relaying the events of the narrative to the reader.

Wrapping up this book is the lettering. The letters do a good job of delivering the story cleanly and also uses some alternate texts that give some of the voices a little more personality.

So, in the end, Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 brings a story that doesn’t succeed at what it’s trying to accomplish. While the art delivers, the narrative fails to properly use its time to both establish the story’s setting and produce a well-formed tale.

Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 is available on December 22nd, wherever comics are sold.


Darkhold: Spider-Man #1
2.5

TL:DR

Darkhold: Spider-Man #1 brings a story that doesn’t succeed at what it’s trying to accomplish. While the art delivers, the narrative fails to use its time properly to both establish the story’s setting and produce a well-formed tale.

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