Dark Web #1 is a crossover comic published by Marvel, written by Zeb Wells, art by Adam Kubert, colours by Frank Martin, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Jean Grey’s clone, Madelyne Pryor, enlists the help of Spider-Man’s clone, Ben Reilly, to unleash Limbo on Earth.
This is a story with a lot of history attached to it. The comic seems inspired by two famous and pivotal stories, Inferno and the Clone Saga, bringing them together fantastically. There are many characters to bring together, as this is the start of a crossover spanning multiple books within the Spider-Man and X-Men areas, among others. For those that have been following the books or were fans of those classic stories, it is a brilliant coming together. The pacing is slow but steady, showing the Goblin Queen’s machinations in Limbo and how it is beginning to affect the real world.
However, the sheer amount of backstories involved may be intensely confusing for many. The comic does include context for events, either by explaining the history or by providing captions of the issues in other series. All of the history is really helpful and demonstrates superb planning and storytelling by Wells and the other creators involved. The excitement once the comic kicks off does not necessarily require the readers to know what has come before, unleashing a wave of chaos for the heroes in the present.
This is an expansive cast included in the first issue, ranging across both Mutants and Spider-Man’s circle of friends and enemies. What is quite lovely is all of his supporting cast is brought together in one place for a few pages. Wells allows for a period of reminiscence, with some great comments given to many of the figures. It is a terrific reunion tinged with a faint sadness. There is also the inclusion of menacing characters and delightful villains. Ben Reilly’s role in this is dark, insidious, and tinged with sadness too, as it’s heartbreaking to see how he ends up. The X-Men aren’t as emotionally involved yet as the Spider-Man characters are, but considering Pryor is the ringleader, they will surely have a bigger inclusion soon. And that is not even mentioning half of those that will have a large part to play as Dark Web gets more entangled.
The art is phenomenal, helmed by a legend of the industry. Kubert is unsettling from the very beginning of Dark Web #1, with some creepy imagery and disturbing trickery. What is also instantly noticeable is how brilliant the artist’s renditions of eyes are. Whether up close and detailed or further away, there is so much emotion. All of the characters look incredible, with one panel showing many of Peter’s friends all in a small space.
But then there are the X-Men with personalised winter gear. There is a brilliant blend of Christmas and Halloween in this issue, with the wintery element rather comforting. Some characters have almost been adjusted into the horror side of the comic, with adaptations to their costumes or just embracing a different side to them. The creatures are brilliantly illustrated and comically monstrous. Pryor is tremendously depicted, varying in her exuberance and shape-shifting. She is like a wicked witch, the likes of which many Disney villains would be envious.
The colours are stunning. There’s a dark but gentle collection of shades for the real-world pieces, matching the wintery feel of these parts of this comic. Then there is a rich, vibrant red when Limbo is concerned. The lettering is great and similar to that of regular Spider-Man comics.
Dark Web #1 is a celebration of the past whilst exploring the present. It may not be entirely welcoming to new readers but it is rife with callbacks and reunions. But there is also a modern tale containing the stories of the characters ruling their own series right now. It combines two clones in a campaign of revenge. I adore the Christmas setting and the widespread nature of the crossover. And the superstar artistic lineup generates a truly beautiful comic.
Dark Web #1 is available where comics are sold.
Dark Web #1
Dark Web #1 is a celebration of the past whilst exploring the present. It may not be entirely welcoming to new readers but it is rife with callbacks and reunions.