21st Jan2019

‘Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: Movie Special’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Various | Art by Various | Format: Hardback, 96pp | Published by Titan Comics

Spider-Man-Into-The-Spider-Verse-HC-Cover

If you are anything like me, when you play a particularly good game, or read a particularly great book or comic, or watch a great movie, you want to extend the experience. You look for other tie-ins, like soundtracks, adaptations, anything you can get your hands on really. The up side of this of course is you get that extra experience, you get that Star Trek comic, or that Star Wars novel. The down side is, not all tie-ins are great quality. This is nothing new of course, but when some companies hear the words ‘captive audience’ all manner of rubbish comes your way. I should know, I buy a lot of it (or used to). So, do we need a Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: Movie Special? Is it any good? Let’s take a look.

Before getting into the actual content, let me just say that visually it is gorgeous to look at. A very generous amount of character and costume design, production art, and animation stills are included, and are clearly labours of love. The people who worked on this movie deserve all the kudos they have been receiving as it just looks stunning. Looked stunning on the big screen, and looks just as stunning in its raw state here. I’d read this with no text, it’s that good, and I really did find myself lingering over some of the full page art admiring it. Even the cover’s great.

The Special itself is a solid 98 pages long, and divided into three sections. The first section is the traditional scene setter, ‘Welcome to the Spider-Verse’. This does a great job introducing the characters, who most people won’t know if they don’t follow comics too much, and the ideas and inspiration from the directors themselves. You get a nice Q and A section where they discuss everything from the source material (Brian Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man)to the difficulties of making animated films and casting them. Aside from the main interviews, there are lots of sidebars with extra facts, which also add to the insights gained. The care that was put into making Miles relevant to a younger audience, and Peter still relevant to the older one, really comes through. It worked really well on screen, so they certainly succeeded there.

SpiderVerse_Preview-Page-Bring-On-The-Good-Guys

Section Two, ‘Bring on the Good Guys’, shines the spotlight on the film’s characters. Miles Morales and Peter Parker (who if you don’t know, please leave immediately) are our main characters, but Spider-Man Noir(my personal favourite), Spider-Ham (yes, I really do have some of his comics), Spider-Gwen, and SP//dr get their spotlight too. Miles is very much like Peter used to be when he started out as Spider-Man, enthusiastic, prone to mistakes, a little naive. Peter is older, more jaded, less upbeat. So Miles is everyone up to their early 20′s, Peter is the rest of us. Spider-Gwen I like because not only is she a visually cool character, again it’s one that the girls can root for, and identify with. I like that. I love the nods to all genres, to anime, noir, talking animals, traditional animation and superheroes, with these characters.

Section Three, as you would expect, is ‘Bring on the Bad Guys’. Anyone of a certain age will love the last two chapter titles nods to Stan Lee books of years past as well, nice touch. Every good story needs a good villain. Or is it a bad one? Anyway, Into the Spider-Verse took long time Spider villains and gave them a tweak. Second banana character The Prowler gets elevated to the big time, The Green Goblin is way different to the one you know, and The Kingpin is, well, still huge and still very scary. Dr Octopus is now a she, and villain Tombstone is possibly the closest to his comic book roots. New approaches, new designs, but still the same lovable rogues they always were. Or unloveable. You know what I mean.

The Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: Movie Special closes out with some background on the animation itself, the process of making the film. Interesting, though less so that what has come before. For me, this is one of the best Movie Specials I have seen. Packed full of art and facts, all genuinely entertaining and interesting, and most definitely something that will please all fans of the film.

I mean, who isn’t?

***** 5/5

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse: Movie Special is available now from Titan Comics.

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