REVIEW: Spectacular Spider-Man #312 – “Revisit a Classic Theme”

Spectacular Spider-Man #312

SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #312 / Writer: Sean Ryan / Penciler & Inker: Juan Frigeri / Colorist: Jason Keith / Letterer: Travis Lanham / Publisher: Marvel / Publication Date: November 14, 2018

Spectacular Spider-Man #312

I’m not reading Spidergeddon so Spectacular Spider-Man #312, a Spidergeddon tie-in, didn’t thrill me on first glance. However, this issue lives in “don’t judge a book by its cover” territory, and it unexpectedly revisits a classic theme.

Morlun is a villain who feeds on the energy of people with spider powers. He’s after Peter who has defeated him three times before. Spectacular Spider-Man #312 picks up right on the heels of the previous issue as Peter’s surefire way to defeat Morlun is destroyed. All appears lost when Miles Morales arrives and provides a distraction for a wounded Peter to escape. The balance of the issue is spent with Peter and Miles running from Morlun until, in the closing pages, Peter prepares a last ditch effort to dispatch Morlun.

A Brutal Issue

Readers that like seeing a beat up, struggling Peter need look no further than this issue. Juan Frigeri draws a Spider-Man who hardly ever stands fully upright. He hobbles. He leans. He’s in pain, and Frigeri depicts it admirably. Further, Frigeri draws this injured Peter in a zoo with a tree-filled background. Frigeri’s attention to detail with this environment is impressive; the fauna is as believable as Peter.

Spectacular Spider-Man #312 is a brutal issue, and Jason Keith’s colors add to its oppressive feel. Thanks to the issue’s setting in the zoo, Keith can use the tree cover to frequently put Peter in shadow. In other panels, when the Juan Frigeri has chosen to draw Morlun and Peter in proximity without any background, Keith throws the edges of the panels into darkness. Then finally, after an issue filled with shadows, he provides a particularly vivid explosion.

Spectacular Spider-Man #312

His Luck Runs Out

This issue moves surprisingly fast given the amount of dialogue and narration that takes place in it. Letterer Travis Lanham ably handles a number of word balloons and boxes, conveying everything the script calls for without detracting from Frigeri’s art.

Without a discussion of the issue’s writing Spectacular Spider-Man #312 is already a solid issue. Pencils, coloring, lettering—all admirable efforts. But it is the writing that elevates the issue to something special. Halfway through, as Peter escapes and has a reprieve from Morlun, writer Sean Ryan delivers a classic Peter Parker monologue. Peter considers all his major fights—the “luck” that’s gotten him through. Once again Peter comes to the edge of giving up, wondering if this day is the day his luck runs out. Then Peter does what he always does. He gets up. He thinks. He gets that second wind he always seems to get. And he fights.

Spectacular Spider-Man #312

This issue was a page turner. It had action. It had introspection. It had rich, energetic art. And thanks to three pages delivered by Sean Ryan it had elevation. This issue is a must buy for Spider-Man fans.

Rating: 5 out of 5  helpful J Jonah Jamesons

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Theron Couch is a collection of 1000 monkeys on 1000 typewriters trying to produce Hamlet. From time to time he accidentally types comic book reviews. Theron’s first novel, The Loyalty of Pawns, is available on Amazon and he's published assorted short stories. Theron maintains a blog with additional comic and book reviews as well as posts on his personal struggle with mental health.

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