by Ryan Mogge
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Long before Betty was in a coma, Archie one page gags filled my favorite digests. The form is simple: a few panels establishing the premise, a few panels executing the idea and then a twist usually capped with a pun. While Spider-Man: Master Plan 1 is certainly more fluid than a series of one pagers, it has the same rhythm throughout.
Robbie Thompson and Nate Stockman create a world in which Spider-Man’s work as a hero is undercut again and again by the unexpectedly ungrateful in his city. His spider sense first gets tingling over a stolen car whose owner snaps at Spider-man rather than offer a thank you. This happens several times in the story, leading to the ultimate indignity of having a little boy make a grossed out face at poor Spidey.
Beyond this narrative turn (and well-trod Spider-Man territory), we have smaller bits that function similarly. These are not jokes per se, but depend on irony and surprise for humor. For example, after he has foiled every plot on the way to Stark tower on faith that he can do it all, Spider-Man get a moment of relief that he will be able to stop the crime at the center of things. Of course, things cannot go as expected.
Thompson builds to the moment effectively, by setting and subverting expectations before hitting the reader with the irony of alerting a criminal mid-crime of a hero’s presence with the alarm installed to stop the robbery in the first place. All of that narrative play is fun, but what sells the moment is Stockman’s art. Spidey’s frozen pose, eyes somehow more bug-like than usual. The pink and purple color of the alarm also create a perfect dissonance to the color palette of the scene.
While there may be ramifications of the media connecting Spider-Man with Crime Master, this issue works as a stand alone story about a busy night. The issue is a good light read, mitigating any real danger so that the reader can simply enjoy the goofs.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?