Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spider-Man: Blue (2004)

Author: Jeph Loeb | Illustrator: Tim Sale | Page Count: 144

…maybe by chance, or maybe God has a sense of humour
and we’re all part of the joke.”

Blue is the story of how Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy fell in love, and how his life seems to him a pendulum that swings from good to bad repeatedly.  He tries to rationalise it by seeing the bad as being a necessary precursor to the good.

It's split into two distinct time periods that work in tandem.
The first is a confessional memoir narrated by Peter in what I’m going to call the present.  It mostly takes the form of text boxes (captions) that sit inside the frame, and act like a v/o in a film.  They’re spoken by a Peter that’s endured hardship; a Peter that’s developed a deeper understanding of his purpose, and the dangers inherent in it.
The second time period is a visual retelling of past events.  The art and speech bubbles that make up the majority of the frame depict what happened or was said in the past.  They show a Peter early in his career as Spider-Man; he’s less mature, less aware of how tragedy shapes and scars an individual. The past and the present exist in the same frame and together they tell the full story.

Even though the pictures fill the majority of the page, it’s the captions that carry most of the weight, and the reason this story works so well.  If they were absent, it wouldn't need to be retold.  Jeph Loeb tinkers with the original very slightly but there's no major retcon happening.  By the end you'll be glad he did what he did, particularly if you can relate emotionally.

Tim Sale’s art is a perfect match for Loeb’s words.  His colour-blindness doesn't seem to be a handicap at all.  His lines are bold and his blacks are striking.  He seems to have a filmmaker’s eye.  If his frames were taken verbatim to a screen they would make some very dynamic eye-candy; I’d wager even better than any of the existing Spider-man films.

The book collects together Spider-Man: Blue issues 1 – 6.  The events that Blue reference can be found in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 issue 43 - 48 and 63.

4 thwips out of 5

3 comments:

cuckoo77 said...

Didn't know about this one.

Gwen is a favorite of mine.

I'll be swinging by the comic book store on my way home today. :D

Thanks for the heads up, Pip Pip.

Dr Faustus said...

"...swinging by the comic book store..." I chuckled. Bravo, sir.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale work great together. They also did some superb work in the DC camp with Batman.

cuckoo77 said...

XD Didn't even realize I made a funny.

I'm pretty familiar with Loeb's work in comics and TV.

He did good with Smallville, LOST and Heroes when it used to be good.