Peter Parker’s life has been turned inside out, his powers stolen, his loved ones murdered. Mysterio was only the first layer of the mystery. But who is hiding at its rotten core? Your Major Spoilers review of Spine-Tingling Spider-Man #4 from Marvel Comics awaits!

Peter Parker's life has been turned inside out, his powers stolen, his loved ones murdered. Mysterio was only the first layer of the mystery. But who is hiding at its rotten core? Your Major Spoilers review of Spine-Tingling Spider-Man #4 from Marvel Comics awaits!
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SPINE-TINGLING SPIDER-MAN #4

Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Colorist: Juan Ferreyra
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 31, 2024

Previously in Spine-Tingling Spider-Man: Spider-Man has been through hell. His loved ones were threatened. His life was compromised. Who pulled the strings? Mysterio?

Or someone far worse?

THE VILLAIN BEHIND THE VILLAIN BEHIND THE VILLAIN

Last issue’s cliffhanger ending gave us Peter Parker face-to-face with the most dangerous of his small army of clones, the unstable powerhouse known as Spidercide, who explained what we all should have known: His appearance in the very first panel of the first issue of this series was a harbinger. The man behind it all is his creator, The Jackal, who created Spidercide in the first place. Spidercide even frees his “brother” from the villain’s influence, in the hopes of keeping Spider-Man all to himself, but falls prey to a clone failsafe. Spider-Man makes his way to the villain who was once his teacher, overcoming his fears just long enough for the former Professor Warren to turn it all up to eleven. Spidey is paralyzed with fear, as Mysterio arrives… to save him?

AN UNEXPECTED ENDING

While this doesn’t quite live up to the hype of “the scariest Marvel Comic ever,” as solicited, but the end of this issue is genuinely disturbing for me as a reader. Taking the aesthetics and tone of a film like Saw and putting it in a Spider-Man context makes for a powerful conclusion, but the moment where an enraged Spider-Man finally takes out his anger on The Jackal is blood-chilling. Add in a beautiful visual cue that feels like a classic post-credits jump-scare, and this issue makes for a perfect wrap for Spine-Tingling Spider-Man. Juan Ferreyra’s art is unusual, soft-edged, and dreamlike, with strange dream-like details and angles that pull the whole thing together. It’s not the kind of art I usually prefer, reminding me of Mark Texiera’s darker ’90s work, but it pulls the whole package together. A more mainstream artist would not have been able to pull this one off.

BOTTOM LINE: A HORROR MOVIE IN COMIC BOOK FORM

The synthesis of psychological horror and superhero tale is difficult, but Spine-Tingling Spider-Man #4 proves that it can be done successfully, serving as the last chapter of a truly scary story, perfectly suited to this artist, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. Spider-Man hasn’t been this deeply frightening since DeMatteis and Zeck gave us Kraven’s Last Hunt back in ’87, and that is some high praise.


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SPINE-TINGLING SPIDER-MAN #4

83%
83%
Stuck A Difficult Landing

The horror movie aspects of this story are welded to the superhero story seemingly effortlessly, and the atypical art only amplifies the psychological terror of it all. It's unexpectedly well-done.

  • Writing
    8
  • Art
    9
  • Coloring
    8
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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