Matt Kindt and Marco Rudy invite you to get lost in a horrific thrill ride of a story.
After years of great indie work, Matt Kindt has been gaining a larger audience writing mainstream comics for Marvel, DC, and Valiant. Of all the mainstream work though, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man is the first time that some of his indie sensibilities have been able to really shine through the corporate characters.
Marvel Knights: Spider-Man is a story that unfolds in a style reminiscent of a dream, or in this case, a nightmare as Spider-Man is forced to face a house of terrors filled to the brim with 99 supervillains. Scenes shift sporadically, characters appear out of nowhere, nothing quite makes sense. It’s haunting to behold, especially when viewed through the eyes of Peter Parker, Marvel’s ultimate everyman.
Marco Rudy is the artist making Matt Kindt’s nightmares come alive on the pages. The style he uses in this story is an evolution of his and Yanick Paquette’s work on the Swamp Thing series. The figures are surreal, and the layout is even more unique. There is not a single traditional panel to be found in this comic. Instead, each page works as a sort of splash page with multiple scenes melting into each other.
The narration, which I’m normally not a big fan of, add to the chaos. Kindt does a beautiful job of expressing Peter’s disorientation, and so does the lettering itself. Words and thoughts frequently become a part of the scene, melding into backgrounds, acting as living characters that are as much a threat to Peter as the villains.
There is a question to be raised, however, if this book is simply all style, with no substance. The style is impressive, the substance isn’t there. At least not in this first issue. The stakes are silly and contrived (a bomb is planted somewhere in the world, so go through our house of horrors or else we’ll trigger it). The motivation for the villains is entirely unclear so far, though it can be guessed it’s all revenge based.
Ultimately though, the success or failure of the story will come down to who the man behind the curtain is, and why. Until that point, this series looks like it will at least be a thrill to get lost in for the next four months.
Matt Kindt (W), Marco Rudy (A) • Marvel Comics, $3.99. Released October 2, 2013.