Amazing Spider-Man: Dead Language Part 1

Amazing Spider-Man: Dead Language Part 1
Amazing Spider-Man Dead Language Part 1 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-302-94737-8
  • Volume No.: 5
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781302947378
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Despite the grand volume title, Dead Language begins with a fill-in, but don’t worry, it’s a good fill-in with Joe Kelly and Terry Dodson providing some awkward domestic comedy when Black Cat persuades Peter Parker that what they need is a spa weekend. Dodson supplies the glamour and Kelly adroitly picks up on series continuity while also continuing White Rabbit’s transformation from the worst Marvel villain ever to a lunatic personality with some credibility. It’s a slight two chapters, but enjoyable.

Zeb Wells introduced this new Spider-Man series with the mystery of why Peter Parker disappeared for six months and why he neglected all his friends. Also of relevance is that Mary Jane is now with someone else and has two children. Dead Language addresses all that. Or starts to, as this is Part 1 after all.

Introducing mysticism to Spider-Man has rarely been successful. It definitely puts him on edge as he’s well out of his comfort zone, but there’s always a ceiling on what happens because the strong supporting cast is integral to a decent Spider-Man story, and they’re generally not involved. Once every few years is enough. This, though, while considerably better, follows too soon after Dark Web.

The upside is John Romita Jr’s imagination delivering some eye-popping new creations. As symbolism is important primary villain the Emissary is covered with eyes, and there’s also a god of scab and bone who’s magnificent. Romita was on board for J. Michael Straczynski’s introduction of Morluun and spider gods years ago, and he gives these pages a similar sense of desperation with Spider-Man in way above his head. There is one slight problem, though, as children feature, and Romita Jr always draws them with irritatingly distracting misproportioned large heads.

A great final chapter introduces a different form of desperation while explaining events mentioned in passing over the previous few volumes. Because of that, and because we know Norman Osborn is a kindly soul (for the time being at least), the volume ending cliffhanger lacks punch. However, what with everything else that’s going on, you’re really going to want Part 2.