Spider-man Races Against Time: Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 (Review)
What do you get when you pair Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo on a Spider-man book? You get pulse-pounding, panel-busting action. Non-Stop Spider-man lives up to its name.
Spider-man wages a street war against drug-dealing and heavily armed hype-beast (people who wear expensive designer clothes. Often, have that “drip”) drug dealers as he races to save the life of a dear friend from an accidental overdose. Also, in the back-up Baron Zemo lets Alt-right looking Hydra folks know whose boss and the value of PRESENTATION.
That was definitely one of the more bizarre synopses I’ve wrote here on Extremely Uncanny DOT COM.
Roll the Credits!
Non-Stop Spider-man #1
Big Brain Play Chapter One
Written by Joe Kelly
Pencils by Chris Bachalo
Inks by Tim Townsend
Colors by Marcio Menyz
Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham
Back-up Story: Zemo of the board (okay this is untitled, but still)
Written by Joe Kelly
Line work by Dale Eaglesham
Colors by Morry Hollowell
Okay I won’t lie I picked up this book solely for the creative team. Joe Kelly or Chris Bachalo is enough for me to read any book let alone putting them together. Then you combine them with one of my favorite characters—whose main-series I am never reading—Spider-Man? I am there. Non-Stop Spider-man #1 lives up to my expectations and then some.
Kelly’s writing is frantic in this issue and it sets the pace and tone. It is a frantic story and a race against time. Outside of the brief flashbacks, the story hits the ground running on the opening page and it doesn’t stop. Kelly accomplishes a lot in the breakneck opening issue through brisk internal monolog and quippy dialog.
I know that describes a lot of Spider-Man comics in general, but this is different. The rushed internal monolog captures Peter Parkers voice to the T with it wavering between self-doubt, guilt, and planning. It provides great insight into the character during this issue and is the main driver. The dialog is mostly in quick quips between Spider-Man and the Hype-beast gang. These don’t provide too much for the plot but is classic Parker style that is enjoyable.
The art by Bachalo is splendid as always and pretty restrained from what he has been known to do in the past. Often Bachalo’s art is ultra-dense and could be difficult to follow at times, but here it is given a bit space in the composition. It makes this breakneck speed and action all the more clearer to follow.
Bachalo’s layouts are always a thing of beauty and he isn’t afraid to use the page in different ways to convey the kinetic action of the page. One thing to note is that all the action sequences are slanted on the page. It creates situations where many panels are small and abrupt. While his composition is space out some more the panels being these quick bursts give the reader a sense of speed and contribute to the hustle of the action.
In contrast, the flashback sequences are laid out in a conventional manner with a more grid-like system. These pages provide the comic and reader a space to breath. They still move through the dialog and such at roughly the same pace, but by being laid out in a more “traditional” style gives the reader the visual cue to pull back. These slower pages are not only essential to the plot but also the reader to avoid burning out on pure action.
The colors by Macrio Menyz are vibrant and coupled with Bachalo’s designs, the Hype-beasts are an eye-catching cast of characters. Fitting for a group that is concerned with their appearance. The Hype-beasts are all in red and white color codes that provide a nice visual contrast and pop off the page. The overall colors and inks (courtesy of Tim Towsend) grate a visual presentation that is clear to follow and pleasant to look at.
Sidenote: not sure if Bachalo or Lanham lettered the Spider-sense effects, but I found them to be creative and create a cool eye-catching moment to help alert not only Spider-man to the action but also the reader. Just a neat way it done. Plus, they keep the alert in subsequent panels but to be cropped by the borders. It makes it feel more organic to the character.
I need to mention the back-up story. It doesn’t have a title but I want to call it Zemo of the Board. It is one of the best Zemo moments of the last decade. Baron Zemo takes down these modern Hydra agents—who eschew the traditional green uniforms for suits much like the Alt-right—and does so teaching them the value of a superhuman’s greatest trait: PRESENTATION. Kelly and Eaglesham have fun with the story and it sets up Zemo as the big bad of the series.
Non-Stop Spider-man #1 is a blast to read with pulse pounding action and spot on character moments. It is easy for new readers to jump on and pick up the basics quickly. It is a stunning book to look at as well as it is to read. It is a hard-hitting action film and I love it for that.
Final Score- 9.0/10