|Image source: Dynamite Entertainment|
Those pulp fans among you will recognise that The Spider was a character from the 1930s - a gun-toting hero who wore a domino mask and a cloak.
As an addition to their line-up of pulp heroes, including The Green Hornet, Kato and The Shadow, Dynamite decided to update The Spider, bringing him barrelling into the 21st century with laser-enhanced guns and a slick costume inspired by The Spider TV serials. They also gave him a biting humour, but kept his love of mercilessly gunning down bad guys.
The series, written by novelist David Liss, turned out to be a triumph in storytelling and characterisation. Richard Wentworth, The Spider's alter-ego, acts as a consulting detective which allows him to continue unravelling mysteries as The Spider in a way Wentworth couldn't do.
As a character, Wentworth is infinitely more interesting than many other pulp heroes; his ex wife (who he still loves) is married to his best friend who also happens to be the detective he works most closely with. His father was a multi-millionaire with links to the weapons trade - Wentworth hated his father. This web of drama leads to some great stories amidst the usual rough and tumble while he's The Spider.
Writing-wise, Liss knows exactly how to pace a story well, fitting in character development, intrigue and a healthy dose of ass kicking. The dialogue is witty, which is a great contrast to the often dark tone the book takes. This atmosphere is aided greatly by Ivan Rodriguez, whose art style is a great match for the book. Plus, every issue has a variant cover by Francesco Francavilla, which is always something special. You'd do well to pick up his covers.
Right now The Spider is going through a string of one-shot adventures, but all of them feel like a complete story. If you've every read Warren Ellis' Secret Avengers, you will know what I mean.
What I'm trying to say is that, with such a talented team and such a great character, you should be rushing to the stands ever Wednesday for a copy of The Spider.