- Written by: Mark Waid & James Robinson
- Painted Art by: Gabriele Dell’Otto
- Pencils by: Werther Dell’Edera
- Letterer: Vc’s Joe Caramagna
Within Marvel and DC comics, there are so many characters to love and each of those characters has decades of stories to read, so sometimes it can be hard to know what to read and where to start. I love collecting stories held within collected editions for story arcs, but more than that I enjoy collecting original graphic novels that often have connections to previous stories in their universe, whilst remaining their own story that you can easily pick up and read without much or any prior knowledge of the characters, plot, canon etc.
Everyone by now knows Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s origins, so you know he dresses up in tights and swings from building to building using webs like a spider, so you already have the basic information needed to dive into a story such as Family Business.
Wilson Fisk, known to the world as the fearsome Kingpin of crime, is putting together yet another sinister plan, but this time, with the reluctant help of Mentallo, his plan involves digging up the history of Richard and Mary Parker, former agents for the US government, and parents of Peter Parker…and his sibling?
Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is late, as always, to pay his bills for his apartment. When he is asked to wait until the store owner returns, Peter runs in to some trouble when he discovers a truck carrying some highly sort after laundry detergent which is apparently making thieves across New York a wealthy profit. Quickly donning his Spider-Man costume and stopping the thieves from making a profit on this particular batch of chemicals, Peter returns home with an unpaid bill, and just when he thinks things couldn’t possibly get any worse, his house is swarmed with soldiers pointing guns, seeking to capture Peter Parker, but not for anything Spider-Man related.
After some complications in his capture, Peter escapes with the help of a female stranger who claims to be Peter’s long lost sister. Peter has little choice but to play along, as the pair of them travel the world to uncover the truth about their parents past, as well as learn some other mysteries to the whole situation they have found themselves in.
The story in this book seemed a little bizarre to me, but then again, I’m still new to reading Spider-Man stories. It takes Peter out of New York which is a nice change of scenery, and there’s a lot of great twists, turns and drama to keep you reading, especially since we try to uncover the story behind Peter Parker suddenly having a long lost sister.
Regarding the villains, the big bad is of course Kingpin, which means there’s always more to the story than meets the eye, and of course, Fisk always has accomplices. In this story, he seeks the help of Mentallo and Cyclone to help him capture Peter Parker, but none of these villains expected their good pal Spider-Man to be there as well.
One issue I have with a lot of these stories however, that even this book falls into, is the usual “everything was better in the end and any secrets unveiled are suddenly forgotten about and kept safe once more”. Without spoiling too much, Spidey’s identity is uncovered by someone, and at the end of the story, something happens which results in them not remembering that event…so Spidey’s secret is safe again…big shocker. I’d understand more if this was part of a series where they needed Spider-Man to remain anonymous, but in a singular story, it would have been more gripping in my opinion if they just left with it a “uh-oh…now they know who he is” plot point. However, that is just my personal preference.
The story is very different to other Spider-Man stories I’ve read, and whilst I’ve seen reviews from other readers claiming that it is forgettable, for me personally, it’s memorable because it’s very unique. There are probably some forgettable moments but overall the plot is memorable because of its drama, but furthermore, the art that accompanies the writing.
The biggest highlight of this book is the incredible drawings by Werther Dell’Edera and painted art by Gabriele Dell’Otto that brings this book to life and keeps your attention on each panel and page. Whether it’s the vivid colours of Spidey’s costume or the tones and highlights of the scenery and characters in each panel, the art is something to stare in awe at.
Just look at these two pages, you can see the emphasis on lighting and positioning of characters & objects within the scenes. This book felt like I was staring at painted scenes from a film rather than just another comic book. The colours, the pencil work, the panels, it all comes together to create consistent masterpieces on each page, and that is why this book should be memorable.
I really enjoyed this book, though it may not be something I recommend to a new reader like myself to Spider-Man, it would be something I recommend if someone is looking for something a little different to read. There are certainly readers out there who love to read comics to look at the art specifically, in which case this is definitely way up there on the recommended reading list for that purpose.
This book does portray a great example of Peter’s personality though, so I guess in some ways it is a good place to go to get into the character, as he makes his usual quips and jokes whilst in serious situations, reminding the reader that they are reading a Spider-Man story.