Batman Vs Spiderman
Following on from the phenomenal Batman: The Last Arkham is Batman: The Black Spider. I remember reading this directly after the aforementioned book, however, I don’t remember anything about it.
It is only one issue but I love the tone that Alan Grant sets throughout these stories and they are captivating from start to finish, no matter the length.
I’m really looking forward to diving into it and seeing if it can keep up the standard that was set by the previous book…or if it will be the LAST…ARKH…BOOK AFTER..last..Arkham that I read?
Sorry, that was terrible. It didn’t work on any level.
Anyway let’s begin.
No ‘hero in’ this town…like Heroin..sort of
Yeah sorry for that terrible pun. The story opens with Batman climbing through a window to find a mother and child dead. Yaaaay depressing.
It doesn’t lift your spirits much after that either, Batman finds a note from The Black Spider and it’s from here that we follow the other Gotham Vigilante on his quest for revenge. With the Dark Knight in hot pursuit.
We are introduced to the character as he murders the drug dealers who have been doping up his wife. The woman that Batman found dead previously. From the off you know that it is going to be a harrowing tale. Normally I would see this as just a cliched ‘don’t do drugs’ story but it has a real depth and grit to it that several PSAs lack.
It’s interesting to see how Batman views the vigilante as a criminal yet doesn’t perceive himself as one. Even though they tread similar paths. Batman truly is an addict to me. We all are in ways, we seek out certain activities that make us feel better about ourselves. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Bruce fights crime in order to feel less helpless. He has a huge gaping hole in his life that he must fill in order to feel the rush and pleasure that he has stopped someone from suffering a similar fate to himself.
The Black Spider may be a metaphor for Spider-Man or it may just be a lack of creativity. Looks wise his costume is pretty much a purple version of the web head, he even has similar symbols. It’s hard not to really mark the book down for this as in design he is so similar even if nothing else about the book resembles a Marvel story featuring the web slinger.
I know he is quite an old character but in more modern comics he has had a redesign so I don’t know why this step couldn’t have been taken here.
Honestly it knocks the book down a peg for me as this story could’ve been about a newly created persona instead of pulling from a slightly outdated one.
During his rampage we get flashes of the punished and the caped crusader struggles to keep up with this one man army.
We are really filled in on his tragic circumstances and it’s a harrowing read that I’m sure most can relate with. We all know someone who has dealt with addiction and it’s a shame to see them a shell of their former selves. Who wouldn’t want revenge on the dealers who did it?
It’s amazing that Grant can have such depth in a single arc but the writer really carries it off.
Out with a bang
Black spider finds the warehouse where the drugs are created and before Batman can save him, destroys it with a suicide vest. The letter from the beginning truly was that, a confession and remorseful goodbye from a man who shared a kinship with the Dark Knight.
There really are no heroes in this run, and sometimes there doesn’t need to be.
Batman The Black Spider is a really touching book considering it’s short length. It’s difficult to mark it as highly as I would like to as it doesn’t feel like the completely developed multi arc that it had the potential to be. However, if you can pick this up in the Shadow Of The Bat Volume 1 collection that contains The Last Arkham, then I really recommend that you do. It’s a nice little issue that shows the final moments of a true hero.
Batman The Black Spider gets an…
Leave a comment whether you agree with my ranking or not.