Before be died, Logan left a note among his things, asking for Spider-Man to help protect the students and staff of Jean Grey’s Academy from a mole. Logan didn’t know who the mole was, so Spider-Man – under one of Logan’s final requests – has become a teacher – a guidance teacher – at the academy to secretly find out the who, what, where, why, when and how before anyone can die, disappear into an alternate reality or lose their minds, etc. How did issue one of Spider-Man & The X-Men pan out? And considering my recent experiences with Spider-Woman… was I happy with the comic? Read on to find out.
Whenever I pick up a first issue from either Marvel or DC, I’m always worried about how much “knowledge” I need to have of a part of the comic’s universe before I read. The good news here is that while the series is respecting continuity, there are only a few matters you need to be informed of before reading, and the comic sets you up reasonably nicely with some of that information at the beginning and then easily works in the rest as you delve in. So long as you know that Spider-Man and Wolverine use to be friends, that the younger mutants can tend towards a bit of a victim complex and that Spidey has a sense of humour – the not too uninitiated will be fine.
I was impressed by how accessible Elliott Kalan made the issue to those of us who aren’t obsessive about all the comings and goings of the Marvelverse. This makes this comic a complete contrast to the Spider-Woman issue one I had the misfortune of reading a few weeks back, which hardly had enough of its own story to merit being its own comic and was pretty hostile to new readers who weren’t up-to-scratch with the wider Spider-Verse story arc that was playing out there.
This being a Spider-Man comic, there were healthy doses of humour and Spidey speaking out loud, making all the necessary observations about the school, its pupils and its teachers. I’d have been surprised if the comic hadn’t been funny in all the right places, considering that Kalan is the head writer for The Daily Show. He also manages to balance the story well with action, bringing some smooth pacing to the issue, while also making sure that none of the characters are too predictable and stereotyped (we are dealing with a lot of potential for teen angst).
And beautifully complimenting all this pacing, wit and laughter is the solid art of Marco Failla. Failla manages to keep panels interesting, but not too busy, so it’s easy to understand what’s happening when the action amps up and things begin to lean into a battleground. He really helps to tell the story that’s being played out.
I was kind of worried about reading this first issue, because of what happened with Spider-Woman, but really found myself to be pleasantly surprised by what Kalan and Failla have achieved here. This is a great first issue for casual Marvel readers to jump in on and it has some genuinely good laughs and balances it well with driving forward Spidey’s investigation. I highly recommend giving it a read.
Spider-Man & The X-Men issue one is out now. Our reviewer bought their own copy.