Spine Tingling Spider-Man #0 Review


Writer- Saladin Ahmed

Artist- Juan Ferreyra

Letterer- VC’s Joe Caramagna and Joe Sabino

Spider-Man can’t get a childlike scary nursery rhyme out of his head. The song is at the center of a mystery revolving around catatonic citizens. He better solve the mystery before he falls asleep….. or it may be too late.



This oversized one shot is a collection of some Marvel Infinity stories with a horror theme. The story where Spider-Man battles some unsettling dreams is straight forward, but mostly strongly effective. One of the reasons Spider-Man is my favourite hero is that he’s very versatile in terms of the stories you can tell. His stories can be funny, sad, thrilling, charming and in this case, scary. The writer Saladin Ahmed is no stranger to the world of Spider-Man of course. He wrote an extensive run on Miles Morales: Spider-Man and was one of the writers in the Beyond era.

This story is suitably creepy. Most of it revolves around a creepy song that takes over people’s mind and eventually leads to their death. Creepy songs always work no more so than the creepy rhyme from Wes Craven’s Night On Elm Street and I think it works here. There’s plenty of twists in the tale and super disturbing images that work well with that. At times, the story does seem like a series of opening doors with just more doors beyond. What I mean by that is that there will be an apparent answer to what’s going on but then ‘Oh wait, it’s not that, it’s this which can work fine. If anything, it works perfectly here with the theme of dreams and nightmares. Waking up from a dream and/or nightmare and still being in but thinking you’re awake is a thing so it works for this story.

There are a few odd story choices I felt.  Spencer Smythe, an old time foe of Spidey who first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 25 is teased as the villain here but has been dead for decades with his son Alistair Smythe taking over the building of various Spidey murder bots. So okay, it’s set in the past, that’s fine. The story seemingly kills off Spencer though and that left me puzzled. Is this out of continuity or not? Little things like this shouldn’t matter but it took me out of the book that up until then I was fully immersed in until then. At the end of the story it’s revealed that Spencer was just in a coma so therefore continuity is maintained but it was a weird thing to do a fake out of his death that shouldn’t have been here in the first place. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an editor hiccup here, but with Marvel these days it’s hard to tell.

The other oddity is that the villain here (Sleep-Stealer) presents himself with an alias of ‘Paul’. Perfectly normal name, but in the current pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Mary Jane’s current love interest is called Paul and he has becoming the epitome of all is wrong and evil in the universe to some fans. I’m sure this is coincidence, but it did make me laugh that the name of this nightmare villain is the name of the character causing such ire to some Spidey fans currently.

Overall a simple but effective creepy story with only a few minor things that took me out of the story.


Glenn hit the main bits of the story so I won’t rehash all that happened. In all, I really liked the story. The concept fits perfectly with the original mandate from Stan Lee- to place normal problems on our heroes, after all, they are humans at heart. In this case, Peter must stay awake and perform his duties while being extremely tired……I mean extremely tired. Now of course the normal person doesn’t potentially die if they fall asleep, but performing at their best while being exhausted is a real thing.

Anyhoo, overall, the story was really strong. A few moments I really loved where quintessential Peter Parker moments. (these have been absent in recent runs by Nick Spencer and Zeb Wells) While waiting on food, (Peter was famished……and tired) his delivery driver is hit and broke his leg. He can’t miss the rest of his deliveries or his family won’t have enough money. Peter takes it upon himself to finish his deliveries at his own expense. This is truly the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Another cool scene, while rallying against Paul the Dream Guy, Peter inspires others. He leads by example and word here. He emboldens others stuck in this seemingly insurmountable situation. They, in his words, become warriors. I love this. Peter always puts others first and inspires. That’s how it should be and is frequently missed by writers. Ahmed did an amazing job here crafting a creepy, yet faithful, Spider-Man story. I really look forward to the rest of the series.



I’ve seen a lot of Juan Ferreyra’s name over the last few years. Lately he seems to be rightfully developing a reputation as an excellent horror artist. His art here is lovely and adds a lot to the horror atmosphere. Recently he drew Knight Terrors: Wonder Woman where he drew some genuinely unsettling images and he does the same here. Spencer Smythe has never looked this terrifying and the imagines of Peter using his willpower to overcome Sleep-Stealer are genuinely stunning. There are some interesting page design on display which I believe was to benefit the way you read it on Marvel Unlimited originally, but there is nothing lost in the print version I feel.

Ferryra’s Spider-Man is very much more of the Ditko vein, darker and more ‘quirky’ looking rather than ‘pizazz’ Romita SR influence and it really works here with the story being told.

There are some pages where the art looks more crayon/child inspired which I feel very much adds to the overall creepy nature of the whole story, especially when paired with the creepy song that is driving the narrative. So much of what makes a visual horror story is how it looks, the atmosphere and the visuals. I don’t imagine many other artists that could have made this look creepier.

Overall: This was a very effective, straight forward horror story. The minor story quibbles are just because I tend to overthink these things but this is a perfect comic for those looking for a darker Spider-Man story where you don’t have much prior knowledge. I was largely immersed and I’m greatly looking forward to the mini which will tell a new story by the same creative team.


Holy Cow- Juan Ferryra put on a masterclass here. This book is beautiful in line work, colors and layout. As Glenn says, his creepy work is spot on. Spencer looks old and haunting. Paul, in his dream state, evokes Death wielding dreams rather than a scythe. The dream state is eerie. Just amazing world building here.

Additionally, page layout is really well done. Lots of variety and clever usage of space and panel. Slowly rotating panels to show movement. Long panels with mini-Spider-man figures falling, swing, rotating, are well done and painstaking. Vertical panels to show scale. Horizontal panels to show breadth of the dream world prison. His choices make this one fun to read and Ahmed’s writing makes it tense. Overall, a wonderful Spider-Man story. Can’t wait to see where the series goes.


Glenn: 4 Webshooters

Steve: 4.5 Webshooters

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King in Black #1

Courtesy Marvel Comics


Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Frank Martin, VCs Clayton Cowles


FInally, Knull has arrived. Cates began this journey back in issue 3, introducing Knull to the world. Since then, Venom and the gang have faced an onslaught of symbiotes, trips to other worlds and the burgeoning powers of Eddie’s son Dylan. Marvel’s heroes prepare for battle, but will it be enough to stop the King in Black?

Glenn: It was weird reading the back material in this issue and see how much build up this story has had. Not only has Cates been building this for roughly 30 odd issues of his Venom run, but there is also his various Web Of Venom one shots, Absolute Carnage and other books he’s written like Silver Surfer: Black. This event has a lot to live up to, and I think it delivered in spades. Things kick off right away and don’t let up for a second. The heroes of earth seem to think they’re ready and prepped, but they are soon taken completely off guard by the scale of the threat they are facing. This one issue packs more of a punch than some full length events and there’s a long way to go. The sheer scale of the events on offer here are crazy and things go from bad to worse very quickly. We’re already adding to the death toll and things are looking like the heroes have lost with no hope on how they might recover. I don’t want to get into too many specifics about the story here because a lot happened and it was all brilliant. This is one of the best kick off to an events I’ve read in a good long day and the feel and the scale and the threat is probably how the coming of Galactus would be treated if it was done today. The problem is I have a feeling Knull would eat Galactus for breakfast.

Steve: I must echo the sentiments of Mr. Matchett here. This event has most definitely started off with a bang. It is difficult to talk about this issue without spoiling certain events. One of the interesting choices that Cates made was the safeguard in place by the Avengers, their so-called ace in the hole. (think a certain World War Hulk battle here) However, we quickly find the level of threat that Earth is facing, and they clearly weren’t ready for the King in Black. 

Of more interest to me is how Cates is going to deal with Eddie Brock’s son Dylan. Over the course of his run, Cates has slowly developed Dylan’s character and relationship with Eddie. Further, as Dylan’s powers have increased, it’s obvious that he will play a major role in defeating Knull ( or so I think). So, this issue begins with Eddie hiding Dylan so he can’t be destroyed and/or used by Knull. (Feels a bit like the time Naruto was hidden so the Akatsuki couldn’t get their hands on him or it could spell doom for everyone- reference for my manga pals) Well, events unfold quickly with Knull and Eddie/Venom which should lead to a quick need for Dylan to rise to the challenge. 

My only concern with this event right now is a possible battle fatigue with the tie-ins. If all of the tie-ins handle the invasion as a huge battle scene, I will tire of the books quickly. Hopefully, there is a clear plan in place to develop characters and not simply throw them into an endless battle. I plan to read them all, so check back to find out. 


Glenn: Seeing Stegman’s art grow during his time at Marvel has been a real joy over the years. From Fantastic Four to Amazing to Renew Your Vows to Venom and Absolute Carnage, the guy has gotten better and better. Here he maybe delivers the best art of his career as every page, heck every panel is drop dead gorgeous. It’s clear that Stegman has been pouring everything he has into these pages which requires a lot of skill to pull off due to the scale on offer, but he delivers in spades. There are some stunning pages in here and Knull and his invading horde are hard to imagine as being more terrifying than how Stegman draws them. This team has been working together for a while and have worked together to not only deliver high quality, but seem to be that rare combination in comics that seems to bring out the best in each other. Stegman had already proven his worth as one of the top artists at Marvel, but here he now makes a play for being one of the best artists in the industry period.

Steve: I hate when I keep agreeing with Glenn, but he is spot on again. The relationship that Cates has with Stegman reminds me of Snyder/Capullo, Lee/Kirby, Bendis/Bagley, Morrison/Quitley, etc. There is a synergy between the two that turns each page to gold. I wonder how much direction Cates gives Stegman on the battle scenes. I would imagine that he lets Stegman go wild; artists seem to see things in a way a writer may not, and these pages are frenetic, tense and flow beautifully from panel to panel and page to page. His character work is especially strong, especially his designs on Knull. I can’t wait to see where this goes. 

Since I mentioned the tie-ins above, I will with the art as well. It will be interesting to see how other artists deal with the symbiotes. Stegman has set a high standard; it won’t be easy to follow those footsteps. 


Glenn: A+

Steve: A