Spider-man Marvel Knights
Wr. Mark Millar
Wr. Terry Dodson
Ill. Frank Cho

This up to date re-re-launch is penned by superstar Mark Millar with the aide of artists Mark Millar and Frank Cho. One would think that this would be the penultimate formula for success. So let me use a line that I will coin famous and will be recurring in some reviews. "But alas it is not so"

If anything this story deserves only the lowest of merits. It has a very cinematic feel to it and I am saddened that Stan Lee, in his introduction to the tome, deems this twelve part tale one of the best sagas in Spider-man's history. Unlike Batman and Superman, DC's two perennial heavy weights, Spiderman has plenty of great stories within the title's much storied history. But this re-re-launch is only fairly acceptable for this day and age, let alone measured up against fantastic tales of Spidey's past.

Spider-man Marvel Knights Hardcover by Mark Millar, Terry Dodson & Frank Cho.Quite frankly I am sickened by the simplicity of the theme surrounding the entire volume and what has been a recurring one in many titles: secret identity. Now, more than ever, the most treasured and mysterious aspect of superheroes, has been lowered to a miniscule and obvious plot exploitation. It was, however, inevitable. Years of build up and in an age where heroes have to be more human, the what if questions needed to be answered. It is a perfect thing to touch upon in a re-re-launch and with Spider-man, highly controversial. It happened to Daredevil, Iron Man, even to Wolverine, and now to Spider-man. Throw in a quirky mediocre story involving Spidey's Rogue Gallery and you have yourself twelve issues of a comic.

I guess it was cool seeing the updated versions of villains' costumes (a new Venom included). I hated though how every writer has to start of with the Green Goblin. Where the hell is Paste Pot Pete? Why doesn't someone update him? Every event seemed to come together for the sake of story but Millar did make a good attempt at keeping everything sane. Unfortunately his dialogue suffered considerably. This is probably his weakest dialogue in a long while. It is full of corny lines and actually made me hate Spider-man's internal dialogue. Not a great writing job in general.

On to the artistry we go. And it is very disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it still looks great, if you like your women hot and with enormous breasts. However it is very inconsistent in many panels, which could be just a botched coloring job, but it shows in how messy the facial renditions become in smaller scale. I pretty much expected this from Terry Dodson, very pretty superficial art, low on detail and high on beautifying the close up expressions with lots of sexual poses. I tell you though that I expected a ton more from Frank Cho. His art looks terrible in this. It just does not fit for some reason. The man has done admirable and award winning work on Liberty Meadows and Shanna the She Devil, but this does not look good at all. Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy look like twins and I think a lot of the environment's detail was left out for whatever reasons. In his defense he was forced to draw a lot of talky scenes. But the art is still very nice on the eyes...not too bad but certainly far off from perfect.

This entire edition is housed in a sturdy leather hardcover and is oversized. I don't much care for the super sizing of it...there's not much of a difference. There are some extras but they are really not worth it. The price is $30 but there is a lot to read. I wouldn't really recommend this at first, but it is a decent look over, not one of Spidey's best, for that check out everything JMS has been writing in Amazing Spider-man, and Brian Bendis' work on Ultimate Spider-man.

- Pawel Goj

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