What If? Spider-Man #1
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artist: Diego Olortegui
I remember reading a “What If?” comic about Aunt May dying instead of Uncle Ben. Things took a turn, but ultimately, Peter Parker still became Spider-Man. He spent some time in jail if I’m remembering right, but he still became Spider-Man. Now, we’re getting the answer to the question “What If Flash Thompson became Spider-Man?”.
The issue opens with a familiar scene for Spider-Man. He’s stopping the “masters of menace” from robbing people. Except, he’s beating them brutally, all while Peter Parker takes pictures. Citizens are scared of him, and the police are threatening arrest. Flash Thompson is Spider-Man, and he’s a bit of a jerk about it. Peter Parker still sells his pictures to the Daily Bugle, but Uncle Ben is alive. Things take a tragic turn, and Flash realizes he’s not the hero he should be, but he could be.
For the most part, I like this story. Flash Thompson is a bully, so when he gets powers, he’s still a bully. Especially with no Uncle Ben. The world is topsy-turvy enough to feel different but remains familiar. Despite being a bully still, Flash eventually realizes he can be better, and he wants to. There’s a good number of the “main” Spider-man characters featured. There’s some world building, but not enough that it takes away from the main plot.
I like that Nick Fury classic is currently being “The Unseen” a.k.a. The Watcher. He hasn’t shown up in too much that I can remember, besides the current Exiles series. The Watcher being the narrator is par for the course on “What If” comics, but it feels like he’s in every other page here. He’s not, but that’s what it felt like on my first read through. It’s not too big of a distraction, but it takes me out of the story whenever he pops up.
I really dig the art in this issue. I don’t think I’ve read too many books with Diego Olortegui’s art, but I definitely enjoy it here. There’s some a lot of good expression on faces. I especially like the design of Flash’s Spider-man costume. It reminds me a little of the Superior Spider-man costume. With the colors by Chris O’Halloran, the whole book has a retro kind of feel to it.
When all is said and done, I did enjoy this story. It’s not a question I ever had, but it’s a good answer. Besides maybe a little too much narration for my tastes, there’s a good story in this issue. Great art gives it a retro-ish kind of feel. It’s a good tale for Spidey fans and a great return to a classic Marvel title.
What If? Spider-Man #1
What If? Spider-Man #1 answers the question "What if Flash Thompson became Spider-Man?" with a great story, dark tone, and fantastic art.