Review: Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 by Elliott Kalan & Marco Failla

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1

Written by: Elliott Kalan
Art by: Marco Failla
Cover by: Nick Bradshaw and Ian Herring
Colored by: Ian Herring
Lettered by: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): The issue arrives with Storm bringing Spider-Man to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Logan’s dying wish was that Spider-Man come to the school to help teach Logan’s “special” class about Super Power Ethics. The other X-Men seem hesitant to have Spider-Man there,  and their suspicions are right, he’s there with a secret agenda!  Logan knew that one of the students was a traitor, but not which one or who they were working for. It’s never clear why Logan didn’t tell anyone else this beyong vague “reasons.” I actually suspect there is no traitor, but Logan used this to get Spidey to take the job.

When Storm and Spider-Man arrive, they find Unus the Untouchable battling the X-Men on the grounds of the school. Spider-Man wraps his forcefield up in webbing, and that is enough to get Unus to give up. The X-Men reluctantly welcome Spider-Man to the staff.

Spidey tries to get to know the students, but it is not going all that well. He takes them to a training session in the Danger Room to try and build a relationship with them, but Rockslide shoves him into the grasp of a robot intended to fight Colossus. Spidey fights his way free, and starts to think Rockslide is the traitor.

He then decides to take the students on a field trip to a history musuem, where they end up in battle with Stegron and Sauron, who are there looking to steal some kind of “sample.” Stegron’s powers seem to have become enhanced so that he can drain life force away from others. Sauron manages to knock out Spider-Man. When he wakes up, he finds the team has been taken to the “New Savage Land” in Staten Island. Also, Sharkgirl has decided to jon Sauron and Stegron in their big to take over the world for “non-mammals.”

Review: I typically don’t obsess too much over continuity issues, but there were quite things about this issue which bugged me. I thought Toad had quit working for the Jean Grey Academy when Husk went evil. Also, it seemed strange that they made it seem like Spider-Man had no teaching experience. During J. Michael Straczynski’s run, Peter Parker worked as a high school teacher, which I thought was a really cool idea. He also filled it as a teacher for both the Avengers Academy and Future Foundation too…which made it odd when he said he had no experience leading young heroes. Hell, Spider-Man has teamed up with virtually every character in the Marvel universe at some point.

None of these were really major issues, but they definitely pointed to the idea that the writer didn’t have a great handle on Marvel continuity. The one thing that really bugged me is that Spider-Man was written in a way that none of the X-Men or students really seemed to like or respect him. I hate when Spider-Man is characterized this way, though to be fair, that is a flaw in many Marvel books, not just this one.

Elliott Kalan is more of a comedy writer than a comic book writer (he’s the head writer for the Daily Show). As a result, this book was very funny at times. More often that not, the jokes worked and didn’t feel forced. I also thought that most of the characters were really well done. I didn’t like how they related to Spider-Man, but that aside, they felt like unique characters and true to their earlier appearances in New Mutants, New X-Men, and Wolverine and the X-Men.  I am a fan of characters like Hellion and Glob, and Kalan captured them very well.

I also loved that there were a lot of villains we don’t see much of.  Unus the Untouchable, Stegron, and Sauron all played major parts in this issue.  I did think that combining an X-Men and Spider-Man villain was a little too obvious, but it did make sense for Stegron and Sauron to work together, so that didn’t bother me all that much.

Marco Failla doesn’t seem to have done much work for Marvel before. Handful of inking jobs and covers. He did draw an issue of the X-Campus mini-series, which I never even heard of until I was doing research for this review. He also did a couple issues of DC’s Masters of the Universe. His work on this issue felt kind of generic to me.  For the most part, it was serviceable…

But then there were pictures like this, where Storm looks like some kind of hideous monster.

All in all, this seems like it should be one of Marvel’s spotlight titles. Something along the lines of Uncanny Avengers. Instead, we get something that falls just short of where this comic could be.  This book practically screams for a higher profile creative team who could make this into something special.

The biggest problem about this book is that if you wanted to get an X-Men or Spider-Man fix there are FAR BETTER comics out there to do it. Dan Slott’s work on Amazing Spider-Man is brilliant, and Bendis has been killing it on Uncanny and All-New X-Men.  This might be the only book that combines the two, but in a lot of ways, that is this issue’s only selling point.  It is not a particularly bad comic, but in a comic market full of great books calling for my money, being “good enough” just doesn’t cut it these days.

Title: Spider-Man and the X-Men #1
Written By: Elliott Kalan
Art By: Marco Failla
Company: Marvel
Price: $3.99
  • There were some genuinely funny moments throughout this comic.
  • Solid characterization (except in the way the X-characters treat Spider-Man).
  • I hate when Spider-Man is treated as the joke of the superhero business by other characters.
  • The art was pretty generic and uninspiring.
  • Quite a few little continuity things that bugged me.
Is it worth your $3.99? 7.0/10 – This wasn’t a particularly bad comic, but the “mistakes” definitely caught my attention.  I know there are comic fans FAR worse than me about that kind of thing, so that makes me real hesitant about recommending this issue.

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