"The Spider King #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Josh Vann
Illustrated by Simone D'Armini
Colored by Adrian Bloch
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 9th, 2018
The Lombard Clan's territory is under attack by the Spider King and his parasitic forces. It's up to Hrolf and his dwindling group of warriors to stop this invasion before it spreads across the entire planet. It helps that they're armed with alien technology. Will that be enough for them to fight back the horde?
The Spider King's soldiers are so very frightening. These were once men, but they've been transformed into bizarre, plant-like monsters with strange growths popping up all over their bodies. Their faces are gone, replaced with large tumors. This gives them an inhuman quality as they shuffle forward. Artist Simone D'Armini captures all of this in gory detail as Hrolf and his group hack and slash their way through. Blood flows like a river, only it's a dark, greyish color.
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There's a pinch of humor throughout The Spider King in both writer Josh Vann's story and dialogue and D'Armini's artwork. It's like the characters realize how insane their lives have become. A few days ago they were traveling warriors who had never heard the word “computer” and now they're firing laser cannons and fighting back zombie plant people. This comic relief works to break the tension here and there and does not take away from the overall plot. Instead it enhances it and makes the characters more relatable.
My only issue with the artwork comes with the characters' noses. They look like they're from an entirely different character, pasted on like some kind of Viking version of Mr. Potato Head. Since they appear as an alternate color, it makes many of the warriors look a little drunk, as if they're taken from an old cartoon.
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The Spider King himself is a terrifying monster, constantly morphing into different menacing shapes to attack his foes. His limbs are disjointed and off-balance since he's basically an amalgamation of discarded body parts and his own spindly parts. He towers over Hrolf too, which makes for an impressive battle as the strong warrior leaps into battle, armed with an alien sword.
Adrian Bloch's colors bridge the gap between fantasy and sci-fi with some trippy visuals. The futuristic weaponry comes in with bright colors, which stand out in the otherwise grim and murky land. This is especially true of Hrolf's sword, blowing a vibrant blue as he slices at this enemy.
The Spider King concludes with this issue, however the door is left wide open for further stories to be told. I certainly hope that more are coming because an immersive world has been created here. There are so many more possibilities to explore with Hrolf and his crew. This is like a badass D&D campaign with alien technology.