SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN ALIEN REALITY #2
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Frank D'armata
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Although I find myself mostly being disappointed by the main Spider-Man title, Amazing Spider-Man, I do commend Marvel for having a range of Spider-Man series that appeal to different readers. Spider-Man is actually a hard character to write and appeal to the majority of readers because I've found that readers vary in what version of Spider-Man resonates with them. Some like the teenager and may be coming from the MCU; others grew up reading ASM in the late 80s and 90s and prefer an older married Peter, and some liked the larger scale storytelling from Dan Slott. So it's great that there is a mini series like this (and the previous Symbiote Spider-Man mini by Peter David) that are out of continuity and even take place in a simpler and fairly popular era of Spider-Man.
While this hasn't and probably won't be the deepest Spider-Man/Peter Parker story, I really like how simple and back to basics these Symbiote Spider-Man mini series have proven to be. This Alien Reality mini seems to actually be more of a What-If as Peter finds himself in a reality where someone has re-written reality with the aid of a magical book that was taken from the Sanctum Sanctorum where the Hobgoblin is the sorcerer supreme and Kraven the Hunter is his partner. After running into a disheveled Stephen Strange, Peter and Stephen are now on the path to fix reality but before they do, Peter goes to check on May and finds Ben is alive. It's nothing new and emotional manipulation on David's part but I really like seeing Peter just do Peter and Spider-Man things so although it's a bit cliché, it just works.
I completely understand why many people are not fans of Greg Land's art, there are some panels in this issue that are stiff and clearly photo referenced which is a common complaint with his art. I get it but at the same time there are some fantastic panels that paired with Leisten's inks and D'Armata's colors really work. The action scenes with magic in particular really pop and land draws a very good dynamic Spider-Man. Overall, like the plot, the art is rough in some places and photo referenced in others but it just works.
Another solid issue and delivers exactly what I want and expect out of a series like this. This is definitely the kind of thing that is good in small doses, a mini every 6-9 months works just fine but as an ongoing I could see myself getting tired of this fairly quickly. If you're looking for some good old-school Spidey fun, definitely check it out.