Ol’ Spidey’s been doing whatever a spider can (and much more) for a long time now, and now here’s another attempt to reinvigiorate a character who has been reinvented more times than Coca-Cola.

As you might guess from the title, this one’s not for the faint hearted. Editor Nick Lowe jumps in half way through the issue to shout at the reader in an editorial that’s slanted a bit because, you know, it’s probably rad or something. He compares the book’s contents to the movie Speed (ask your parents, kiddies), describing it as “Liquid nitrogen in comic book form”. Wow. Big sell!

Although I’ll cheerfully admit that Spider-Man is my all time favourite superhero character, I’ll also admit that I have zero clue what he’s up to these days, apart from thwips, quips and, uh, whips? Okay, probably not the last one so much. Anyway, I don’t know if he’s a student of teacher at the university, how old he is, if he’s single, if Aunt Nay is still improbably alive and if anyone knows that Peter Parker is the web headed wonder. So I suppose the real question is can a lapsed reader come in and enjoy this new title? Well… YEAH!

Marvel have smartly given the main story thread to the experienced writer Joe Kelly and equally experienced artist Chris Bachelo. These guys know the character inside out and it shows. What the deliver is indeed a pretty much non-stop adventure with lots of quips and thwips, along with kicking and punching, plus a little human drama for ol’ Petey, who may or may not be a student. To be honest, Barchelo’s art is always nice but good luck guessing the age of anyone. It IS fast, it IS enjoyable, and it DOES have one of the more interesting ways to portray spider-sense that I’ve seen, so kudos for that.

The main story is standard legnth, but there’s a bonus ten pages as well, brilliantly drawn by Joe Eaglesham, where we ditch the acton for exposition as an old Marvel baddie comes back and monlologues some lackeys to death. It’s quite fun, really, reading more like a sitcom than anything else, but at the end we know who’s coming to New York very soon.

“Non-Stop Spider-Man” seems to be a great place for anyone wanting to reboard the Spidey train to get back on, and of course existing fans should have a blast, too. The “What happens next?” quota is well and truly filled, and I’ll be there next issue to see if those whips turn up…

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