They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but – particularly when I was a kid – picking up a comic book based purely on its cover artwork isn’t necessarily that uncommon.

So I headed into Savage Spider-Man relatively blind based on the striking, monstrous image of a transformed Peter Parker on the cover And promptly got really lost. I hadn’t noticed that the word ‘Savage’ on the cover was covering up the words ‘Non-Stop’ – though this is made clearer on the interior – and that’s the problem with this issue: it’s a continuation of a story that started in action-packed title Non-Stop Spider-Man, which I hadn’t read a single issue of.

Though exposition is delivered with a handy ‘Previously…’ text page after a first scene that blindsides the unaware reader, it’s still a bafflingly busy, breathless and surprisingly gore-filled ride that’ll leave readers scratching their heads for the most part.

I don’t consider myself to be a complete noob, but even I was confused by much of what happened here. Perhaps letting up on the lightning fast pace and delivering some proper insight mid-story wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. The art is big, bold and hyperactive, but without a compelling story to meld everything together it’s all pretty unsatisfying by the end of this first issue.

Not one I’d recommend unless you’re well up to speed with the events of Non-Stop Spider-Man, which I presume would help a great deal.

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