It's 1980s Black Cat, Blackmail, and Spider-Man's Black Suit in "Symbiote Spider-Man #3"

Written by Peter David, Penciled by Greg Land, Inked by Jay Leisten, Colored by Frank D’Armata

"Symbiote Spider-Man #3" by Land and Leisten

This series takes place during the mid-1980s when Spider-Man started wearing his “black suit”… which was actually an alien symbiote acquired during the off-world Secret Wars, and while he was in a love-hate relationship with Felicia, the Black Cat.

Peter David’s plot for this issue is pretty simple. Mysterio has witnessed the extranormal (and deadly) abilities of the black suit, and is covertly working with a scientist on the Kingpin’s payroll to uncover its secrets. He blackmails Felicia to collect a sample for him to reverse-engineer. Will Felicia actually betray Peter? How will she take a sample without Peter knowing? Will the suit actually let her take a piece of itself?

Mysterio has some dirt on Felicia. The better to blackmail you with, my dear.

David’s dialogue of their rooftop convo and later spat was painfully realistic.

I have always been a Greg Land fan, even though it’s obvious he leans too heavily at times on the same model for facial expression photo references, and his women all tend to look the same. It can be a distraction in the middle of a story to have a “GREG LAND OBVIOUS PHOTO REFERENCE” moment. I have always felt he is more talented enough to not to have to use such photo refs as a crutch. However, I saw no such leanings in this issue. It was a welcome surprise.

Land's version of the black suit is not flat black, a welcome difference from other artists.

Land chooses not to depict the black suit in flat black solids, as just about every other artist used to do. I liked his version; especially since I always found the flat blacks approach a bit of a cheat move. As usual, Land is expertly inked by his usual collaborator Jay Leisten. Their multi-page fight scene between Mysterio and Black Cat is exciting and well illustrated. It was obvious that they enjoyed drawing Spider and Cat on patrol, and I got a nostalgic thrill from seeing it.


• Felicia teasing Peter about “silently narrating”

• a lovers’ spat

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