Comics: Spider-Man India #1 and others

May 13, 2005 at 2:18 AM (General)

There was a small problem with our computer so I couldn’t update for the last couple of days.  Anyway it’s fixed now and things are back to normal.

Went to TCS Hyderabad today to collect a form regarding my medical check-up.  It has been about a year since I was there last (I did my TAPMI summer project there).

On the way back, I bought another set of comics.  These included Planetary #3 (story was OK, I didn’t think it had the intrigue that the previous two issues had, but the art was very nice as usual), Tomb of Dracula #3, an issue of Spectacular and Ultimate Spider-Man, and a Superman issue with the concluding part of the "Birthright" storyline by Leinil Francis Yu (art) and Mark Waid (writer).

And I also got Spider-Man India #1.

The book is finally on the stands in India, and it’s about time!  I’ve been waiting for this book for many months, and I was puzzled that they’d release it in the US first (where it’s already completed four issues, don’t know how well it sold though) and not in India.  Anyway, Issue #1 is on sale at Rs. 25 (hmmm… other titles of this size, like Spectacular Spider-Man for example, are Rs. 15… exploiting "just noticeable difference", eh?), and it includes a pull-out poster.  I haven’t pulled out the poster, and don’t plan to — I am going to preserve my copy as it is!

Spider-Man India is illustrated by Jeevan J. Kang and Gotham Studios Asia, and written by Kang and Gotham Comics founders Sharad Devarajan and Suresh Seetharaman.  They call this story a "transcreation" of the character to an Indian setting — therefore the character names have been Indianised, and other story changes have been made.  I’d already seen a preview from The Economic Times of the story and it seemed really good.  After reading #1 I can only say that it exceeded expectations.

Pavitr Prabhakar is a village boy who goes to the Heritage International School in Mumbai.  His Uncle Bhim and Aunt Maya have realised that Pavitr deserves the best education, so they somehow try to give him that.  Pavitr, though, hates the school because the other students (save Meera Jain) constantly ridicule his village-background.  One day though, he is "visited" by a mystical sage in a dark alley, and given powers to fight evil.  A parallel plot has the industrialist Nalin Oberoi obtaining a magical amulet, which transforms him into a Goblin-type demon.

The artwork in the book is terrific, on par with the other international Spider-Man titles.  Artist Jeevan Kang has done a great job in rendering the action scenes and some of the more "mystical" scenes.  I loved his use of tilted camera angles too.  The writing in the issue is also good — I had my doubts on how the Indianisations would work, but they pulled it off very nicely.  If this issue is anything to go by, further issues can only be great, and I’ll definitely buy them.

Sadly though, I think only four issues have been created so far.  And obviously, this is an origin story, with inspirations from several elements in the movies and other origin storylines (like in Brian Michael Bendis’s Ultimate Spider-Man).  I don’t know whether we will get to see original stories and new villains/characters specific to this series.  I certainly hope so (though that depends on how successful the book is), and I think the creators are definitely capable.  Personally I’m getting somewhat tired of seeing the "With great power comes great responsibility" refrain!

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