Review: PROWLER #1


Written by Sean Ryan
Art by Javier Saltares, Jamal Campbell, and Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 26, 2016

Sometimes, you just rush into things.

Hobie Brown, aka the Prowler, is back to life and trying to find his niche. After helping Spider-Man and being felled by a new Electro, Jackal finds a way to revive him and make him the head of security for his organization. Hobie is on a mission to find a threat to Jackal’s organization, only to become trapped in a new kind of web.

I’m calling Prowler #1 a soft (re)introduction to the character. Without having the history for Hobie and his relationship for Spider-Man, the issue feels like there are some parts missing. Also considering this series’ relationship with The Clone Conspiracy, it makes sense that the story feels implicitly incomplete.

Still, I like the dynamics throughout the issue and Hobie is particularly likable. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, and though I’m scratching my head at some parts, it still seems as though Prowler could turn into something much more fun once it’s loose from the web of a larger Spider story. I think what I’d prefer is more of a venture into Hobie as an independent character, which is what I hope we get in subsequent issues.

My favorite part of Sean Ryan’s writing is the set-up of the plot. The story within Prowler #1 runs full circle. Narrative devices like repetition of phrases at the beginning and ending of an issue are great when used deliberately and effectively. Ryan also creates Hobie as someone who has an extensive history, but who also holds a lot of potential. I like Hobie’s role in Jackal’s organization and I like the teeter-totter of morality that he experiences.

Jamal Campbell’s art is based on a pastel-like portrayal of images with vivid emphasis on characters. The pristine backgrounds are a calming presence, building on the subtlety of the story. Campbell creates a visual (re)introduction to Hobie that matches Ryan’s writing. Despite this soft style, a few characters stand out among others and their environment.

Electro and Madame Web are rather striking and they have a very different aura about them compared to anyone else in the story, especially the main character. Such a technique corresponds to their role in the story, enhancing the impact of Campbell’s style on the issue.

Prowler #1 was pretty cool. I think the series is starting off by being bogged down by another story involving a flagship character, which isn’t new for comics, especially those connected to Spider-Man. Hobie has a lot of promise, and the creative team executes him well. I look forward to what they do and I’m glad I took a chance on one of Marvel’s new headlining black men.

The Verdict: 8.5/10



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