- Plot by Dan Slott
- Script by Christos Gage
- Pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli
- Inks by John Dell
- Colour by Antonio Fabela
I’ve been out of action on ‘Spider-Man‘ comics for a while, pretty much since Otto Octavius took over the body of Peter Parker and allowed Peter to die inside his own failing body. It wasn’t the actual story or the removal of Peter Parker from the continuity, it was more that I was feeding off my own excitement around ‘The Amazing Spider-Man‘ movies and wanted to read some great Peter Parker stories and that wasn’t the direction the comics were going.
Skip to the present day and the announcement of the ‘Spider-Verse‘ story has completely gripped my attention and brought me back into the Spider-fold but I’ve got to do some catching up so thank you Marvel for the opening page recap of recent events within the continuity.
So now I’m up-to-date and ready to tackle the ‘Spider-Verse’ with all guns blazing. This issue picks up the events of ‘The Superior Spider-Man‘ #19 and follows what happened to Spidey during the 24hr period he was missing.
The concept of different Spider-Men is not an issue to me, I’ve played ‘Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions‘ so the 2099 and Noir continuities are not new to me. It’s just new in comic form. It’s nice to see Marvel bringing in popular versions of the character from other media to be part of the comic continuity, much like how ‘Batman Beyond‘ eventually became part of the canon.
This issue is part of the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse‘ part of the story which aims to setup all of the different Spider-Men involved in the main story which kicks off in November – checkout howtolovecomics.com’s checklist for the complete ‘Spider-Verse‘ story. So essentially we’re in setup land at the moment but that doesn’t mean we’re low on action or overwhelmed with exposition either.
The issue is classed as non-essential to the November arc but actually if you want a full understanding of what is going on then this really is your kick-off point. Superior Spidey disappearance is quickly explained as his being slingshot through time to 2099, as Otto puts it:
‘Nature abhors a vacuum. 2099 was robbed of its Spider-Man so the universe sent me to replace him.‘
There’s a really nicely drawn splash of Superior Spidey after he first arrives in 2099 that provides the only moment of calm during a fast paced issue. The story doesn’t spare a beat before immersing present day Spidey in to the 2099 life as the city throws all its tech at the newcomer initially believing him to be their own Spider-Man. The pompousness of Otto Octavius really comes in to its own here as the future technology disappoints him by not living up to his own intellect. Rather than spend time exploring this new world he immediately sets about trying to return to his own and this is where we reach true the edge of the ‘Spider-Verse‘.
The book comes in to its own when Superior Spider-Man starts dimension hopping in an attempt to return to his own timeline. The plot threads quickly start to come together as with each attempt Otto finds another dead Spider-Man each with the same puncture wounds on the chest. One of the big draws for artists, writers and readers of these multi-dimensional stories is the ability to spin characters off in crazy directions. Costumes can change, genders, names, circumstances etc… all of it can be altered an infinite number of times as the story requires. This also allows for some good cameos of which there are several here.
Both the main story and the sub-story zip through pretty quickly and are page turners from start to finish. This is my first experience of a Marvel event such as this so I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops but already I’m excited for the prospects of how this plays out and which Spider-Men are still standing at the end of it.
The villain of the piece remains enigmatic throughout with Marvel most likely savouring the exploration of his or her backstory until the story really kicks things up a gear in November. For now the character remains a force to be reckoned with who has similar technology allowing him to travel dimensions. As to his motives? Those are still unknown but he certainly has a grudge against all the Spider-Men. Hopefully Marvel is saving the big guns for later, although the villain is formidable the lack of motive or history means who could become more two-dimensional than the comics he appears in if there isn’t some serious development coming over the next few issues.
The depiction of Peter Parker in the sub-story is pretty tragic but also not a far departure from where his character could end up in any version of his story. The decision to become almost Deadpool like is very logical if he was ever to lose his trademark optimism for good. The teaser nature of the story makes me wonder if any of these new Spider-Men will be further developed after the ‘Spider-Verse‘ has come to a natural conclusion, hopefully he makes it through and given a few more stories of his own.
The art and script are both as formidable as the books villain, the main story is pencilled by Giuseppe Camuncoli and the scenery is striking throughout, he really runs wild with the possibilities that a cross-dimensional story provides. The sub-story is drawn by the legend Adam Kubert and is classic Marvel at its finest.
Both stories are scripted by Christos Gage and both crackle with equal amounts of wit and drama. There’s more emotional resonance in the sub-story mainly due to the return of Peter Parker and the circumstances surrounding his emotional withdrawal and decent in to becoming a killer. On the flip side the main story features a huge amount of action and development that it’s no surprise this issue is bumper -sized.
For hardcore Spidey fans the fact this storyline boasts ‘every Spider-Man ever!‘ is going to have this series flying off the shelves but for casual fans there’s still a lot to get out of the ‘Spider-Verse‘ and this is a brilliant opening gambit.