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[Comic Book Review] Spider-Verse (2015)

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Plot Summary: When the evil Inheritors begin exterminating spider-characters throughout the Multiverse, every single Spider-Man ever is needed to save the day! An interdimensional Spider-Army gathers to fight Morlun and his deadly family, but none of them is safe as the Prophecy comes to fruition! What will this brutal war for survival mean for Peter Parker and the rest of the spiders? Starring the Superior Spider-Man, the Ultimate Universe's Miles Morales and Jessica Drew, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Woman, Silk, Kaine, Scarlet Spider, MC2's Spider-Girl, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 1602, Spider-Ham, Spider-Monkey, Lady Spider, Spider-Punk, Spider-UK, a spider-powered Gwen Stacy...and hundreds more, from the beloved to the obscure!

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Dan Slott

Pencillers: Olivier Coipel, Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inkers: Wade Von Grawbadger, Cam Smith

Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Review: by The Superior-Spider Sam

So, don’t let the name fool you. I call myself Superior Spider Sam because I thought it sounded funny. At heart I am a DC comics guy and my partner (site creator) Anthony is the Marvel guy in our cabal (with Image being a green zone). However, despite our preferences, we do acknowledge when certain comics are killing it. For example, there was a point when Anthony would have told you Snyder’s Batman or Tomasi’s Batman and Robin were the best superhero books in the industry. And me? I am FULLY ready to admit and accept that Spider-verse is the SUPERIOR cross-over of our current time.

What I Didn’t Like:

I’m going start here because it’s very short- there was practically nothing I disliked. In fact I can think of only one thing, the 1960s Spider-Man. Spider verse involved a lot of team ups and the team up with the 1960s spider man is only one I did not care for.

Miles Morales- the Ultimate Spiderman and Peter Parker- the Ultimate Spiderman from TV had teamed up to universe hop and recruit Spider-men of all sorts to join in the fight against the inheritors. They came across the universe of this 1960s Spider-man (literally how he was in the 60s when buildings were drawn 6 six windows wide and the art was….different) ; let’s just say I’m happy Peter Parker changed in the last 50 years because this story, in my opinion, it was waaaay cheesy.

I am fully aware that’s what the writers were going for, but I still can’t get over the corny villains and the ridiculous dialogue. I mean why THIS spider-man? He didn’t even have a lasting impact on the story overall so it seemed like they went out of their way showing this recruitment story that ultimately never paid off. So really, saying I ‘disliked” it is a bit misleading because it’s not so much that I hated it, but more so it got in the way of this awesome Spider story I was enjoying the heck out of. But to be fair, it was a tie in and not totally necessary to the plot.

What I Liked:

I do not know where to start. Every point I have could be its own separate review.

So bit of background – Spider-Verse was actually teased waaaay back during the days of my namesake- The Superior Spider-Man (Issue #19). During that time Doc Ock (who took over Peter parker’s body becoming the “Superior Spider-Man”) traveled to the future, and immediately returned just a few comic panels later with no memory of what happened to him. We, as readers were left curious as to what exactly happened to him…until now.

So what’s going on? An old foe of Spidey named Morlun has returned with his family who call themselves “The Inheritors.” These Inheritors share the belief that it is their destiny to purge the entire Multiverse of all “Spider –totems”- that is, people with spider powers. This leads them on a genocidal quest across all of space and time in which they find spider-totems…and eat them.

While in the future, Superior Spider-man (Doc Ock) meets one such inheritor who is there to eat him. While he manages to hold his own, he quickly realizes that these beings have power levels that are off the charts and are seemingly immortal- no one spider stands a chance. So Superior decides he needs an army of spiders and begins travelling the multiverse himself saving spiders from the inheritors and recruiting them to join his spider- army.

Meanwhile another group of Spiders have also taken notice of the threat of the Inheritors and formed their own army, but they realize in order to win they must have the aid of the only spider in the entire Multi-verse  who had actually defeated an Inheritor before – our own Peter Parker the Amazing Spider-Man. Once Peter is brought up to speed he is quickly named as the leader of their group. They then decide it’s time to join the other army of Spiders that had been formed, which leads to what I liked the most about this cross-over- the team up of Amazing and Superior Spider-men.

Doc Ock and Peter together are the perfect yin and yang. Parker’s whit and charm is met by Ock’s bluntness and arrogance.  I actually grinned cheek to cheek at some of the banter exchanged between the two; and, when you see how the two approach the same problem so differently. For example, Peter may give a “great power and great responsibility” speech to a de-moralized Spider, while Ock will call him a dolt and tell him to harden up.  

Another interesting angle of their relationship is that the Superior Spider-Man is under the belief that he is the most recent version of Spider-man (not knowing/ fathoming that Peter in fact took his body back). It’s quite entertaining to see Superior flaunt his intellect and talk down to Peter all while Peter keeps quiet and lets Ock’s arrogance carry him forward.

So, I also loved the tie ins- LOVED them. Besides the spider team-ups I mentioned in What I didn’t like, each tie in was a winner. The reason they were all so good is because they all felt impactful to the overall story. Too many times with tie-ins (Convergence, Original Sin, House of M, Siege), there are way too many books that are really just filler because they don’t feel like they advance or even add to the main story. Not here.

Again, I could write a review on each tie in, because there’s so much to love in all of them. We get to follow 3 spider-clones Ben Rielly, Kane, and Ultimate Jessica Drew as they fight the smartest of the Inheritors on a world he has taken control of; we get to see Spider- Woman’s (Jessica Drew) espionage expertise in full effect s she infiltrates the home world of the Inheritors and spies on the big bad Morlun himself; we see Spider-Man 2099 along with Lady-Spider (from Britain in the 1800s) take the fight to the future as they try to capture an Inheritor to study his biology; there is even an awesome tie in with Spider Gwen  as she tries to protect Silk – a most important Spider totem.  

Those are just a few of the awesome stories occurring in this Spider-verse. That’s what makes this so good- not just the awesome stories but the fact that it feels as if this Spider-verse could sustain itself as its own separate universe because there is so much story here.

This should go without saying, but a big piece of what makes this so good is the fact that there are so many spiders both old and new. There are way too for me to list, but just to give you an idea there is Spider-Gwen, Ultimate Spider Man Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man Peter Parker (from the TV show), 1994 cartoon Spider-man, a Spider-man who has been infused with the Power Cosmic, Kane (the Other), Silk (a female who it turns out was bitten by the same Spider that made Peter into the Amazing Spider-man), Anya Corazon, May “Mayday” Parker, Peter Porker- a pig spider, and even a Spider-Woman from a universe where Aunt May was the one bitten. It’s too epic!

Almost done, I promise, but another great thing about this story is that it doesn’t slow down or take a break. The situation starts off dire and the stakes grow and grow until the end. There is no sense of safety of reprieve until the final battle is fought; even when Superior actually managed to kill one of the Inheritors (to the group’s dismay), that victory didn’t last a full page. The spiders are constantly either fighting or running.

Speaking of the final battle, this had to be the highlight of the event. You must read to see all the spiders fight with desperation against the family of Inheritors. The stakes are at the highest and there is a legit fear that some of the Spiders you’ve come to love will not make it. It’s a credit to the writers that with everything going on they had the ability to give many different Spiders a chance to shine. Of course, my favorite moment was something that happened off to the side when one of the BEST lines was uttered:

You may notice I did not mention the art in the series. That is because there is not much to say- it is superb. As you can imagine, there are many different artists on the series as the each tie in has its own creative team, but I must say the style remained outstanding in all of the books (again, excluding that which I mentioned in what I did not like). Something you will notice is the tie-in involving the team up of the spider-clones has a noticeably brighter color palette so, for example, the blue in the sky stands out a bit more when compared to the main series and other tie-ins- that’s the biggest difference and it’s not that major of a deal.

For the common reader there really will not be any glaring differences to notice in the way characters designs are- Jessica Drew looks the same in her own series and in the main Spider-verse series for example. To be clear, so you know I’m honest, when I say no glaring differences, I mean you won’t feel like you are reading a story half drawn by John Romita JR and half drawn Humberto Ramos- the artists in this series keep it pretty consistent. Could be I was so wrapped up in the awesome story telling to notice glaring differences in the art styles, but I doubt it.

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Author Bio:

Dan Slott is an American comic book writer best known for Avengers: The Initiative, Mighty Avengers, She-Hulk, and The Amazing Spider-Man. He finished the writing of the controversial Superior Spider-Man where Peter Parker had been replaced by Dr. Otto Octavious. Dan Slott now writes the Amazing Spider-Man and the Silver Surfer. He is know for injecting humor into typically serious superhero books.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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