Spider-man is arguably the most popular comic book character worldwide. Thus, when Marvel announced 2014’s Spider-verse event, which promised to bring together every Spider-person ever, hype ensued. Over the course of several months and a few dozen issues, event architect Dan Slott and company pushed the Spider-family through a wild ride that showcased just how varied and enduring a character Spider-man truly is.
Recently, I got my hands on the Spider-verse hardcover, which collects the majority of the event (for some reason they left out Edge of Spider-verse which features the origin of the popular Spider-Gwen, but I digress). With this massive tome now fully finished, I decided to share my thoughts on Spider-verse.
Peter Parker’s life is never easy, and that’s true for every alternate-reality version of him when the vile Inheritors go on the hunt. A family of vampiric creatures, the Inheritors traverse the multiverse to feast on Spider-Totems, individuals who have spider-like abilities. As more and more Spider-people are murdered, the time-lost Doc Ock (the Superior Spider-man) forms one army, while Peter Parker (the original Amazing Spider-man) forms another. Eventually, these two armies join forces, but can even their combined might stop the Inheritors?
Given the breadth of creative teams on the book, I’m not going to address every writer and artist individually. However, this isn’t a big issue, as, across the board, both the writing and artwork is high quality from all players involved. The core story of Spider-verse is certainly the highlight, and runs through Amazing Spider-man #7-15. Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli handle the art duties in the core story, and the two of them are exceptional choices to portray the breadth of characters and web-slinging situations.
Also, in a major positive twist compared to most comic book events, the tie-ins to Spider-verse are worth reading and supplement the main story in an amazing way. Scarlet Spiders was especially enjoyable, as it highlighted Kaine, Ben Reilly, and the Ultimate Black Widow (Jessica Drew) who are intriguing characters but haven’t received much of the limelight. Spider-verse Team Up is also a lot of fun, as it allows for writers to play with different Spider-people and fleshes out the characteristics and backstory of some characters who only receive a little bit of panel time in the main story.
The gimmick behind Spider-verse is, quite obviously, the opportunity to see every version of Spider-man you can imagine (and some you probably can’t). Spider-man India, Spider-UK, Spider-Punk, Spider-M’am (Aunt May), 1960s Animated Spider-man, and Comic Strip Spider-man are just a few of the myriad cast of characters. I was a bit sad to see Marvel 1602 Spider-man die at the start of the event, but that aside it was great to see all the Spiders in action.
The series featured a number of great moments, but I just wanted to touch on my favorites. An especially key scene involved Spider-man India wondering if he is simply a “shadow” of 616-Spidey, and Spider-UK telling him that they’re all Spider-men, with none of them more important or legitimate than any other. I really liked that Slott acknowledged this, as it showed that even “our” Spider-man is only one piece of a larger tapestry of Spider-folk. Another great moment occurs in one of the early issues, where Spider-man advises Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), who he sees as similar to a young version of himself. It was heart-felt moments like this that were the highlight of the story, even moreso than the (admittedly epic) battles that took place.
While I did state earlier that the tie-ins do add to the story, there are certain issues that can certainly be skipped without detriment as they add very little. Notably, I wasn’t too fond of the Spider-man 2099 tie-ins, which told a story in four issues that could’ve probably been handled in two; it was still an enjoyable story, especially the part involving the Steampunk Sinister Six, but seemed to drag on compared to most tie-ins. Another gripe of mine deals with how the Spider-verse hardcover was printed: for whatever reason, it was not printed in reading order; while this didn’t take away from the event itself, it did make it more difficult to read as I had to constantly flip back to the “reading order” page to know where to go next which caused me to accidentally see a few spoilers.
Spider-verse is a great event that is tons of fun. If you’re a Spider-man fan, you will certainly enjoy what you find. I don’t think the entire event is a must-read by any means, but certainly the core story in Amazing Spider-man is required reading for Spider-man fans. Even if you’ve got event fatigue, Spider-verse will rekindle your hope in comic book events.
(Also, I think I’ve now typed the word “Spider” enough times to last a lifetime…)
-engrossing story that showcases every Spider-person you can imagine (and some you can’t!)
-great artwork across the board
-moves at a good pace
-some of the tie-ins don’t add much to the main story or drag on, notably Spider-man 2099
-issues are not printed in reading order in the hardcover
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