- Writer: Dan Slott
- Artist: Olivier Coipel
- Color Artist: Justin Ponsor
- Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
At long last, Spider-Verse finally comes home to Peter Parker and our beloved 616. Writer Dan Slott and his team have been slowly introducing us to this new Big Event over the past few weeks, as the various alternate reality Spider-Mans, Spider-Womans and Scarlet Spiders come together, and now it’s time to kick off this storyline with style.
Because it isn’t a party until our Peter Parker arrives. And what a party!
If you’re anything like me, then you don’t particularly care for stories where Spider-Man has to deal with some cosmic insanity. I prefer my Spidey stories to remain grounded in the real world, in the streets of Manhattan. But Slott and artist Olivier Coipel bring so much charm and skill to this issue that it’s impossible not to root for the Spider-Guys, be they cosmic, future, six-armed or cartoon pig.
The story here is that Slott is going to bring together all of the various alternate reality Spider-Folk that have ever existed in Marvel’s history and send them to fight an evil bad guy that threatens the very multiverse – and considering just how many alternate reality Spider-Man stories have been told over the years, this roster is quite daunting. There’s Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, Ultimate Spider-Man, Cosmic Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, and the list goes on and on.
And therein lies the joy of this first issue, which features the Spider-Army finally gathering Spider-Man 616 and his allies for the fight ahead, including Silk, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl and Kaine, the current Scarlet Spider. Peter Parker is not a complete stranger to alternate realities, so he’s not completely lost, and his interactions with the other Spider-Folk is full of personality. Slott is a master of this character in any reality, and the ways in which he uses Kaine and a few of the other Spideys reveals that he has a lot of intricate layers planned for this series. I like the sound of that.
The bad guy for Spider-Verse is Morlun, a new classic villain first created by writer J. Michael Straczynski in his Amazing Spider-Man run from the early 00s. I was reading Amazing at the time, and I still remember the grand introduction of Morlun as a truly monstrous, unbeatable adversary – of course, Peter eventually kicked his butt, and that’s why we love him.
Morlun is tied into Straczynski’s (in)famous new take on Spider-Man’s powers, as espoused by the enigmatic Ezekiel: “Did the radiation enable the spider to give you those powers? Or was the spider trying to give you those powers before the radiation killed it?”
Personally, I’m with Peter in saying all this spider-totem stuff is a load of hokey, but there’s no denying that it’s a unique and original take on Spider-Man’s character. Slott has given us plenty of street-level Spider-Man stories, so why not take a spin on the spider-totem angle? It could be fun.
Though there is one little gripe that I don’t quite understand: where did Morlun even come from? We’re introduced to Morlun’s entire family in this issue, and apparently they spend their time traveling from dimension to dimension to feed on Spider-Men. How is that a thing? How does this group of people come to exist where their soul purpose in life is to apparently eat Peter Parkers (or whoever might be the spider-totem)? They’re evil, sure, but Slott could stand to explain their motivation and reason for being a little better.
But if he doesn’t get around to it, at least we’ve got the stellar pencils of Olivier Coipel to flip through. Coipel is one of my favorite comic book artists these days, and I love it when Marvel brings him out to give his all to a new story, usually one of the Big Events. Coipel delivers stunning detail and emotion in his characters, along with grand scale for his battles and scenery. Coipel is always a pleasure to read.
Spider-Verse is off to a great start, based almost solely on the strength of the gathering of Spiders. Slott not only nails Peter Parker’s down-to-Earth humor and humanity, but even when it’s spread across several different characters, it’s still so charming. Teamed with the ever fantastic Olivier Coipel, it really looks like Slott has given Spider-Verse his all, and I’m looking forward to seeing just where they take us.
Though I do hope that my favorite Spider-Folk will still be alive by the end…
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