“Spider-Verse” was so novel and over-the-top, it seems unimaginable that anyone could ever top it. And try as it might, “Spidergeddon” doesn’t look likely to. With an almost identical premise, it ends up retreading a lot of the same ground as the first inter-dimensional crossover event. Fortunately, “Spider-Verse” was an insane cacophony of comic book madness, and there’s plenty of fun to be had. If “Spidergeddon” #3 has convinced me of anything, it’s that sometimes a predictable sequel is just fine.
Written by Christos Gage
Illustrated by Carlos Barberi and Todd Nauck
Inked by Jose Marzan and Todd Nauck
Colored by David Curiel
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
REVENGE OF THE SPIDER-VERSE! One SUPERIOR SPIDER is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat the Inheritors! Will Miles and his team have to stop him before he goes TOO FAR? Stand together or fall separately – isn’t that how it goes?
So um, what’s the difference between the previous series and this one? Last time, the Inheritors were a mysterious villain who had the element of surprise on their side. This time, they’ve already been defeated by the might of the combined spider-heroes, who know they can be beat. That instantly lowers the stakes, which veteran spider-scribe Christos Gage tried to reestablish by killing off the mighty Billy Braddock (Spider-Man UK) and Spider-Man Noir (soon to be featured in an upcoming “Spider-Verse” movie!).
Those deaths were a legitimate surprise, but this is comic books. Death comes cheap. The larger story moves to split the spider-folks into different teams, many of which are featured in their own miniseries, but two of which are focused on in this story proper. You’ve got Team Hero, led by Miles Morales and Team Murder, led by Otto Octavius, the Superior Spider-Man. Unfortunately, this too is a re-tread of old ground. Otto indeed led his own team in the first “Spider-Verse” event, and his predilection for more extreme, violent tactics was contrasted against a more heroic spider-faction.
A lot of the thrill of surprise is gone too. Takuya Yamashiro made a shocking and delightful appearance in “Spider-Verse,” much to the surprise of long-time Spidey fans. He’s back here, and has a bigger role to play, but packs less of a punch than he did when he was a total surprise. The only big shocker this time around is the Peter Parker of Earth-1048, the star of the recent Playstation game. It’s fun to spend more time with a Spider-Man I’ve recently come to love, but he doesn’t have a big role to play in the story. He’s more of a fun cameo (which is worth a lot in a story pretty much based around fun cameos).
Wow, it sounds like I’m really down on this issue. I’m not. Christos Gage is a true stalwart who knows his business. Even with brief page time, every character has a great voice, and Gage maximizes their impact. Playstation Spider-Man quips about the inadequacy of his web bombs next to a spider-mecha. Spider-Ham gets in a few zingers that are legit pretty funny. “Ponderosa” Parker aka Web-Slinger, is full of cowboy guff. And nobody writes a better Otto Octavius than Gage, who proves that he’s the ultimate (not to mention superior) mad scientist in all of comics. He reluctantly allows Ben Reilly to join his team, “but my gaze shall be upon you,” he threatens. What a delight.
A big challenge in a book like this is that every character is nearly identical. At any given time, there may be a half dozen Spider-Men on the page, many of whom share a similar costume. Kudos to artists Carlos Barberi and Todd Nauck, inker Jose Marzan Jr., and colorist David Curiel, who do a great job at making it easy to keep track. The different heroes are drawn with different textures, which is a neat effect, and even things like body language makes it a breeze to keep track of who is who.
That’s an art team of consummate professionals, but lordy is there a lot of them. That keeps the art neat and concise, but holds it back from having a singular voice. Considering that singular character voice is so much of what makes the book fun, having disparate art styles would have been a nice touch. Over in “Exiles” characters like Cowboy T’Challa and Valkyrie are drawn with an eye towards photo-realism, while the diminutive Wolvie stepped right out of a cartoon. It’s a neat effect that would have been great when characters like Spider-Ham and Playstation Spidey are appearing on panel together.Continued below
So on the one hand, “Spidergeddon” fails to really make an argument for its own existence. “Gee,” some editor must have said, “people seemed to really dig “Spider-Verse.” Can we just do that again?” But then they went and hired Christos Gage and a really competent art team to bring the book together. It’s a half baked idea but it’s executed as well as could be. Also, there’s a monster named Spiders-Man, who is a swarm of spiders in a human-shaped suit. That’s gotta be worth something.
Final Verdict: 6.5 – If your big problem with “Spider-Verse” was that it ended I’ve got good news- “Spidergeddon” is the exact same thing!