So here it is–the big burly brawl between Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Men, Women, and Pig against Morlun and his family of fellow steampunk vampire clones! But despite it’s solicit saying this issue is the “climatic conclusion,” you read soon enough that it’s still not the end of “Spider-Verse.”
“Spider-Verse Part Six: Web Warriors”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILERS: Guiseppe Camuncoli and Olivier Coipel
INKERS: Wade Von Grawbadger, Cam Smith and Livesay
COLORS: Justin Ponsor
LETTERS: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
THE STORY: Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen are fighting with Verna’s pack of alternate Green Goblins in Loomworld, when Peter and the other Spiders teleport in to help. Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen tell them that Verna took Silk to the Inheritors palace, where Morlun proceeds to do the blood ritual to remove all Spiders from the Web of Life and Destiny. Daemos, however, considers the ritual pointless as the Master Weaver told him he’d outlive his father, Solus, only now he’s dead. Jennix, however, reveals their father’s essence resides inside a crystal which Jennix recovered before their cloning facility was destroyed (as seen in Scarlet Spiders #3), and Dameos takes it to protect their “father” himself. Morlun uses Kaine’s blood, insuring that the Other will never have another host. The Master Weaver tells him that all the Spiders are coming for the Inheritors, so Morlun and tells his siblings to slay the other Spiders while he and Daemos stay behind. As the Inheritors fight the Spiders, including Miles Morales and his “Web Warriors,” Morlun takes Silk’s blood, which will make sure no new Spider Totem will appear again by chance. Morlun is then about to sacrifice Benjy, whose blood will result in no new Spider Totem ever being born, when Peter arrives, yanking Morlun’s knife away with his webbing. Peter and his team fight with Morlun and Daemos, during which the Uncle Ben Spidey goes to the Web of Life and Destiny and uses it to teleport away. Outside, Karn arrives along with Anya Corazon’s team of Spiders (from Spider-Verse Team-Up #3) to aid the “Web Warriors.”
Back inside the palace, Morlun realizes something has gone wrong, and Silk tells him it’s because the ritual has stopped and the Web of Life and Destiny is healing itself. Morlun then goes over to where Benjy is supposed to be to complete the ritual, but is ambushed by…a naked Spider-Ham. It turns out that while Morlun and Daemos were distracted fighting the Spiders, Uncle Ben Spidey took Benjy back to his and Mayday’s homeworld, while Spider-Ham took Benjy’s place. Peter then calls Miguel O’Hara, who arrives outside the palace along with Lady Spider and Supidaman’s giant robot, Leopardon (who they repaired in Spider-Man 2099 #8). Mayday, meanwhile, is fighting Daemos and takes the crystal containing Solus’ essence, and, when she learns what it is and what it means to Daemos, starts to crush it.
Morlun boasts that Peter and his switching Benjy means nothing as he’ll just find him again, to which SpOck proclaims to have a “superior solution”–and murders the Master Weaver! As SpOck explains, without the Master Weaver, the Inheritors cannot complete their ritual even if they have the Other, the Bride, and the Scion. Morlun freaks out as the Master Weaver was the one literally binding reality together, while Peter angrily rebukes SpOck for going against the plan, reminding him that “We’re heroes, damn it! And heroes don’t kill!” These words and SpOck’s actions also cause Mayday to stop crushing Solus’ crystal, declares that, as Spider-Man’s daughter, she’ll seek justice instead of vengeance, and spares Daemos’ life. An enraged Morlun grabs Peter and starts to siphon his life force, but Peter uses his wrist teleporter to send them both to Earth-3145, the post-apocalyptic homeworld of the Uncle Ben Spidey, Morlun begins to choke from the radiation, and Peter tells him to follow Silk’s web arrows to Ezekiel’s bunker if he wants to live. Another portal opens above, and Silk arrives to rescue Peter, as their link always allows them to know where each other are. Later, the Spiders send the rest of the Inheritors to Earth-3145, and although they have the means to get back to their own dimensions with the Web of Life and Destiny, they decide to rest first. Silk holds Peter in her arms, who is still weak from his fight with Morlun. And although their pheromones are being triggered, Peter and Silk opt to cuddle and hold hands instead.
THOUGHTS: From the beginning, “Spider-Verse” has been saddled with problems. The very premise of featuring “every Spider-Man ever,” along with new versions being introduced, meant there were far too many characters to keep track of, with many of them being underdeveloped or reduced to cameo appearances. Morlun and his siblings killing off multiple incarnations of Spider-Man very issue became repetitive, as did the Spiders constant retreat and regrouping after every battle, made you wish Dan Slott would just get the story done because it became so boring. On top of this, by the time part 5 of “Spider-Verse” was done, there were still multiple subplots left to be resolved, many of which were only being followed-up on in various tie-in issues. So with all of this stacked against him heading into Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #14 and part 6, how can Dan Slott pull off a satisfying conclusion to his grand epic?
The short answer is he doesn’t. Thanks to Slott’s prior narrative missteps from the earlier parts of “Spider-Verse,” what we get is a rushed and anticlimactic comic that should serve as a textbook example as how not to wrap-up a story.
To be fair, there are moments which are rather good. Peter allowing Spider-Gwen to take down an alternate version of Norman Osborn, putting his faith in her abilities, and thus letting her prove that, unlike his Gwen, she’s not a victim or damsel-in-distress gave us a glimpse of the kind of satisfactory character building and interaction we should have had all along. Mayday deciding to show mercy towards Daemos was a logical, if not all-too obvious and predictable, resolution to her own revenge-driven story arc. And at long last, we finally see Peter Parker have the resourcefulness, intelligence, and self-sacrifice to prove he has what it takes to make for a capable and competent leader, something which issue after issue kept telling us but never showed. At the very least, it’s a sign that Slott is capable of writing comics driven by character instead of plot.
Unfortunately, what good scenes we have here are too little, too late, as everything else which happens is the result of Slott, having scripted each installment with such slow and plodding pacing, being forced by his own plot to wrap-up and resolve “Spider-Verse” as fast as possible. Hence why the Inheritors, after being built-up as being nigh-invincible and unstoppable juggernauts wind up looking like a family of pushovers who are easily defeated and webbed-up off-panel. It’s why we get an exposition-dump by Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen at the beginning of the issue telling Peter about Silk’s abduction without us having seen it. It’s why, after being killed off in the last issue, Solus is revealed to be “alive” in this one, just for Mayday to have an edge over Daemos in her decision whether or not to continue living by her father’s example or punish Daemos for her father’s murder. It’s why, after the Ultimate Jessica Drew finds the tattered remnants of Kaine’s Scarlet Spider outfit and vows they’re not going to lose “one more man,” Spider-Ham adds “or woman” and then “or pig,” thus turning Ultimate Jess’ vow to avenge Kaine’s death into ill-timed comedy. And it’s also why there’s no less than four dramatic entrances in which a large group of Spider-folk arrive just in time save the day, two of which (the appearance of Karn and later Leopardon) don’t carry any emotional weight since they depend upon you being willing and foolish enough to pay the extra bucks for various “Spider-Verse” tie-ins. And it’s also why we have Silk once again come to Peter’s rescue as the comic closes with a “heartwarming” and “intimate” panel of the two of them together in each others arms–complete with dozens of lit candles in the background no less–that’s about as tacked-on and contrived like the rest of their so-called “romance.”
This also results in outcomes which, if you pause to think about them, end up making no sense whatsoever. For example, if all the Spider-Men had to do to rescue Benjy from being sacrificed was to distract Morlun and Daemos long enough for Uncle Ben Spidey to remove him from the Master Weaver’s webbing and teleport away, why even bother switching Benjy with Spider-Ham, much less have him strip off his costume just so he could, somehow, be mistaken for an infant? It serves no other purpose other than to have a “funny scene” involving a naked humanoid pig. Or, after Peter remind everyone, especially Otto Octavious, that “heroes don’t kill,” his solution to stopping Morlun and the Inheritors is to trap and exile them to an Earth blanketed by radioactive fallout as even the smallest amount is toxic for them. Oh sure, Peter makes sure to tell Morlun about Ezekiel’s bunker where he and his brothers and sisters can seek shelter and live, except the art shows us that Morlun and the others can barely move as they’re literally choking to death. And even if they did manage to make to the bunker, how exactly are the Inheritors supposed to survive since we’ve been informed more than once they can only feed on the life force and totemic energy of other human beings, of which there are none on this world? For all his preaching to others about not murdering one’s enemies, Peter Parker might as well have. It’s the equivalent of Bruce Wayne telling Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins, “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.”
Which leads me to discuss the reason Peter’s equivocation about killing in the first place: Otto Octavious’ murdering the Master Weaver. SpOck’s actions and twisted reasoning for doing this makes perfect sense given who he is, and is certainly shocking and unexpected. However, what impact and implication from the Master Weaver’s death are abandoned just as sudden as the actual killing, as everyone appears to forget all about it by issue’s end. What’s more, after making a point that without the Master Weaver being able to continue spinning the web, thus preventing the Inheritors from completing the ritual and using it to travel to other dimensions, not to mention the possibility of all of reality being destroyed based on Morlun’s horrified reaction, we’re later informed via Miguel they can use the Web of Life and Destiny to return to their own worlds, which means the Web is still intact. How convenient! At least I should be thankful Slott didn’t use the Master Weaver to bring all the dead Spider-Men back to life as I feared. And I suppose it gives Karn something to watch over to make up for how little involvement he actually had after Superior Spider-Man #32 and #33 went through all the trouble to make seem important.
If there is a silver-lining, the comic has excellent illustrations by Olivier Coipel,,,for the pages he does, at least. This is because midway through the issue, Guiseppe Camuncoli steps in as a fill-in artist, and while his work is up to scratch, the shift in styles in noticeable. Coipel, with his frequent use of double-page spreads and elaborate details, provides for some eye-catching visuals, whether it be Spider-Gwen kicking a Green Goblin in the face, the worm’s eye view of Morlun dramatic-stance with a blood-soaked knife, or Miles entrance with the other “Web Warriors.” Camuncoli allows for tighter panels in which plenty of action occurs with it feeling over-crowded, and the action it displays looks fluid. Yet neither artist seems to capture the sense of size and scale one would think a battle involving multiple iterations of Spider-Man from all over creation laying siege to the Inheritors should have. Those who read Spider-Verse #2 and Dan Slott’s “It’s The Little Things” at least got a sense of just how huge this fight is, yet here it seems as though it only focuses on those Spider-Men and Women we’ve already been following, save for a few brief cameos. In fact, Camuncoli’s cover for this issue has a greater degree of grandeur of this battle than anything inside the comic itself. The result just serves to underscore how underwhelming the comic, and “Spider-Verse” in general, really is.
With an epilogue issue left to go, not only has “Spider-Verse” not lived up to the hype, it’s Dan Slott’s most disappointing multiple-part story since “Goblin Nation.” I’m sure some of you my believe there’s a variety of reasons for this. You might place the blame on Marvel promotional campaign for their inflating yet another event-driven story to such lofty heights that it was impossible to meet it’s promised expectations. Or you might believe the fault lies with Spider-Man’s Editor, Nick Lowe, and his seeming inability to effectively coordinate and manage “Spider-Verse” into a cohesive whole, that despite claims it’s tie-ins were optional reading, they ended up being mandatory to make sense of what is going on in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. But like it or not, “Spider-Verse” belongs to Dan Slott, and was the story he was eager to tell as far back as his doing the story for the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions video game, the story he wanted to do for the Superior Spider-Man before being convinced to change to a story for Amazing Spider-Man–not that it wound up making much of difference anyway since Peter has been all but shoved aside throughout. Which is remarkable when you consider that, while being a different medium, Shattered Dimensions had a much tighter script and, with four playable versions of Spidey, each of them had enough time to come off as distinctive, interesting characters in their own right. It appears that somewhere between then and now, Slott has forgotten the lesson that, sometimes, less can indeed be more.
- “Focus! The Inheritors have my brother…and Silk.” You know, for as one-note as Mayday Parker has been ever since her parents were killed, you have to least admire how she dismisses Cindy Moon as an afterthought.
- “That’s the lesson here…never listen to adults. Adults are stupid.” And yet, Miles, aren’t you taking orders from Peter Parker, who himself is supposed to be an adult (and, based on how he’s been as a leader up to this point, has also acted pretty stupid)? I know you’re referring to the Inheritors, but just thought I’d point out the irony.
- Another reason why the “hamboozling” of Morlun via switching Benjy with Spider-Ham makes no sense–Benjy isn’t naked. He’s wearing a jumper. Also, based on the art, Spider-Ham is bigger than he is. So along with what I already mentioned in my review, how did Morlun, as Spidey put it, get “faked out by a pig in a blanket” anyway?
- “Sorry we’re late. We had to patch up this guy [Leopardon] with some future tech.” Hmm…for a scene which requires one to read Spider-Man 2099 #8 in order to get the full context of what’s going on, it seems as though Slott didn’t read Peter David script himself. Because if he had, he would learned that Miguel O’Hara and Lady Spider repaired Leopardon with technology based on steam-power from an alternate version of the late 19th century. Not exactly what I would have called “future tech.”
- Oh, so now when she isn’t consumed by vengeance, Mayday uses her traditional “I’m Mayday Parker. Daughter of Spider-Man” line instead of “I’m Mayday Parker. The Spider-Girl” like she did back in Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #8. Which I suppose is Dan Slott’s way of telling Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, “Sorry guys. As much as you wanted this Mayday to be an alternate version like you suggested in your story for Spider-Verse Team-Up #3, she’s been the real deal all along, so deal with it.”
- “Run, Morlun. Run for your life!” I guess this means Silver Surfer is no longer the only one of Dan Slott’s comics to make blatant references to Doctor Who.
- “We’re connected. I always know where you are,” So along with everything else she can do, Cindy Moon’s “connection” to Peter is so powerful, her spider-sense can find him across the vast reaches of space and time? I suppose it’s only fair since we saw Morlun was somehow capable of smelling her from across space and time.
- So Miguel O’Hara, when talking about the Spiders sending the Inheritors to Earth-3145, says, “After all these bit-heads put us through, can’t believe we’re letting them walk away.” To which Miles Morales says, “That’s what makes us good guys, O’Hara.” With all due respect, they’re both wrong. Because not are they not actually letting “walk away,” they’re technically sending the Inheritors to their potential deaths as I explained in the above review. Which means, according to Miles’ own definition, they and the other Spider-Men are not exactly “good guys,” are they?
- And among the unanswered questions of “Spider-Verse,” if all it took to stop the Inheritors was trapping them on the post-apocalyptic Earth, why, given his “little acts of rebellion,” didn’t the Master Weaver do this a long, long time ago? Then again, what hold did the Inheritors have over the Master Weaver to force him into working for with them, much less how someone so powerful was even captured at all?