There’s a line from 2004’s “The Incredibles” where the villain Syndrome says, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.” Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” tale operates on many of the same levels — when the Marvel Universe is filled within an infinite amount of “Spider-Men,” it becomes much harder to distinguish why Peter Parker is special.
Those who have read The Amazing Spider-Man since its relaunch have seen Peter Parker take a back seat in his own title for much of the lead-up to Spider-Verse, and now that it’s here the trend continues. Readers are told he’s some sort of Harry Potter-ish “Chosen One,” but the evidence as presented — up to this point — doesn’t support the claims. Peter comes across as just one of many heroic “spiders” throughout multiple dimensions, each doing his or her own part to protect the “spider-totem” from falling to “The Inheritors” — a dysfunctional family of beings that like to dine on “spiders.” When Peter Parker gives off a “Where’s Waldo” vibe in his own book, something is wrong.
Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” generally reads like a convoluted mess from the mind of a man who still goes to fast food restaurants and fills his glass with a little bit of each kind of soda without realizing that the end result isn’t all that special and usually tastes gross.
Spider-Verse’s saving grace appears to be the artwork by Olivier Coipel — it really is quite beautiful, and he’s able to organize Dan Slott’s clutter like a mother who picks up after her son when he’s old enough to know better.
To make matters worse, the commanding presence of Doctor Octopus (aka: “The Superior Spider-Man”) provides another example of just how diminished Peter Parker is in his own book. Readers know that as “The Chosen One” Peter will play a crucial role in defeating The Inheritors, but up until this point — ten issues into the relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man — one has to imagine that many Peter Parker fans are asking: “Why?”