After months of lead-up to Spider-Verse, the actual series, and its tie-in material, fans of Peter Parker may find themselves suffering from a form of Spider-Diabetes due to Dan Slott’s Spider-Gluttony. Part 4 of Spider-Verse hit stores on Wednesday, but on some level it seems like Part 14. Even staunch supporters of the tale may be asking themselves: Are 20 issues really necessary to do this justice?
Those who have followed Spider-Verse from the beginning can expect more of the same; throngs of spider-totems die; The Inheritors chase spider-totems around different dimensions; a few “whacky” panels are thrown in; Peter Parker needs help, and the issue ends with a big tease to generate buzz for future installments. On the cliff hanger, however, Mr. Slott does not disappoint. More on that later.
The ongoing problem with Spider-Verse is that any story that involves an army of spider-heroes (many who are just different versions of Peter Parker) will obscure those leadership skills that prove he is a cut above all the rest.
“I asked for this. The others are counting on me, and I don’t know what to do! I need help! I need…” Dan Slott’s Spider-Man says just before he is saved by Dan Slott’s creation, Silk. What a coincidence.
“Peter, it’s Cindy. … Earth-3145! Trust me…” says Silk, which then prompts Peter to bring his team to her location. Moments earlier, Peter was sent scrolls from Spider-Woman — provided by Master Weaver — spelling out “everything” he would need to know about The Other, The Bride, The Scion, and more.
It is hard to conclude that Peter Parker is the one essential hero in his own book when he depends on so many others to secure victory, let alone the assistance that comes from some Deus ex Machina action (i.e., Master Weaver).
The best part about Spider-Verse Part 4 is the last panel.
** Warning: Spoiler Alert. **
There is a special spider-totem who has been waiting inside a fall-out shelter on Earth-3145. Alone amongst the rubble of a post-apocalyptic New York City teeming with deadly radiation is … Uncle Spider-Ben. What role he will play as the story unfolds is still unclear, but it’s a sure-fire way to generate sales for Part 5.
The problem with the Uncle Spider-Ben reveal is that it reminds Peter Parker fans that it wasn’t too long ago that Peter died … or became Ghost Peter … or Memory Fragment Peter or some other kind of Phantasm Peter that hasn’t been clarified by Dan Slott or Marvel.
Given that The Amazing Spider-Man #700 indicated that Peter would die and reunite with Uncle Ben — the real Uncle Ben — in heaven, the appearance of an Uncle Spider-Ben isn’t particularly earth shattering. Peter and his real uncle would have had time to talk at length and untangle any unresolved issues associated with his untimely death. Besides, if there are spider-monkeys, spider-lizards, Spider-Hams and a whole host of other weird incarnations, it’s actually more bizarre that there hasn’t been Spider-Jonah or Aunt Spider-May. In fact, why has there not been a Spider-Mary Jane?
In the end, Spider-Verse is a little like one of those Brazilian steakhouses where they endlessly bring out meat, but instead of massive amounts of protein Dan Slott serves up Spider-totems. Even those who love meat and Spider-Man can reach a saturation point. For readers who can digest another eight issues and take a $32 hit to their wallets, kudos. For those hard-core fans who started out strong but are beginning to feel nauseous, at least you can get by with only purchasing ASM issues 13 and 14.
And finally, if you’re screaming “No mas! No mas!,” then save yourself the cash, read my next reviews, and share your opinions in the comments section below.
Exit Question: Is it possible for beings that can consume the life force of Captain Universe to be adversely affected by the fallout from a nuclear blast?
Bonus: Here is an excerpt from the feedback that makes it into the Letters to the Editor section of The Amazing Spider-Man:
“Dear Spidey editors, artists, and everyone else related to making The Amazing Spider-Man comic book… You all are gods! Only someone with such power could have the responsibility (see what I did there?) to make something with so much beautiful artistry.”
Now you can see why modern creators swear off message boards — they’re so used to cherry picking the kind of feedback they receive that they can’t professionally handle unfiltered criticism.