Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli
A lot of fuss was kicked up in the last issue of Spider-Man with a twist than, admittedly, felt a bit out of left field. Those looking for that ending to have some sort of major impact or make this issue different somehow are out of luck, this is simply another issue of Spider-Verse, warts and all. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however given the strength of the event so far and, despite the flaws, manages to be another strong issue that leaves me pumped for the conclusion.
While not contributing much to the overall story, Spider-Ben does have a pretty neat backstory (I never get tired of reading alternate Spideys’ backstories) and I’m glad Slott didn’t go down the obvious route to make him evil. His story actually ties in pretty well with the Superior Spider-Man and surprisingly allows the issue to have a lot of interesting character beats for him. Maybe it’s just my bias towards the character, but I really enjoyed his scenes and it showed just how far the character has come. The ending in particular shows a drastic shift from the Doc Ock we know, and even Peter seems surprised by his turnaround.
The other Spiders also get some nice moments, including a particularly interesting conversation between Spider-UK and Spider-Man India about whether or not they are even “real” Spider-Men compared to 616 Peter Parker. It’s a nice meta moment that addresses some interesting questions about the other Spideys and their “red shirt” nature. It’s just a shame that so many of the events involving these other Spider-Men happen off panel, making us buy more and more tie in books. At this point it really does feel like we’re missing stuff if we’re not reading the tie ins (which I’m not). A particularly huge event that leads to part of the climax happens in another book and that just really frustrates me, especially since Marvel assured us these would not be required reading.
Aside from this, everything else in this book remains as good as ever. I’ve expressed in previous reviews of this title a fondness for the art of Giuseppe Camuncoli so it’s nice to see him here and I’m not too miffed about the lack of Coipel. While these two artistic shifts would seem drastic, the inks of Cam Smith make Camuncoli’s pencils seems a little closer to Coipel, so the change in style isn’t too jarring. It’d have been nice to have one artist on the main book for consistency sake but I can’t think of a better replacement than Camuncoli.
There’s not really much else to say that hasn’t been said in previous reviews of this event, very little has changed so far and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the annoyance of required tie ins this has been one of the strongest and most consistent events Marvel have done in years. If Slott and co can stick the landing then this may be something to truly remember.