Peter Parker’s Spider-Geddon tie-ins come to an end here with the final issue closing out what has been a fun, but tonally uneven, push and pull between his Spider-self and the palest-boy-in-all-the-lands, Morlun the Inheritor. So, how does it fare? Unfortunately, not very well. Writer Sean Ryan and artist Juan Frigeri try their hardest to find the middle ground between the fun fluidity of this mini trilogy and its more serious, severe follow-up of a second issue, but end up lost somewhere along the way.
What’s it about? Marvel’s preview reads:
A SPIDER-GEDDON TIE-IN! It’s the end of the road for PeterParker. Morlun has returned and Peter’s only ally, J. Jonah Jameson, is doinghis best…but can it possibly be enough?
But, as with the first issue in this ‘Geddon centric mini-series, it’s obvious from the onset that Peter is in no real danger here as Morlun emerges from flaming rubble, eyes set downward, clawed hands at the ready…in an adorable, bright purple, Central Park Zoo t-shirt.
Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh – whoops! All our tone setting went right out the window!
It’s one thing to cut a tense situation with some humor, as is Spidey’s trademark sensibility – employed later in the issue to a nice effect as Peter remarks that “his life makes no sense” while fighting both a bear and a vampire. It’s another thing entirely, however, to completely diffuse any tension, especially around a monolithic enemy like Morlun, whose family has taken victims over in the main event this book ties into, through visual gags and lackluster quips. Despite Ryan’s best attempts to keep things surprising and fluid throughout the issue’s short runtime, military-police and JJJ himself lending some unnecessary aid to Spidey, the conclusion is foreseeable from the outset. There’s a nice coda on the entire thing, tying directly into Spider-Geddon, but little else inspires.
Similarly, Frigeri’s artistic effort feels predictable and safe — as if the status quo here is simply “don’t mess with Spidey.” Fine, but can we at least inject some energy into the norm? A constant revolving door of Peter into one set Morlun out the other not a good or interesting issue make. And again, the only truly compelling thing here is that fantastic page where Spidey is landing a square kick on both a bear and Morlun’s jaw. This isn’t to say that anything is horribly rough or unfinished looking, and I actually really like the ninja-like approach to Peter’s torn up mask and shadowed eyes here, but everything just feels for lack of a better word, sterile.
All in all, a disappointing, uneven Spider-Geddon tie-in that does its due diligence in tying Peter into the big picture but couldn’t be bothered to try for anything beyond the bare minimum. Oh well.
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