Out this week is the collected edition of Edge of Spider-Verse, the continuation of Marvel’s epic Spider-Verse. Starting in 2014, the idea of a multiverse of Spider-Man-related characters has been imaginative and super fun. It’s also been huge in scope, contrary to the usual New York-centric Spider-Man comic. Edge of Spider-Verse is a direct sequel to Spider-Geddon that came out in 2018. When it comes to Spider-Verse comics, two things are guaranteed: tons of new versions of Spidey will pop up, and there will be super high stakes. As the first issue shows, we get both right out of the gate.
Collecting the five-issue series, each issue features a couple of different Spider-Man characters. Some are familiar, like Spider-Man Noir, while others are completely new. Each issue features a variety of creative teams, with Dan Slott supplying a story in every chapter. All told, there is a lot of fun to be had with this collection, with all sorts of new and high-value Spider-Man characters being invented right before your eyes!
Kicking things off is Edge of Spider-Verse #1, featuring four stories by four creative teams. It’s basically an anthology, although each story does either build up what we know about a growing threat or connect directly with each other. Each story offers a little something extra, be it goofiness, humor, or even a darker tone, especially for a Spider-Man book. Essentially, you get a lot of different flavors, reminding you the Spider-Verse universe is very diverse.
The first story in this first issue is by Dan Slott and Martin Coccolo with colors by Brian Reber. Titled “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Slott introduces readers to the Spider-Man of Earth-1740, who is essentially saving lives during the American Revolution. This tale is only three pages long, but teases the fact that Spider-Man characters across the multiverse will be called upon soon. Oh, and there’s a threat that’ll require their services.
The next story is called “The Hero Within” and it’s by Alex Segura with art by Caio Majado and colors by Brian Reber. Anya Corazon or Araña, aka Spider-Girl, takes central focus in this tale. She’s from Earth-616 and tries to balance school and superhero work. Certainly the longest story in the issue, this story features a major confrontation, a new Spider-Man costume, and essentially the first strike the heroes take on the enemy. Majado does well to capture Araña’s agility and speed in the action scenes. The story balances the hopeful cheeriness of Araña, the hero, and a threat that wishes to take her off the board.
Following this is the much-teased Spider-Man T-Rex story “Spider-Rex!!!” by Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez. As the preview shows, Pter Ptarker faces off against what appears to be a Green Goblin-themed pterodactyl. It’s a goofy tale that plays with language in a way only Pacheco can pull off. Perez makes the action exciting while also making you believe a T-Rex could somehow use those little arms to swing with webs. Truly over-the-top goofy fun.
Wrapping up the first issue is a wonderfully noir story by Dustin Weaver and D.J. Bryant called “My Dame… My Destiny.” Spider-Man Noir takes center stage in a story that feels densely written and drawn. The captions intentionally overpower the art at times to convey the inner monologue of the detective. There’s a sexy sultriness to the story that is refreshing since this version of Spider-Man sure isn’t any boy scout. The tale is darker in tone, thanks to the reduced use of color that makes it feel like an old detective movie. It’s a great way to end the comic as it reveals not every hero is going to make it out of this event.
It only gets better with some incredible new characters introduced. One highlight is Jordan Blum and Michael Shelfer’s story titled “Spider-Ham,” but Spider-Ham quickly runs into a new version of Spider-Man in the 616 universe. The story opens wonderfully, featuring Spider-Ham in a dark and edgy visual style, yet his captions are comedic and fun. It’s like a Dark Knight interpretation for the character, which juxtaposes nicely with the incredibly ordinary Pete Spiderman. Coming complete with a character bio straight out of a Marvel card, Blum and Shelfer introduce wacky suburbia supervillains like the Green Lawn Goblin in efficiently told panels. The message of the story is loud and clear too, and the tale even ends with a cliffhanger that suggests Spider-Ham may be in big trouble.
Often with anthologies like this, I assume the follow-up story will pale in comparison, but Hein and Vecchio blow you away with a Disney princess-style Spider-character known as Spinstress. Vecchio draws scenes that feel straight out of Beauty and the Beast, with a character living in a medieval setting belting out songs as she walks passed street vendors. At 16 pages long, it’s the longest story in the anthology issue.
Not only do her songs make sense, but they add to the overall experience. Vecchio gets to design multiple characters in a Disney style that’s downright incredible. Hell, Spinstress even has a talking spider companion! The story plays into the tropes of Disney movies, and the villain even looks like a cool homage to Maleficent. It’s also quite clear the creators are leaning into those tropes because they love them, making for a parody in some instances, and an homage in others, that the reader can feel like they’re in on.
Slott and Ty Templeton’s story in the same issue will make you want a Peter Parkedcar series. Set in Vanhattan, Parkedcar has the worst day, which gets even more terrible when everyone thinks their creator has returned. There are many puns, the cars look cute as hell, and it’s the kind of story that walks a line of for-kids-content, but adults will have to smile and enjoy it too. It’s only four pages, but it’s well worth a read.
Another highlight is a story featuring Spider-UK in “The Spider and the Dragon” by Ramzee and Ruairi Coleman. This story is super fun, tackles the obvious head-scratching element of there already being a Spider-Man from the United Kingdom, and expertly introduces a new Spider-Man-themed hero. Ramzee is efficient in layering new info about her powers, the world, and how she functions as a hero. Add in the fact that she’s Muslim, and we have a fantastic new Spider-Man character. This story also ties into the main event at the last minute, but you’ll enjoy getting to know this new hero. Brian Reber colors the issue quite well with great lighting effects as needed.
As you can see, this is only a handful of the stories covered, but each one has a fun vibe, a compelling take on Spider-Man, or just looks super cool. Edge of Spider-Verse is as strong as the sum of its parts. Each tale feels like it’s building towards something while giving readers a different flavor of Spider-Man.
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