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'Spider-Man Annual 2023' nails Spider-Man, but lacks in a lot of areas
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Spider-Man Annual 2023’ nails Spider-Man, but lacks in a lot of areas

It’s Spider-Man vs. Wolverine in the start of the Contest of Chaos crossover.

The “Contest of Chaos” kicks off this week in Spider-Man Annual 2023. The event has Agatha Harkness is building a new Darkhold, and for some reason, it requires heroes to fight other heroes! It’s a big fight comic frenzy only superheroes can produce, but is there a strong enough story to hold your interest? Also, who wins in the first battle between Spider-Man and Wolverine? If either of those questions tantalizes you, you’ll likely be interested in this opening salvo.

What is evident right off the bat with this issue is that Stephanie Phillips writes a great Spider-Man. He quips, he’s high energy, and he does creative things to combat villains. In the case of this issue, he’s fighting Rhino before he’s transported somewhere else along with Wolverine. Every line of dialogue by Spider-Man is great, and the joy he’ll bring should please longtime fans.

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As fight comics go, Alberto Foche keeps you entertained. The Rhino battle is great, and the battle between Spider-Man and Wolverine is pretty darn good too. The art feels a little less detailed and certain of itself when the heroes fight, but it’s still good choreography. That said, the sequence when the two heroes meet is well done, with your usual heroes-accidentally-fighting-heroes shenanigans.

Spider-Man Annual 2023

Thwippin’ and quippin’
Credit: Marvel

The art drops quite a bit in the final few pages, though, and looks downright rushed and unfinished. No judgment here towards Foche–who knows if deadlines got in the way or what–but when Jessica Jones jumps off a building, it’s like she’s falling, then two panels later, she’s awkwardly positioned with Spider-Man behind her as if they are being shot out of a cannon. It’s very off. There are other small quirks, like Spider-Man seemingly nose-less while eating a hamburger.

When it comes to Harkness, there’s a lot to be desired. Generally she looks cool and does witchy things, but very little is explained. Aside from wanting to build a Darkhold, Phillips is keeping the plan close to the vest. She’s in the comic for only a handful of pages, which doesn’t help, and you’ll feel more frustrated than intrigued by it all. The big draw is the matchups, although not much is made of winners and losers so the stakes feel quite low.

If you like seeing heroes fight heroes, pickup Spider-Man Annual 2023 to see if Contest of Chaos is your thing. It’s also exceptional when it comes to Spider-Man, who is quirky, goofy, and funny in the best of ways. I can’t say I know what this crossover is trying to do, though, so temper your expectations.

'Spider-Man Annual 2023' nails Spider-Man, but lacks in a lot of areas
‘Spider-Man Annual 2023’ nails Spider-Man, but lacks in a lot of areas
Spider-Man Annual 2023
If you like seeing heroes fight heroes, pickup Spider-Man Annual 2023 to see if Contest of Chaos is your thing. It's also exceptional when it comes to Spider-Man, who is quirky, goofy, and funny in the best of ways. I can't say I know what this crossover is trying to do, though, so temper your expectations. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.2
Spider-Man is funny and goofy in the best of ways
Fight between Rhino and Spidey is fun and exciting
Doesn't do enough to explain what is going on
The art falls off a lot in the final pages, looking unfinished
6
Average
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