The midway point of “Spider-Geddon” shows off some of the best aspects of the “Spider-Verse” sequel…and also some of its worst.
Spider-Geddon No. 3
Writer: Christos Gage
Story: Dan Slott
Pencilers: Carlo Barberi and Todd Nauck
Inkers: José Marzan Jr. and Todd Nauck
Colorist: David Curiel
Covers: Jorge Molina; Mike Hawthrone and Jordie Bellaire; Elizabeth Torque; Inhyuk Lee (Connecting Variant)
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Spider-Geddon No. 3 came out on November 7th, 2018.
No doubt you’ve already have figured out I’ve been very critical towards Spider-Geddon thus far. True, I didn’t expect this sequel to “Spider-Verse” being all that great when it was first announced. That didn’t mean I wanted it to be bad, though. Just because this crossover started off having almost same beat-for-beat premise as “Spider-Verse” didn’t mean it had to commit all the same mistakes. Well, after two mediocre issues, it seems Spider-Geddon is finally getting its act together…kind of.
Take the first four pages of Spider-Geddon No. 3. Doctor Octopus, once again the Superior Spider-Man, teams up with the Playstation 4 Spider-Man to recruit Supaidāman for the fight against the Inheritors. As it just so happens, the Japanese Spider-Man, along with his mecha, Leopardon, is the middle of battling a Kaiju, just like he does during the climax of the TV show. It’s a fun and terrific way to kick off the issue, made all the more enjoyable from Christos Gage’s witty, fan-service laden dialogue. Moreover, Gage nails the personalities of the PS4 Peter–who might as well be the 616 Peter–and especially Otto, as the two balance each other surprisingly well.Credit: Carlo Barberi, José Marzan, and David Curiel (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Geddon No. 3
Adding to the fun, and one the reasons you realize why Marvel decided to go with a “Spider-Verse” sequel, is seeing all the new versions of Spider-Man from across the multiverse. That there are now two teams of Spiders, each with no more than ten apiece, also allows for better interaction and development. Some of these Spiders were already expected to appear, like the Spider-family from Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, or the twenty-seven times resurrected Ben Reilly.
Yet, it’s the Spider-Men created exclusively for “Spider-Geddon” who are definite standouts. Among these include Spider-Ben and Petey, a spider-powered Uncle Ben and a preteen Peter Parker re-imagined as a Batman and Robin dynamic duo. There’s also Norman Osborn as a six-armed version of Spider-Man who, of course, has his own agenda. The creepiest, however, is Spiders-Man, a Spider-Man composed of thousands of sentient spiders who collectively think they’re the real Peter Parker.
Unfortunately, the formation of these two teams of Spider-People is also when the comic starts collapsing. As I mentioned in the review of Spider-Geddon No. 2, both teams agree that the Inheritors must be stopped but have differing ideologies. Miles Morales’ team takes the more traditional, superhero approach in that killing is always wrong, while Doc Ock’s group argues that killing the Inheritors is their only recourse. The problem, as said during the review, is that, while Spider-Geddon strives for balance, Miles’ position looks weak when compared with Doc Ock’s. Well, it’s even worse in this issue.Credit: Carlo Barberi, José Marzan, and David Curiel (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Geddon No. 3
Aside from having no real plan other than “let’s attack the Inheritors before they restart their cloning machines,” Miles’ group, especially Spider-Ham, come off looking like sanctimonious rookies. Worse, their plan for stopping the Inheritors is to use high-powered explosives to destroy the cloning vats and the building in which their housed…which, of course, would also kill the Inheritors. So much for their side’s opposition to killing vampiric bad guys.
As for the Inheritors themselves? Once again, I ask how are we supposed to take them seriously as villains? Over and over, Gage’s script keeps on insisting they’re the greatest threat the Spiders have ever faced, yet they act more ridiculous each time they’re on panel. Their Victorian garb, their wax eloquence, their bickering–they come off looking like a collection of Dracula parodies. It’s was the same problem during “Spider-Verse,” compounded all the more in this crossover since the Spiders’ moral dilemma hinges on whether they should kill them to ensure theirs, and the world’s, survival.
It’s also a particularly bad sign for a crossover when, only three issues in, it needs not one but two fill-in artists. Fortunately in this case, both Carlo Barberi and Todd Nauck happen to be decent fill-in artists. They also have somewhat similar styles, so the change-over between Barberi and Nauck isn’t nearly as abrupt as it otherwise would be.Credit: Todd Nauck and David Curiel (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Geddon No. 3
That said, I do find that I prefer Nauck’s work over Barberi’s. Not that Barberi doesn’t do a good job when it comes to rendering his figures or giving them distinctive appearances. His problem is that his foreshortening techniques lack consistency, with some figures looking like they’re same size even when one is supposed to be closer to the foreground. Worse, even though they have shading, there are too many times where Barberi’s figures do not cast any shadows. Little wonder they look like pasted cut-outs on a stock background. At least Nauck knows how to create a proper illusion of depth, while also making his illustrations look dynamic in turn.
Considering we’re now half-way through “Spider-Geddon” now, I’m not expecting greatness at this point. What I am expecting is some fun, and, after this third issue, it looks as though we’ll be getting more of that. I would even go as far to say it’s more fun than “Spider-Verse,” but only in the sense of how these other Spider-People interact with one another. Still, it does seem rather strange having a Spider-Man crossover where Doc Ock is the clear odds on favorite.
Stillanerd’s Score: 2.5 out of 5
Stillanerd’s Nerdy Nitpicks (possible spoilers)
Credit: Carlo Barberi, José Marzan, and David Curiel (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Geddon No. 3
- Looks like somebody forgot that the PS4 Spider-Man has red and white highlights on his feet. Unless this is yet another unlockable costume.
- “Lead with the sword.” And in a single phrase, Doc SpOck had undermined every single Super Sentai trope, thus robbing it of all its joy. He really still is a villain, isn’t he? However…
- “But if I always fought that this way, it would be…boring.” Sure, Supaidāman, but you fight the giant rubber monsters the same way every single time. Doesn’t that get boring for you, too?
- Oh my gosh, Miles will you just listen to yourself? First, who said anything about collateral damage? Second, how will not killing the Inheritors prevent “racking up the body count” of other Spiders, especially since the Inheritors were killing you regardless. And finally, Pavitr Prabhaker was there during “Spider-Verse” and his “genius” certainly didn’t help to prevent more Spiders getting killed. Come to think of it, wasn’t it his spider-drones that allowed the Inheritors to hack into Doc Ock’s cloning pods in the first place?
- Miles, I think Silk was agreeing with you that you have to strike at the Inheritors with or without Peter.
- Hold on? Why are Annie, Mayday, and Anya looking for information on the Inheritor’s vulnerabilities? Don’t they already know the Inheritor’s main weakness is radiation? They even dumped them on an irradiated Earth last time.
- “These irons aren’t for show, pardner.” And as we will see later, Web-Slingers six shooters shoot webs instead of bullets, which means they’re non-lethal revolvers.
- Oh, come off it, Otto. The real reason you’re mad at Ben Reilly-27 is because he had the audacity of size-shaming your beloved Anna Maria Marconi.
- You got to love how Otto acts like he’s just going to let the Inheritors kill off Miles’ team only to then have some of his forces go in later to save them. It’s like he knew the comic was trying to create a false sense of suspense or something.
- “…or is this some crazy Charlotte’s Web reboot?” Ha! All these years seeing Spider-Ham I never made that connection. Well done, Petey.
- Spider-Osborn does have a point. Who needs bombs when Leopardon’s Sword Vigor could easily destroy the New U building in a single swipe?
- “This is certainly the strangest spider we’ve ever faced.” That’s just the Inheritors way of saying Supaidāman is the coolest, right?
- And of course, the Norman Osborn Spider-Man plans on double-crossing everybody. But seriously, he thinks Earth-616 doesn’t stand a chance against the Inheritors? He does realize there are loads of superheroes in the Marvel Universe who aren’t Spider-totems, right?
Let’s hear some of your thoughts about Spider-Geddon No. 3. Do you think it’s going better or worse than “Spider-Verse” now that it’s half-way through? Who would you say are your favorites of the new alternative Spider-Men? And do any of you think Doc Ock or Miles are in the right about the Inheritors?