Can you believe that Spider-Verse is almost over? Just a few more weeks, and ‘every Spider-Man ever’ will have definitely been in a comic book. But not every Spider-Man has been able to make a meaningful appearance in Amazing Spider-Man or Edge of Spider-Verse or Scarlet Spiders, even in a story as sprawling as this has been. And so we have the second of the two anthology books called simply Spider-Verse.
Despite being the same price, this issue feels thinner than the first. It contains only five stories and less of the little surprises that made the first issue at least feel like it was worth its 4.99 price tag.
Dan Slott is credited as the writer on two of them, including the first story which is a one page glimpse at Fighting Video Game Spider-Man, which is a clever gag on par with the Fruit Pie Spider-Man and Newspaper Strip Spider-Man from the last issue. I’d imagine this is a take on some version of the Marvel Vs. Capcom Spider-Man, and his death would probably be the least shocking thing to ever happen. Another quarter in the machine should bring him back as good as new.
While this issue lacks a vignette as good as the Lady Spider story from the first, my vote for the best of this group is the one featuring Spider-Punk. Just like a punk anthem — raw, short, and powerful — this story gets right to the point and drives it home with defiant violence. Written by Jed Mackay, this short makes good use the villains and offers a clever twist on one of the weaknesses of the Venom symbiote. It involves amps. And the prerequisite joke about cranking it to 11.
The art and color in the Spider-Punk jam are ragged and exciting. Everything is twisted into grotesquerie, and it works perfectly for the setting and tone of the story. If you can only read one from this book, read this one.
Another story follows Spider-UK to an Earth where Anansi is the Spider-Totem, and I’ll admit I was really confused about that was going on. I took to the internet and discovered that Anansi is an African folk hero who often appears as a spider and is a master story-teller, so…okay…I guess. That’s seems to be stretching the concept of ‘every Spider-Man ever’ pretty far, but at least its an amusing folk-tale. I’d think if anyone was an analogue for Anansi it would be the Master Weaver on Loom World, but I’m just a humble reader.
There’s also a short tale about a Mexican Spider-Man that involves Luchadores and a very, very thin plot about rescuing a girl from some gangsters, and if you don’t know Spanish you’ll have to get the digital version to read it in English. It’s just too short to get any kind of traction, especially since a one page origin story is crammed into it as well. It’s really a shame because writer Enrique Puig scribbles a really funny Spider-Man, at least according to the translation I talked my wife into doing. The official English translation falls flat in comparison to her version.
The final story is the other one written by Slott. It has the jokes, and reveals a little bit about what appears to be a final battle on Loom World, which is a strange choice and apparently a spoiler for the end of Spider-Verse the Event.
Once again, this book is easily skippable, especially for the price of admission. If I could get one book with Lady Spider, Spider-Punk, Fruit Pie Spidey, Newspaper Strip Spider-Man, and Video Game Spider-Man, I’d have one really good issue of Spider-Verse that I’ gladly pay five bucks for. As it stands, we have two so-so books for twice the price.