Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #9

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Verse"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

This review was first published on: Dec 2014.

Background...

After freeing Cindy Moon/Silk from Ezekiel's bunker, Spider-Man set off a chain of events that is going to require Every Spider-Man Ever!

Spiders are being hunted and consumed by a family called The Inheritors. Spider-Man has defeated one of these Inheritors before... Morlun! The first time was the battle of his life and the second one cost his life and he transformed into The Other.

The Inheritors (Solus, Morlun, Verna, Daemos, Jennix, Brix, Bora and Karn) have control over the Master Weaver and journey to alternate universes to consume spider totems.

The Superior Spider-Man/Otto Octavius first learned of this plot as he tried to escape 2099 and he began collected Spider-Men to battle against an outcast Inheritor called Karn. In Amazing Spider-Man #7 it was revealed that Spider-UK (a member of the Captain Britain Corps) also uncovered the plot and began collecting his own Spider-Men.

See Superior Spider-Man #32-33, Edge Of Spider-Verse #1-5, Spider-Man 2099 #5 and Amazing Spider-Man #7-8 for the prelude information.

In Detail...

"The Gathering"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #9 (Story 1)
Jan 2015 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Spider-Verse"
Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:  Olivier Coipel
Lettering:  Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Nick Lowe
Associate Editor:  Ellie Pyle
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Peter Parker is woken up by a phone call from J. Jonah Jameson demanding that he tale pictures of the latest super-villain rampage! He gets his costume on and swings to the scene to find Morlun! Morlun grabs him, announcing that he has done this a thousand times, and snaps his neck! Morlun feeds on Spider Moon-Man of Earth-449!

On Loomworld (Earth-001), Verna and Daemos await Morlun's return. He arrives and Verna leaves with her hounds (bestial versions of Silver Sable, Puma and Kraven) to a young world to feast. Daemos questions why Morlun has been avoiding one world in particular but Morlun suggests that he's been saving it for last. Once Morlun has left, Daemos orders a path to be woven to Earth-616!

Peter Parker (Earth-616 - our Peter) is woken up by Cindy Moon's (Silk) presence and quickly dresses before his spider-urges kick in from being around her! As a solution to their "problem", she suggests that he move away from New York citing the fact that she's got her own spider-routine sorted. Peter gets too close to her but resists the urge to kiss her and thrusts his mask over his head!

Shortly during their patrol, a bank alarm goes off! Upon investigation, it is revealed that Looter and a gang of spider-minions from the Superior era, have robbed a bank! They are easily stopped by Spider-Man and Silk who are weirdly assisted by Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon), Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O'Hara) and then Spider-UK (Earth-833), Spider-Girl (Mayday Parker, Earth-982) and Spider-Ham (Earth-25)! Spider-Man is most alarmed at these turn of events but it is quickly explained to him and the other Earth-616 spiders that they are spider from across the multiverse who are being hunted by the Inheritors and that Morlun is part of their family! An Inheritor is on his way to Earth-616 so they wanted to act as a retrieval party! They all go through a portal...

At Mount Wundagore, Scarlet Spider (Kaine) is the only one of the New Warriors left standing! Daemos has attacked! Scarlet Spider uses the power of The Other but in doing so reveals himself as special! Daemos begins to feast but Bruce Banner/Spider-Man (Earth-70105), Old Man Spider (Earth-4), Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman (Earth-65) and Ben Reilly/Spider-Man (Earth-94) arrive to rescue him! Bruce Banner is brutalised by Daemos as the others leave with Scarlet Spider through a portal!

They all arrive in Central Park on Earth-13, under the protection of Cosmic Spider-Man (Earth-13). They meet up with the Spiders from before and several others (including Captain Spider - Flash Thompson, Earth-78127, Spider-Girl - Elizabeth Brant, Earth-78227 and Prince Of Arachne - Peter Parker Earth-71004). Spider-Girl (Mayday) is reunited with her only remaining family, her baby brother Benji. Cosmic Spider-Man explains how his powers protect them here but the Enigma Force cannot move between dimensions. He then goes on to say that they now have their secret weapon - our Spider-Man!

On Earth 610, Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales) stands with Black Widow (Jessica Drew - Peter Parker's female clone) at his mother's grave. A portal suddenly opens from behind them and Verna glides through with her three hounds unleashed upon the two heroes!

In General...

The scope of this story is enormous but, fortunately, so is the talent involved in telling it.

Both Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel are at their absolute best here, brining their A+ game to a story that demands attention. It demands attention from all fans, demands an attention to detail that Slott is notoriously good at and it demands to be looked at over and over again as Coipel delivers stunning panel after stunning panel.

The story leaps straight into the action and the gathering of more Spiders to the cause. The premise, threat and cast are managed beautifully and at no point did I feel I was getting pages of exposition nor unnecessary character chit chat. Everything has meaning in this issue and Slott's freedom to draw on the major Spider characters to drive things forwards has untold possibilities for fun and drama. Building the story around Peter, Kaine, Cindy and Miles is a wise move until the rest of the Spiders are established or killed off.

The level of detail gone in to the cast is unbelievable. When you promise every Spider-Man ever, you have to deliver and it is feast for fans to behold the array of characters on offer. Even writing this review I went and found a Spider-Man from Spider-Man: Fairy Tales and my inner geek leapt with joy at this forgotten representation being given a panel or two! Every fan has a favourite, a memory, some connection to a random character and Slott's giving us the opportunity to enjoy these again with Spider-Verse.

What stuns me more is the balance of story, characters and vision. Slott loses none of them, nor does he let any of them overcome the others. This could quite easily have been a cameo comic, but it is not.

Coipel is a perfect choice for a story of this scale. I've waited for him to draw Spider-Man consistently for a long time and his pages do not disappoint. There is a tremendous level of human, physical and emotional detail that oozes through each stunning and intriguing layout. I've seen Coipel draw live and it is painstaking. Through love and a perfectionists eye, he pours over single characters for ages and you know, through these pages, he's done the same here. He even makes Spider-Ham look good! I simply can't wait for him to deliver more of these beloved characters and give them the visual love they all deserve. And all backed up by the best colourist in the business, Justin Ponsor.

Overall Rating...

Slott and Coipel at their best!