The Inheritors are hunting Spiders across the multi-verse and the only person who can stop them is Spider-Man…well, just about every incarnation of Spider-Man there is, anyways. So multiple people, kind of. Some of these are familiar faces (such as Noir, Spider-Man India, Spider-Man 2099, etc.) and some are new faces. This title explores a couple of different Spider-types…
Enter the Spider-Verse - We open with a familiar scene, that of Peter Parker attending the science demonstration responsible for Spider-Man’s creation. However, this time Uncle Ben arrives, creating a new strand in the web of life. The Master Weaver welcomes us to Spider-Verse. He sees all life and all possibilities and the “rare souls” who have the power and responsibility (get it?) to spin new paths and change fate. Let’s get this ball rolling!
Spider-Clan: The Many - On Earth-2301, Peter Parker of the Spider-Clan has a vision of his Aunt May, dying and bidding him to join “the many”. His vision is interrupted by a spider bite, bearing the mark of his brother, Venom. Taking that as a sign, he suits up and heads up the mountains.
When he arrives at the temple, he sees a vision of his Uncle Ben, again telling him to join the many. At this time, Venom appears, who is slightly annoyed that Peter did not need his warning. Venom tells Peter that he’s never committed himself to his calling and that he is unwilling to sacrifice. Peter is angered by this, but attempts to press on and find out what the visions mean.
Venom attacks, refusing to let him enter the temple. Venom prepares to kill Peter, but his halted by the arrival of an entire crew of Spider-Men. Peter realizes that there are “many” and he is requested one more time to join…
Steampunk Lady Spider - On Earth-803, in New York in the year 1895, May Reilly is feeling trapped and bored in her life. Being a woman, she has no real freedom. Her father kept animals in his study, with her favorite being the spider. Of course, one day she opened the cage and it bit her, allowing it to escape, but also inspiring her to never be “caged” herself. At a ball announcing her “season”, she is wooed by a Lord Osborne, but is interrupted by the arrival of Steampunk Electro. He kidnaps the mayor and escapes, but creates the perfect distraction for May to slip out and become Lady Spider!
Being Steampunk, everything is…retro techy, and her mechanical arms are built from old car parts. Apparently THIS May is quite the science whiz as well! While Lady Spider is able to take care of Electro easily, her victory is cut short by this world’s version of the Sinister Six (or as they are called “Six Men of Sinestry”…it’s not just the tech that’s needlessly complicated, it’s the words too). We get Steampunk Kraven, Doc Ock, Vulture, Mysterio, and of course, Green Goblin. And wouldn’t you know it, ol’ Gobby has the same pendant that Lord Osborn was wearing. Seems they’re more interested in some plans the Mayor has than the man himself. However, in the battle, the plans are ruined and the group escapes through what appears to be sorcery. The Mayor offers his thanks for…well, not really sure. The plans were for the new subway system and they ended up destroyed…either way, the city is in Lady Spider’s debt and with her mask, May finally feels free! I’m sure nothing bad will be happening to her soon!
Late For a Date - On Earth…let’s call this one 4057355 (taking some liberties on that one), Spidey’s off to a date with MJ! However, Morlun has other plans for him! Thankfully this Spidey has his sweet Hostess Golden Sponge Cakes…wait…seems Morlun is more interested in his essence. Whoops, looks like Hostess Spidey won’t be fighting crime with fruit pies anymore….
Penelope Parker - We cut to Earth-11, where a young, cartoony Penelope Parker watches a science demonstration. Her classmate MJ teases her for taking notes, but stops when she sees a spider on Penelope. Penelope cartoonishly freaks out and a young Flash Thompson squishes it. Her class runs off, but Penelope feels weird…and of course, immediately starts shooting webs (making her, as she puts its, “weirdo-er”).
While she attempts to free herself from her webs, she hears MJ talking outside (apparently super-hearing is her spider power as well). When she arrives outside, Flash has climbed up on a massive display, much to the chagrin of his teacher Ms. Kraven (complete with leopard print skirt and cat toys). When he attempts to climb down, he slips, hanging on by a few fingers. Penelope initially runs away, afraid to use her powers where others will see her. Creating a make-shift costume from what she has in her backpack, she finds the courage to save Flash.
At home later that night, Penelope’s Aunt May tells commends her for her bravery and encourages her to keep doing what’s right. For the time being, they decide to hide her powers from Uncle Ben. Aunt May accepts her, despite her weird powers, encouraging Penelope to develop a costume and continue her heroics.
Newspaper Spider-Man - A short, but amusing tale, in which the Spider-Man from the old Stan Lee newspaper strips confronts Morlun. However, much to Morlun’s annoyance, constant time disruptions cause Peter and everyone else in the world to repeat themselves constantly, making even the smallest actions take weeks! The Master Weaver pulls him back under the guise of the universe being chronally unstable, but it is simple a lie in order to preserve the innocence of that universe.
This title is similar to some we saw during Spider-Island- nothing of any real substance, just short tales to introduce some characters or take an amusing break from the more serious side of the story.
The Spider-Clan story seems like it should have been more important than it ended up being. I really would have liked to see that story have a bit more going on. No real gain here. Lady Spider was entertaining, but only because we get to see her character again. While I’m not a fan of Steampunk, I find this and Noir to be interesting takes on Spidey. Penelope Parker is another one of those stories I really dislike that always seem to end up in the over-sized issues. These cute, child-like renderings of Spider-Man or his cast are the kind of filler that bore me. I know it’s just harmless fun, but it just really doesn’t do a lot for me. I would have preferred more to the Spider-Clan and Lady Spider stories.
The Hostess Spidey and Newspaper Spidey are also dumb jokes, but they entertain me for some reason. They’re short enough to not take up too much space, but have a dark humor I chuckled at. I guess I'm picky about my comedy. Or maybe it's an age thing and the child-centered/friendly stuff in these issues tends to bore or irk me.
With the exception of Lady Spider and the two joke pages, I wasn’t a huge fan of this issue. It doesn’t add anything to Spider-Verse as a whole, but if you like these short compilations, then you might like this one. I don’t regret buying it, but you’re not going to left clueless if you pass it up.