Marvel’s Multiverse has undergone a bit of contraction, one could say that the Multiverse has been destroyed! For those that remember the original (1984) Secret Wars storyline, you may recall that the heroes and villains were transported to a planet called Battleworld. This year's Secret Wars installment features a Battleworld planet once again, however this time Battleworld is all that remains of the entire Multiverse. This patchwork planet consists of a heterogeneous mix of fragments of worlds which no longer exist.
One of those world-fragments is featured in the latest Spider-Verse miniseries, which reunites various web-slinging heroes from across the Multiverse; namely Spider-Gwen, Spider-UK, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man: India, Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Girl. The Spider-heroes have no idea how or why they’ve ended up on this planet, but they all have realized that they aren’t in Kansas anymore…
At the conclusion of Spider-Verse #3, Spider-Gwen had abandoned her comrades because she did not trust anything Norman Osborn shared with the group. After she returned to the graveyard where ‘Gwen Stacy’ was buried she was greeted by none other than the presumed-dead Peter Parker!
Before Peter could offer an explanation as to why he was assumed dead, Venom comes launching out of the woods and goes on the attack against Peter and Gwen. Venom was instructed to track Gwen (at a discrete distance) but he blew his cover upon seeing Peter; he simply could not resist attacking his long-time nemesis. Gwen intervenes, despite not having any idea as to who Venom is, and takes Peter off to a safe location.
Peter explains to Gwen that he had lost his powers a few years back and he went off the radar to protect his wife and family. He went on to say that Norman believes him to be dead and he'd like to keep things that way. However, Spider-Man Noir was able to track down Peter. In fact, Noir had sent Peter to warn Gwen about Norman Osborn. Before their conversation could go any further, Venom comes flying out of the woodwork to once again snatch Peter…
Back at Ozcorp, Porker and Corazon bond as Spider-Ham shares stories about his time in Osborn’s facilities. He tells Anya that Norman puts on a ‘crown’ and sits in his ‘Caesar’s Palace’ chair. This piques Anya’s curiosity and she demands Porker show her what he’s talking about. Meanwhile, Braddock and Pavitr work with Mendel Stromm and Norman to understand the 5th dimensional energy field--The Web--housed at the Ozcorp lab.
The story then returns to Gwen rescuing Peter for a second time, however Venom’s attack was resilient, so Gwen was forced to set a trap. Having learned a lesson from Noir’s dismantling of Carnage (via sonic gun), Gwen decides to use a guitar and a few large speakers to blast the symbiote off Eddie Brock with sound waves. The loud noise works as Brock and the symbiote are rendered helpless. Peter then insists that Gwen not trust Norman and his research, causing Gwen to form a new plan to trap Osborn and his goons.
Whilst Norman and Pavitr are busy at working, Pavitr gets a message from Gwen. It’s actually a picture of Peter holding a cardboard sign that says “Norman we need to talk.” Pavitr passes his phone over to Norman and the mere image of Peter sends Norman from normal behavior to absolute lunatic in a matter of seconds. Norman, baffled the fact that Peter is still alive, commands Pavitr and Braddock to continue their work as he then heads off to command his Sinister Six to “suit up.” Osborn even decides to break out the Green Goblin attire for this special occasion. Osborn and his team leave to go get Peter, who is waiting for them atop the Brooklyn Bridge.
The story concludes with Anya and Spider-Ham taking Braddock and Pavitr over to see Norman’s ‘Caesar’s Palace’ chair. But Braddock recognizes immediately what it is, the Celtic writing on the chair translates as “Siege Perilous." Above the chair is a helmet, connected to the ceiling above which is located directly below The Web. It appeared as though Norman had been tapping into The Web’s energies using this chair. Suddenly a flash of lightning comes through the chair and standing before the Web Warriors is a female version of Thor…and she’s not happy!
My suspicion that Norman is evil in this universe was confirmed in this issue, so that's a good thing. Watching Norman unwind after catching a mere glimpse of Peter Parker made purchasing this issue worthwhile. Wow, did he come undone quickly...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I thought it was a little cheesy how simple it was for Spider-Gwen to defeat Venom three consecutive times. Venom came off as a D-list villain with his nearly laughable attacks on Peter. I'm not that much of a Venom fan, but even I think he deserves a little more respect than that. It probably could have been handled better or at the very least they could have used a different villain like Rhino or Grizzly for that portion of the plot. It certainly came off like a gratuitous use of Venom (nothing new I guess).
I had complained about the misspelling of 'Ozcorp' on the cover of issue 2, yet this cover is even more ridiculous. It features the Enforcers and Jackal, yet you don't even get a mention of them in the story. Not really sure what is going on there, but that's a little misleading to the reader.
This issue continued the momentum from the last issue, but this series has a lot to wrap up by the fifth and final installment. I'm interested enough to wonder how this mini series ends, so the fourth issue didn't totally bomb.