THIS REVIEW OF ‘SPIDER-GEDDON’ #1 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.

Spider-Geddon #1

Cover to ‘Spider-Geddon’ #1. Art by Jorge Molina/Marvel

by Clyde Hall. The latest follow-up to the 2014 Spider-Verse storyline may give readers flashbacks to their favorite Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. An intrepid group of characters with varying skill sets and abilities embarks on a quest, the shared goal barely enough to keep dissimilar outlooks on how they should proceed restrained.

Rogue: We should check for traps. It’s the Orc Lord, he’ll have traps. Fighter: Bah, I sneer at traps! Mage: Well, I bleed at traps, so—. Fighter: We’re following royal directives, and we haven’t time to pick locks or disarm snares that can’t hurt me anyway. Cleric: Maybe we should try talking firs—. (Door is smashed in; eldritch bolts begin to lance forward and felinoid warriors charge!) Fighter: …oh, crumbs… Rogue: Hiding in shadows. Prepping back attack… because no one ever listens to the thief

Christos Gage reminds us what we liked about the previous Spider-Verse narrative, and the characters we’ve seen sparingly (or not) since. There’s familiarity and comfort being reacquainted with old friends. And while there are additional characters this go-around and the situation has evolved, it’s very much a Round 2 endeavor. A continuation after a brief intermission, wherein animated shows and games and other comics have steadily promoted multiple Spider-People.

Many of those vehicles for the Spider-Verse aftermath have been excellent. They’ve fleshed out intriguing concepts and variations introduced in Round 1. Gage’s task will be making Spider-Geddon distinctive on its own without the novelty of concept that made Spider-Verse a success. The company temptation is always present, when an event turns lucrative, to propagate it into another and another, warranted or not. The first issue of Spider-Geddon remains on fairly safe footing.

Detecting that containment tech imprisoning the nefarious Inheritors at the conclusion of Spider-Verse is being accessed without authorization, a multi-reality Spider-Team is sent to shut it down before it gives the Big Bads a chance to use it as an escape route. The Superior Octopus, committed to his role of guardian instead of felon, has set about studying the Inheritor tech. He plans to adapt it, as he did the cloning processes discovered by others, for his own egotistical but altruistic purposes. Apparently, becoming a guardian of society exempts you from copyrights and intellectual property theft. Not that the former Doctor Octopus would care about all that. The Spider-Crowd storms forward to confront him and finds that he has everything under control. Until he doesn’t.

The profiling of Doc Ock’s new approach in keeping the peace is a high point here, and his battle against Count Nefaria proves he’s learned something about sarcasm and withering banter from his clashes with Peter Parker. His proof of superiority lies in fighting smarter, not harder, than those silly heroes who’ve come before. Ask him, he’ll monologue about it. Which works for this helpful but ever-vain Octavius. It’s what made us love to see him fail as a crook. It also makes us long for him to fail as a hero. Gage illustrates why we should be careful, wishing like that.

The Spider-People brought together for the opening mission are a decent and diversified blend, though some receive little panel time. The narrative flows smoothly, its brevity in exposition effective, with a good deal of action throughout. Jorge Molina’s style is ideal for showing us all those glorious Spider-uniform variants, and for speeding our story along. Quick scene cuts and panel layouts reflect the clipped pace, right up to the point our heroes hit a brick wall. Then Molina slows, detailing the painful ramifications of that resulting collision.

Whether it’s making Molina’s Spider-fashions ready for the next available mode of Sony’s PS4 game, or providing foreboding shades as our team falters, colorist David Curiel is squarely on-point. The artist-colorist collaboration here sings, and it’s two-part euphony. Letterer Travis Lanham looks to be having a lot of fun this issue. The sound effects of webbing, impacts, gunfire, and explosions are his playthings, but he slips in unexpected joys as well. I want his Superior Octopus font as a cover logo.

Events that cross different titles, or with their own books as additional chapters, have become the bane of many readers. These affairs often interrupt ongoing storylines. Issues exclusive to the event mean additional cost. The scope of Spider-Geddon appears reserved in this respect, but some still suffer from Yet Another Event-itis. When afflicted, the reader comes in with elevated expectations before reading a single panel. If Spider-Verse was a good investment in time and resources for you, Spider-Geddon is more of what you enjoy. Judging by the first issue, if you liked Superior Spider-Man, you’ll have even more to appreciate. New Spider-Hero variations are bound to come into play. If you’re looking for all-new revelations and concepts rivaling the newness of the first series, though, you may be disappointed.

Marvel’s timing in the continuation of the Spider-Verse storyline is shrewd. Wider audiences will soon be experiencing the ‘Verse on the big screen; having new titles centered on it, along with the original back issues, caters to anticipated interest. For those who adore the recent Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PS4, familiar characters in new adventures aren’t a bad gamble, either, especially from one of the game’s co-writers. Spider-Geddon #1 has the requisite action and fun, and yes, even a few casualties, to make us want more. More Spider-variations, more payback for Inheritors, more superior anti-heroes snacking on humble pie. More of this artwork. Like a big, visually exciting summer blockbuster, it gets your attention. Holding it by keeping the plotline fresh is going to be predominantly the responsibility of Christos Gage.

Marvel/3.99

Written by Christos Gage.

Art by Jorge Molina.

Colors by David Curiel.

Letters by VC’s Travis Lanham.

7.5 out of 10

 

Check out this three-page preview of ‘Spider-Geddon’ #1, courtesy of Marvel!
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