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 #4, the Web Warriors had discovered Norman Osborn’s Siege Perilous chair (which gave him access to the energy field contained within The Web). Unfortunately for them that was not their biggest problem…the group was confronted by a Lady-Thor, under the direction of Dr. Doom, who was determined to make this rag-tag group of web-slingers pay for disturbing the energy field!
Norman Osborn, aboard his trusty Goblin Glider and flanked by his goons, confronts Peter atop the Brooklyn Bridge. Norman demands to know how Peter is alive after he had “killed him with his own bare hands.” Peter explains that it was his clone that Osborn had killed and then the powerless Parker launches an attack on Osborn. Soon after, Peter is web-swinging through the city with Osborn hot on his trail. Eventually Norman snares his target in manner awfully reminiscient of Amazing Spider-Man #39.
Back at Ozcorp, the Web Warriors, under attack from the lady Thor, receive some much needed help from Gwen Stacy. The team struggles to contain lady Thor and eventually she sends Spider-Ham flying through walls after she smacks him with her hammer. Porker ends up in Electro’s quarters, a surprised Max Dillon soon joins the melee (he was tasked with holding down the fort whilst Norman fought Peter). Gwen convinces Electro to destroy Osborn’s chair, so he blasts it with electricity. This sends the Siege Perilous surging into a feeback loop causing a massive explosion that levels the Ozcorp building.
Norman sees the explosion on his way back to the building and he's surprisingly pleased with the results. Norman pontificates that his plan worked, the six Spider-Peoples’ proximity to The Web focused and boosted the fractured energy field’s powers, allowing Norman to tap into its energy. He then sits down in the chair and puts on the helmet.
Meanwhile Spider-Ham sees Peter Parker being escorted by Osborn’s security guards and he immediately intervenes and rescues Parker. The two of them work together using the lady Thor’s hand to mess with the Seige Perilous whilst Norman was plugged in. This causes the macine to surge, basically turning Norman’s brain into mush.
Parker and Porker weren’t free yet because Kraven and the remaining sinister goons had the two heroes surrounded. Luckily, the Web Warriors, slowly returning to consciousness, outwit the villains convincing them that they know how to use Norman’s machine to destroy them. The villains quickly surrender.
The story ends with the Web Warriors decidng to work together as a team to protect the innocent people of this universe…and, like that, the Web Warriors are officially born!
On the positive side, I actually like the redesign of the Green Goblin costume. It was even more appreciable to see the Sinister Six riding Goblin Gliders...that's certainly something you don't see everyday. There was also a good bit of humor in this issue as well. Spider-Ham's power of being able to get hit really hard but not get hurt was actually clever and funny, no complaints there.
My main complaint was the rather frenetic pace of the story's conclusion. Once Norman returned to Ozcorp after snaring Parker, things started to fall apart. I'll buy the notion that his plan worked (using the proximity of all the Spider-heroes to boost The Web's power), even though that was a little bit of a flaky assumption. But Spider-Ham instantly giving up his loyalty to Osborn in order to save Peter, without any worthwhile reason, came off as plot-device 101. Moreover, there's no reason to think Spider-Ham could defeat two armed guards by himself; not with the way his fighting skills were depicted throughout this arc. Yet two panels later, he's with a freed Peter Parker and they're destroying Osborn's energy-tapping apparatus. I had to re-read that sequence a few times because I thought I was missing a page from the book.
And while we are on that subject, how did they know that lady-Thor's hand would destroy Norman's Siege Perilous chair? There was no build to that relatively critical plot point, how are we supposed to accept that as a reader?
Also, you could not come off more impotent as Sinister Six group than this story's incarnation. Seriously?!? They surrender without even a little fight? They simply give up because they're scared of the Web Warriors? That did not jive with the Sinister Six from issues 2 and 3, who fought the Web Warriors over a dinner invitation.
I'm not sure I buy the notion that because Osborn was exposed publicly as a villain, there would be no one else to protect the city now that he's gone. Especially since that was not addressed as an aspect of this universe at any point prior in the story. In fact, it appeared as though there were people questioning Osborn's candor, Betty Brant comes to mind from the first issue of this series. Yet that is the whole reason the Web Warriors decide to unite. It came off really forced. I would think a more logical reason for them to work together would be that they all share a similar problem (displacement from their home world) and they all would need to work together to figure out how to get back home...but that wasn't even discussed.
Which brings me to my last point. The heroes had seemingly given up on their quest to find out how/why they ended up on this world. They appear to have accepted the notion that they aren't going to be leaving anytime soon. Some acknowledgement of that would have been appreciated, especially since the first four books of this series focused on that theme.
This one ended too abruptly to warrant higher than 2.5 webs. Between the Sinister Six simply rolling over and the rather hasty decision to form a new heroic team, the ending felt fairly rushed. It's pretty clear this series was really meant to be a prelude to the characters' upcoming team book. Not quite what I was hoping for out of this one.
Til next time, keep on Goblin!