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 #1, Spider-Gwen utilized a combination of her Ozcorp employee status and Spider-powers to gain access to the Ozcorp Special Projects laboratories. Much to her surprise she found Spider-Ham within those labs, however, much to her dismay she also found Mr. Norman Osborn!
This issue picks up right where the last Spider-Verse #1 left off, with Gwen Stacy being confronted by Norman Osborn whilst Spider-Ham is slowly regaining consciousness. Ozcorp security soon rushes in causing Gwen to make a quick decision and leave with Spider-Ham. As Gwen departs, Norman empathizes with her current mindset and (surprisely) comes off as caring individual.
As Gwen and Porker regroup, they both acknowledge the weird familiarity they have with each other although neither knows the origin of that feeling. Suddenly, Gwen and Porker are confronted by three other Spider-people: Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon), Spider-UK (Billy Braddock) and Spider-Man India (Pavitr Prabhaka). The trio was able to track Gwen and Spider-Ham with the same device that enabled Pavitr to find Braddock and Anya. The group then gathers at Pavitr’s pad in Chinatown where they share their individual histories with each other. Pavitr’s Spider-People-Tracking-Radar then begins beeping as Pavitr exclaims, “it’s him!”
The story then shifts to a dockside warehouse where Carnage and Tombstone are torturing a hostage (the presumption at this point is that Pavitr was tracking Carnage). The Spider-team (or perhaps more appropriately the Web Warriors) interrupt Carnage and Tombstone but their inability to function as a cohesive unit leaves them vulnerable to the villains’ attack.
Luckily, Spider-Man Noir (the Spider-Person Pavitr was actually refering to from his radar signal) joins the group and helps them dismantle Carnage with a sonic gun (Noir had been tracking the two villains). Noir acts nonplussed when Pavitr admits to tracking him, then Noir explains that he was able to evade Pavitr’s tracking because he snuck into his Chinatown apartment and stole the necessary equipment needed to build a device that would mask his resonance signal. The batteries had run out in Noir's device, thus Pavitr could track him.
Suddenly they’re ambushed by a very sinister group of six people (Kraven, Vulture, Doc Ock, Scorpion, Electro and Sandman)…a Sinister Six?!
The question of Norman's motives deepen once again as he appears to show genuine altruistic emotions toward another human being. He refers to Gwen as "that poor girl" and stops one of his security guards from shooting her. And this isn't that over-the-top maniacal Osborn feigning compassion, between the art and the script in this story he's portrayed with true compassion. Could he really be this nice? I'm not buying it...but I guess we'll see.
Spider-Ham refers to a theory proposed by Norman that all the Spider-heroes are connected in some way, I hope this theme is explored further, because that has some promise as well.
Spider-Man Noir makes his first appearance of the series and he appears more competent than the other five combined. That actually got a bit boring as he clearly has the answer to everything...I feel like this group actually works better chock full o' flaws. For instance, their inability to fight together as a team actually has me rooting for them to get it figured out, they're sort of a team of underdogs...I like that.
And the Sinister Six, of course, there's got to a be a Sinister Six! I'm okay with yet another incarnation of the Sinister Six, but this crew better bring something of value to the next issue otherwise I'm calling foul on the fraudulent use of the iconic Sinister Six!
One last thing, it actually bugs me a little bit. Throughout the first two issues, Ozcorp is consistently spelled with a 'Z'. However, on the cover of this book it's spelled with an 'S'. For some reason that bothers me, its the little things in life...
I'm going 3 webs because this issue didn't crush my confidence in this mini series, but it didn't help it either.