During the Necessary Evil story, Spider-Man 2099 got stuck in present day and the Superior Spider-Man was lost in a temporal implosion for around 24 hours. Max Modell and the Horizon Gang used some clever tech to retrieve Spider-Man from the timeline.
Last time we discovered that during those "24 hours", Otto had been sent to 2099 and when he tried to return to his own time he only succeeded in visiting alternate universes. The bad news was that each of those universes featured a Spider-Man that had been slain by the same monster. The good news was that Otto decided to assemble a team of alternate Spiders to slay their hunter.
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Ellie Pyle|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
This instalment starts on Earth-2818, where we find a Spider-Man on the run from the Spider hunter (who we later find out is called Karn). Spidey is quipping as he flees but a thrown train carriage is enough to slow him and enable Karn to stab him with his lance. This was apparently part of Spider-Man's plan though, as his back opens up to reveal a sonic cannon, the blast from which sends Karn flying. Yup! The Spidey from this Earth is a cyborg and was warned of the Hunter by the Superior Spider-Man and his army, who arrive on the scene to attack Karn. Otto has upgraded his metallic arms so they shoot a beam which appears to subdue Karn. Spider-Girl and "Assassin" Spider-Man (from Superior Spider-Man #32 story 2 are keen to kill their hunter, to the shock of the other Spiders, but Otto wants answers first. Karn reveals there are others from his family like him and that he is playing possum! The Spiders throw everything they have at him, but Karn is just too strong.
Suddenly two more hunters (Brix and Bora - brother and sister to Karn) turn up, to the displeasure of Karn who states this is his hunt. The siblings bickering allow Spider-Monkey to use the Hunters' weapons against them, incapacitating them enough to allow the Spider a window to escape.
Back at Otto's 2099 temporary base and the Superior Spider-Man replaces the arm that Cyber-Spidey lost in their clash with Karn before leaving to think out his next plan. During a conversation with Holo-Anna, we discover that Otto will not flee and return to his home timeline even though he has more chance of survival on his own. No, he fears should he run without winning this battle, Karn and his siblings may follow and the real Anna Marie could get hurt.
Superior Spider-Man returns to his army and sets them all menial tasks to monitor for signs of the hunters whist he talks to Spider-Girl and the assassin. The three remaining Spiders discuss how they will deal with the hunters. They are going to slay them, whether the others like it or not.
Whenever I review a comic, especially one that is part of an arc, I ask myself two questions. 1) Does this story belong in this comic? 2) Does this issue add to the ongoing story? Well the first one is easy, this is an untold tale from Otto's time in Peter Parker's body so this is definitely the comic where it belongs. As for the second one, well we have a new addition to team Spider and two new additions to team Hunter, so yes the story is continued suitably. However, this story is a little drawn out for those additions. Sure, we get a brand new potentially cool character in Cyber-Spidey but as such it'd be nice to get a bit of backstory to this Spider-Man, just like we did with Assassin Spider-Man in Superior Spider-Man #32 story 2 and all the other Spiders who have already featured in other comics. Their stories are established, we don't get that with Cyber-Spidey, we don't get to find anything out about him at all. There are 8 pages of Karn chasing Cyber-Spidey, then getting unsuccessfully ambushed by team Spider without a single reason given as to why he's a cyborg or any hint of his history. So in many ways this was wasted opportunity. The only other things these pages do is reinforce that Karn is pretty tough and that Assassin Spider-Man and Spider-Girl are willing to kill (both facts we kinda already knew). Therefore eight pages of a great fight, with some fabulous art, but not much else story wise.
The introduction of Brix and Bora were much more fulfilling. Within four pages we know there's more hunters seeking spiders, that they are from the same family and that Karn has been made an outcast. As to what Karn has done wrong to merit his banishment is currently unclear – perhaps its sibling rivalry as to who gets to eat the most Spiders!
The rest of the story serves to reinforce what we already know. Firstly, that Otto cares deeply for Anna Marie. He implicitly tells Holo-Anna that he will not flee back to his own time to avoid the hunters, even though remaining with a groups of Spiders makes him more at risk to be targetted, just in case Anna Marie gets caught up in any battle. This is nicely done, answering the questions a few readers may have had as to why Otto is forming the army and fighting on the front lines instead of leaving his minions to do his work for him. Otto's love for Anna Marie is changing him and this is a great bit of character development. However, the second thing the latter part of the story reinforces is that some Spiders (Superior, Girl and Assassin – but apparently not Noir) are willing to kill, and maybe even kill Spiders to get the job done. We know! The whole reason Otto has collected these Spiders is because they are different to Peter Parker. Enough with keep telling us already!
Lastly, and as mentioned above, the art is this comic is great. Marvellous depictions of motion in the battle scenes and some lovely detailing later on.
Whilst not as good as part 1 due to some wasted opportunities and extreme reinforcement, a good conclusion. Well, in as much as the story is concluded - it will be continued in Spider-Verse.
Whilst I enjoyed this two parter, as no doubt many fans of Otto did especially whilst Peter is stuttering a little in his title, it will become a pretty pointless unless this team plays a significant role in Spider-Verse. Time will tell.