Edge of Spider-Geddon #3penned by writer Jason Latour and brought to life by artist Tonci Zonjic is built around one fun, endlessly perplexing, idea: what if both Peter Parker and Uncle Ben were Spider-Man? (Spider-Men? Spider-Mens? Okay, I’ve lost the plot). This issue, light and deft in its execution, but heavy in its tugging of your heart strings, sees that concept to its natural conclusion. It’s also a good, if kind of lacking, read.
First, the business of how we even got here. It’s much simpler than you might think: Peter was already Spider-Man, and on the fateful eve of his normally fatal mugging, a blood transfusion from the young spider-lad not only saved Ben’s life but also gave him spidey powers. It’s all said and done in a quick, concise and surprisingly more heartfelt fashion than one might think, and readers will appreciate that the entire issue, especially for an origin story, doesn’t focus on it but moves past these issues to focus on other things instead. Especially because moments of childlike wonder in a young Peter and a bit of bonding between the two Spider-Men (Yeah, I’m sticking with that) is more honest and rewarding anyways.
Unfortunately, those other things aren’t as fun or as solid as the core concept. Latour writes a compelling narrative, undeniably. One that really nails the complex feelings of responsibility, the weight of mortality, and the existential burden of having to explain those things to a child through the eyes of Uncle Spider-Ben. However, it’s impossible not to feel like there are too many disparate ideas here: as even still the justification of villainy in many forms, heroism, family, cultural divides (the book is split into English and Spanish) and others are all touched on in a sprinting fashion. It’s a lot and while many of the ideas are good, a single issue isn’t the right amount of time to explore as many as are introduced.
It would be far preferable to narrow in on one or two points, which would also heighten the emotional fallout at the issue’s end, rather than feeling like you’re still playing catch up by its conclusion.
Tonic Zonjic’s ever pulpy, fun, and vibrant artistic effort does its best to keep up and largely succeeds, nonetheless. I especially love the decision to dedicate one or two page runs to a single color or palette but to punctuate those pages with one offset, complimentary panel. Bright in an entirely different way, a neon yellow or purple shot in an otherwise all red page is a cool, effective touch that few like Zonjic roll out so practically.
Issues of focus taken in stride, this is a worthy entry in the ongoing Edge of Spider-Geddon saga, one that adds a certain warmth and heartfulness in spite of its flaws and one that I ultimately felt quite endeared to. I hope this duo of Spider-Mens (I couldn’t stick the landing) is around to stay.