This review contains minor spoilers.
Aaron Kuder, with artistic assistance from Will Robson, Craig Yeung and Andres Mossa, offers up the most complex (and most likely important) issue of Edge of Spider-Geddon here with the series’ fourth issue. So important, that it probably should’ve been given two issues to play out because, despite its inherent strengths, it feels like a sporadic, overwhelming deluge.
What’s it all about? First, let’s get the basic facts out of the way: Norman Osborn is an evil, six-armed, all cool, and super terrifying, Spider-Man in this reality (or Spid-Norman) possessing a stone capable of seeing into the various Spider realities. AND —
— His son, the surprisingly capable Harry Osborn, plays the role of the would-be Goblin, donning what he and Peter refer to as a “Kobold” suit to fight, and hopefully stop, his crazed, villainous father.
That about sums it up, or is at least enough information for an accurate synopsis. Which is to say, it’s a lot of ground to cover. The book’s expectation that you can keep up with all this information, let alone comprehend it, on a first read is a lofty one.
Luckily, with what little room he has to work with, Kuder writes and draws a surprisingly effective and engrossing story anyway. One which gets across these important and surprisingly fun main beats, leaves room for emotional resonance, and delivers some super-powered punches and choreography to boot.
Smartly weaved on three levels between a grounding letter penned by this universe’s Peter Parker, a visual language which moves the story forward with a competent, sleek blend of sci-fi spy artistic leanings, and a stark but snappy dialogue shared between a father and son at wit’s end — the narrative is kept afloat, if just barely, and what could be the most important twist of the saga yet (no major spoilers here!) is delivered capably intact.
Particularly breathtaking is the full page spread dedicated to Norman and Harry — fully suited up and engaged in classic superhero combat, Harry sends a laser beam flying Norman’s way while the elder Osborn’s six spider arms wrap around it. Silly, yes, but also kinetic and stylish in that classic Spidey way.
Ultimately, Edge of Spider-Geddon #4 is a lot. Too much, but it’s a cool, sleek attempt at delivering something different. On those grounds? It’s a success. A mixed one, but one nonetheless, and the potential ramifications of its ending could be…well, huge. I’m very much looking forward to where we go from here and I think the right amount of focus could really tie all these interesting disparate threads together for one of the best Spidey stories yet.