With the first issue of Spider-Force, writer Christopher Priest and artist Paulo Siquiera (accompanied by Oren Junior, Craig Yeung, and Guru e-FX) come out swinging and don’t let up until the final page hits.
What’s it about? Marvel’s preview reads:
A SPIDER-GEDDON TIE IN! The deadliest task in all of SPIDER-GEDDON has come up and Kaine has stepped forward for what he’s sure will be a suicide mission. But he can’t do it alone and Jessica Drew, A.K.A. Spider-Woman has signed on to help, but has Kaine told her the whole truth? With Ashley Barton, from the OLD MAN LOGAN universe, and two new characters (Astro-Spider and Spider-Kid), Kaine’s team is complete and their first mission may be their last!
It’s perhaps the only Spider-Geddon tie-in as of now to highlight how tense and serious things are in the main plot where characters are dying at the hands of the fully powered Inheritors, and the entire Spider-verse seems on the edge of all-out war. Priest’s plot really leans all the way into that weighty main story to great effect, with a tightly written script that introduces or re-introduces characters we can care about sandwiched between a seeming end to their stories, torn radioactive suits on the Inheritor’s prison planet. It may end badly — it seems it will — and the journey there for all these characters feels totally worthwhile.
The entire affair, in fact, is filled with grim, occasionally funny, and entirely enthralling writing and dialogue that highlights each character’s unique voice and willingness to help the greater cause (and why) in a great way. The focus isn’t on The Inheritors, who readers know well enough now, but what the Spiders are willing to do to stop them — rolling in the newbies, Spider-Kid and Astro-Spider, in a way that works in service to the plot and their characters in equal measure. We’re reminded why we care about these heroes, why we fear The Inheritors through their eyes, and of the stakes here all in one sleek, encompassing narrative that, yes, spends a little too much time getting things into place but pays off exceedingly well.
Siquiera’s art is appropriately dynamic, textured, and multifaceted in return, too. The opening page — Kaine on his knees holding a gun covered in grit and grime, a pained expression showing from beneath his torn mask with narration reading “You people are all dead.” And “I killed you.” — tells you all you need to know about the direction the entire issue will take: dark and grim but also human and relatable. And, it does so effectively and without misfocused flair. Watching the Spiders dodge between laser blasts, vampires melt in radioactive waste, and all the build up to these things too, rarely feels so wholly realized. The layouts aren’t great, but everything on them feels simple, kinetic, and real to a good effect.
All in all, while this feels very much like a work-over to a heavy hitting punch that will land with Force‘s second issue, it’s an entirely welcome and well done one. Getting things into place hardly ever feels this important or tightly scripted, or looks as good doing it. A fantastic Spider-Geddon tie in and a pretty fantastic book on its own, too.