The lead up Spider-Geddon’s first full issue has been a slow burn full of sensational-Spidey successes, seriously missed opportunities, and a whole lot of positioning all in the name of delivering a worthy sequel to Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse — which I consider one of the best, and most fun, Spidey stories of all time. Now, with the first issue in (digital) hand, was it worth the wait?
Christos Gage, Jorge Molina, and David Curiel have delivered a dynamic, fun, and tense first issue that raises the spider-stakes while keeping things from tipping into unbelievable or outlandish territory too quickly in a refreshing introduction to a story that feels like it has real places to go and, for now, discards the clumsiness of the prequel issues that led us here.
Gage’s dialogue is crisp, varied and poppy even in this issue’s darkest or tensest moments — something difficult to do when you have so many characters playing off each other. Each Spider feels unique, important, and contrast well to both each other and their vampiric foes. Especially well written is that ever-authoritative and smartly snotty Superior Octopus who himself feels like a minor villain even on our hero’s side to a smart effect – I love to hate him and an early bit indicating the thin line he walks between hero and villain in every interaction he has illustrates compelling turns this story may take yet.
It remains to be seen whether Gage can maintain this uniqueness without jumping the shark however as techno-speak and plotting can be a little overwhelming, and the previous Superior Octopus issue tilted quickly into typical comic book unbelievability. But, for the most part, here things feel relative, reflexive, and rational in an earned and just plain fun way, playing well off the story’s darker elements as the Inheritors are re-introduced properly.
Molina and Curiel’s efforts feel similarly spirited and vital. Where prequel stories didn’t allow the full potential of Molina’s spider-drawing abilities to shine, this one very much does — not only do each spider’s costumes carry a unique energy but so, too, do their physiques and presences, introducing a visual storytelling element and characterization that compliments Gage’s narrative work well. Occasionally, pages feel severely crowded and overwhelming – your eyes will need a minute to process all that’s happening here – but that’s the nature of a large team book such as this and Curiel’s lively colors and character-specific palettes help keep things mostly digestible so this great story can proceed.
So yes, this feels worth the wait. It really, truly does. It doesn’t feel perfect, no, but we’re also looking down the barrel of a story burdened not only by all the prequel issues leading into it (which as of now are still waiting to be touched on, a slight disappointment) but also the story preceding it and that’s a tough act to follow until things can be judged as a whole a far spider-sling from now. As a singular issue, all elements considered, it’s a success. That’s all an introductory issue such as this can be asked to do.