This week it’s the start of “Spiderverse” in Amazing Spider-Man, and the end of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained!
Amazing Spider-Man #9 (Marvel Comics)
It’s here, the event that Dan Slott has been building to since he first brought Peter Parker back to the Marvel Universe in April: “Spider-Verse”: the Spider-Man event to end all Spider-Man events. After months of build up, including an Edge of Spider-Verse prelude miniseries and two special issues of Superior Spider-Man, the main event is finally here with Amazing Spider-Man #9. So, how does it stack up?
Pretty good. Slott does a great job of not wasting any time when it comes to getting the army of Spider-Men together. In fact, I think he might’ve been better off holding off on having the 616 Spider-Man meet up with his alternate universe counterparts for an issue. There’s a lot packed into this oversized issue, and while it’s all good, it could use some room to breathe. As awesome as it is to see all these different takes on Spider-Man, it left me wanting just a little more time with them.
The opening finds Spider-Man and Silk patrolling New York City, where they come across some of Otto Octavius’ former henchmen trying to rob a bank. As Spidey and Silk start to take out the robbers, they’re suddenly joined by the alternate Spider-Men that we’ve met before in Superior Spider-Man and Edge of Spider-Verse. They quickly catch Spidey up to speed, and Peter’s reactions to the different versions of him are actually pretty cool.
Slott clearly has a lot of fun letting his Spider-Geek flag fly, and it especially shows in the reactions that characters like Scarlet Spider have when they see Gwen Stacy running around with Spider-Powers. Amazingly, Slott also dives into the back story of Morlun and his family of “totem hunters”, and achieves the impossible: he makes me actually interested in them. Granted, I still don’t know exactly what they are (psychic vampires? Spider power vampires?), but the fact that Slott has even bothered to try and explain Morlun and flesh him out is commendable.
Olivier Coipel handles the art duties here, and while he hasn’t drawn Spidey before, he’s a perfect fit for the book. Coipel’s art is appropriately dynamic and full of tons of awesome action scenes, and is also pretty creepy when Morlun and his family get a hold of the unlucky Spider-Men who crosses their paths. My only concern is if Coipel can handle the schedule of this book. It would really suck to have a fill in artist halfway through the event.
So far, “Spider-Verse” is off to a really good start. While it does go a little too fast, there’s a ton of awesome moments here for Spider-Man fans, and it seems like we may actually be getting a Spider-Man story that can stand up with some of the classics. While the premise of “every Spider-Man ever” is a pretty big one for an event (especially a Marvel one), it’s hard to read Amazing Spider-Man #9 and not have a smile on your face after finishing it.
Superman Unchained #9 (DC Comics)
The long-awaited finale to Superman Unchained is here, and Scott Snyder and Jim Lee certainly pull out all the stops for it. Even though the delays have hurt the story, the final issue of Unchained is still plenty entertaining, and features some pretty cool moments for the Man of Steel.
Picking up after the events of last issue, this issue finds Superman racing off into space to prevent Wraith and his army of alien invaders from invading the planet. Snyder’s script is pretty straightforward in the action department, but where he really shines is in the characterizations of Superman and Lex Luthor. It’s hard not to get pumped up when Superman explains why he’s risking everything to save Earth, or to grin a little when Lex starts his latest monologue on why he hates Superman.
On the art side of things, Jim Lee’s pencils continue to be phenomenal, and well worth the wait. If this was any other artist I’d be more inclined to comment on how slow they were, but with Jim Lee, I give him a pass. There’s really not a bad page here from Lee, and the space battle between Superman and Wraith is pretty awesome, if over too quickly.
Superman Unchained, while heavily delayed, turned out being one of the best Superman titles since the New 52 relaunch. Of course, when you have talent like Scott Snyder and Jim Lee behind it, that’s not a huge surprise. While it’s a bummer that this series is ending, I can’t blame DC for wanting to go out on a high note. Plus I’d hate to be the team to follow in Snyder and Lee’s shoes.