Graphic Novel Review: Spider-Man Worldwide: Scorpio Rising

Spider-Man Worldwide: Scorpio Rising

Spider-Man Worldwide: Scorpio Rising - Credit: Archant

The final showdown between the Amazing Spider-Man and The Zodiac takes the webbed-wonder all across Europe. Scorpio puts his master plan into action and if he succeeds there’s no way Spider-Man or anyone else can stop him! Written by Dan Slott, with art by Guiseppi Camuncoli.

(Panini Books)

Transforming the New York-based, down-at-luck webslinger into a global operative of SHIELD who just happens to also run his own multinational company should not have worked, but as Spidey says in this volume, strip away all of that and you’re left with an intrinsic value at the heart of everything Peter Parker does: his sense of responsibility.

Parker isn’t the sort of person who will turn a blind eye, who doesn’t offer a second chance, and who ignores crises as someone else’s problem. Instead, he is driven by his desire to respond to whatever challenges the world throws at him, whether that’s a secret cabal of supervillains based on the signs of the Zodiac, or the threat of his old foe Mr Negative, now relocated to Shanghai and intent on spreading his particular blend of narcotic corruption throughout China…

Of course, sometimes that sense of responsibility reflects itself in somewhat extreme ways, as seen in this volume’s stand-out sequence, a Bond-esque freefall drop from space in a suit whose technology and defences may not be up to the task. The new gadgets and equipment at Spidey’s disposal may take some getting used to – the Arachno-Rocket anyone? – but if you’re the CEO of a pioneering scientific corporation with all of this tech at your fingerprints then why wouldn’t you get some practical use out of it?

The international flavour of this series works remarkably well, offering a change of scenery every few issues and bringing with it a new wave of characters and situations, something you rarely found in the NY-grounded era.

But that’s not to say that many of the old supporting cast don’t get a look-in, and there are some interesting sequences here featuring the likes of Harry Osborn, Liz Allan, Anna Maria Marconi and Otto Octavius, the latter’s mind now trapped within the clunky frame of the Living Robot following the events of the Superior Spider-Man series.

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Parker still faces the same problems juggling his costumed and civilian identities, albeit on a somewhat different scale than seen in the past, and his love life is as complicated as ever, so while some things have changed, others remain very much the same.

Writer Dan Slott has been at the helm of Spidey’s comic book adventures for around eight years now, and he shows no signs of tiring or running out of ideas. Whether the Worldwide era is here to stay isn’t worth worrying about when the quality and scale of the current series is just so exceptionally high, and after decades of repetitive story-telling which has rarely seen any substantial shifts in the wall-crawler’s status quo, let’s hope things continue to evolve.