Graphic Novels Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Edge of Spider-Verse/Spider-Verse

Amazing Spider-Man: Spider Verse

Amazing Spider-Man: Spider Verse - Credit: Archant

Every Spider-Man ever... in a desperate, reality-spanning fight for survival.

Edge of Spider-Verse

Edge of Spider-Verse - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Across the multiverse, different realities have given birth to their own versions of the Amazing Spider-Man, either by quirks of fate or design, leading to a myriad alternatives of our familiar Peter Parker.

In one reality, Pete’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy has assumed the mantle, escaping the tragic death she met at the hands of the Green Goblin on our Earth. In another, Parker was transformed into a monstrous spider-creature with cannibalistic tendencies. A different Spider-Man was called into life in the midst of the Great Depression, and yet one more wore a robotic suit to battle evil as Spid/r.

The stories of these Spider-Men and Woman, and more besides, are told in these pages, setting events in motion prior to the biggest threat ever faced by the multiverse’s many spider-avatars, as revealed in the epic Spider-Verse event.

For there is a great power lurking within the bodies of these arachnid-altered individuals, whether they are the porcine Spider-Ham, the Otherworld champion Spider-UK, the futuristic Spider-Man of 2099, Ultimate hero Miles Morales, or the mind of Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker’s body, the self-declared Superior Spider-Man.

This power serves as a food source for a family of dimension hopping psychopaths known as the Inheritors immensely strong, near immortal beings who simply slip their minds into an endless array of clone bodies if ever terminally threatened.

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From their dictatorship on another parallel Earth, they have hunted down and exterminated hundreds of Spiders across the realities, sucking out and consuming the essential power locked within them for their own twisted pleasure.

But now the Spider-Men and Women are fighting back, driven by a need not only to escape their fate at the hands of the Inheritors but to stop their reign of bloodshed forever.

When writer Dan Slott mooted the idea of a storyline featuring “every Spider-Man ever” it had all the potential to be a complete disaster, but it’s tantamount to his creative skill, and that of fellow contributors like Peter David, that the Spider-Verse event has proved to be a phenomenal success, bringing a new depth and scope to the Spider-Man legend while also proving why our own version of Peter Parker is the best there is.

But not content merely to produce a narrative which manages to tell an engrossing and enlightening tale of multiple Spideys, Marvel has also used the event to introduce a wealth of fascinating characters who have captured readers’ imaginations. From these pages come titles featuring Silk, aka Cindy Moon, the web-weaver bitten by the same radioactive spider as our Peter, and the so-called “Spider-Gwen”, the previously mentioned Ms Stacy, now wielding spider powers of her own in a slightly different world to that which we know.

A remarkable achievement on all levels, and a landmark story for Spider-Man which celebrates everything about the character which has made him so endearing over the decades. Highly recommended.