Dual Review: Spider Woman and Scarlet Spiders (Spider Verse Event Tie ins)
By: Christopher Johnson
To begin we should ask the question, what is “Spider Verse”. The premise of this event is you have this family called “The Inheritors” . They are vampire like in which they feed of the life energy of anyone with spider powers. It seems there goal is to kill every spider man in every reality (It seems Marvel just created random realities just to make this event.) I will be reviewing the only books I have read in this event. which are two tie ins; Spider Woman and Scarlet Spiders. I will tell you what I think worked and did not work in both and explain if I feel this books work as tie ins and what makes a good tie in.
Starting with Spider Woman issue 1: It was written by Dennis Hopeless and the art was done by Greg Land. The story for this issue is that the inheritors really want to capture a spider character known as Silk. Silk was recently discovered to have been bitten by the same spider that Peter Parker was bitten by but had been in hiding all these years until just recently. Now 2 of the inheritors known as Brix and Bora are chasing Silk and Spider Woman’s mission is to protect her. The problem with this is that we are thrown into the desert with Silk, Spider Woman and a Spider-man from the 1930’s. There is no clear reason as to why they are in the desert and when they arrive in a nearby city Spider Woman just walks away from Silk leaving her in the care of a Spider Man who apparently didn’t understand to keep an eye on Silk. They try to save an old lady but that just attracts the inheritors. Then Spider Woman returns and they get into a large fight and the 1930’s Spider-man gets fatally injured then they teleport to the his time period to heal him but Spider-man returns assigns two new people to watch Silk and sends Jessica Drew(Spider Woman) on a new mission but Silk runs away to prove her worth. I felt the character interaction between Silk and Jessica was really good as was the humor but I have never been a fan of Greg Land’s art and I felt there really wasn’t much of a plot.
Continuing with Issue 2, We now have Jessica in the home of the inheritors with a mission that is never fully described or why she was needed. Once again there doesn’t seem to be a defined purpose but the writing once again is spot on. We quickly learn of this world’s Jessica Drew who is known as Miss Jess, who is apparently well liked for whatever reason as people randomly give Jessica Drew gifts and call her Miss Jess. We also see a seen of this boy making what appears to be a clock and tries giving it to Miss Jess and we see how mean she is. which is a stark contrast to Jessica. Suddenly she is kidnapped and taken to this pirate captain who talks about their deal that she knows nothing about. Then the story shifts over to Silk who is running through different dimensions running from Brix and Bora but they corner her. They then open a portal to their home world in which Silk slides under their feet and escapes into it. By this time Jessica Drew has sneaked into the big palace and is doing so spy work to learn more about the Miss Jess but then Silk arrives and she thinks Miss Jess was Jessica so she sends guards to capture her then Jessica comes in and punches Miss Jess and gives Silk her teleporter and sends Silk away to save her life. The issue ends with Silk going into a world devastated by nuclear war in which the inheritors can not chase her and with Spider Woman giving the pirate’s a chest containing miss Jess and enters the palace pretending to be miss Jess and we quickly learn miss Jess is dating one of the inheritors named Morlun who kisses Jessica Drew thinking she is Miss Jess. The positives and negatives in this issue mirror that of the first. No real plot but what we have is written very well and the humor is spot on but once again the art is not that good.
Finally, the not so epic conclusion. the first half of this issue is spent entirely on Morlun and Jessica Drew. He keeps trying things Miss Jess likes that Jessica doesn’t like such as dancing and shrimp but yet he doesn’t realize it isn’t her. I think its because of her pheromones but it isn’t really shown her using them, AND SUDDENLY PLOT!!!! Jessica meets this guy named Master Weaver who has gigantic metal spider legs and he gives Jessica a scroll that she needs to give to the main Spider Man but she has a broken teleporter that is somehow able to teleport the scroll to Spider-man. Then it suddenly cuts to Jessica on a speed boat cruising to the pirate ship. We are told that her cover was blown and she accomplished her mission. To me this was a major misstep. How was she discovered and what was her mission? I mean it is good to know she accomplished her mission but we never knew what that was. Then she encounters Pirate captain Jess and punches her in the face. Then Spider Gwen and Silk arrive and then we see “Continued in the Amazing Spider Man #13”. This made the issue the worst in the series for me. As there is no complete ending and they force you to buy an issue of a different book just to see how it ends. Overall this book doesn’t work as a tie in. There is never a defined plot and there is no concrete ending. A tie in should of course be impacted by the event but it should not be interfered with the event. It should be its very own story that you known what the purpose is and can see how it ends at the end of the series.
Next up I would like to discuss my thoughts about the “Scarlet Spiders” tie in series. This series is written by Mike Costa and the art is done by Paco Diaz. The series revolves around three scarlet spiders from different universes. The Ultimate universe version of Black Widow named Jessica Drew(Not the same as the one from the “Spider Woman” book), A Scarlet Spider from some random reality by the name Ben Reilly(Not the same as the Ben Reilly from the main universe) and Kaine Parker, the current Scarlet Spider form the main universe. Their goal is to go into this clone city and defeat the inheritor known as Jennix. The first issues was spent with the team wondering around the city trying to sneak into the facility to find Jennix. The humor was alright but at time I found Ben Reilly to be a bit overwhelming in character and Kaine seemed at have been toned down from his other appearances. I guess the writing was alright the interactions really wasn’t my cup of tea but I gotta say the art was interesting. It was drawn in a very cartoon style way which was good at times and bad at times.
Issue 2 starts off with them meeting the human torch of this universe. He fights with Kaine and Ben as Black Widow sneaks away to sneak around in the air vents to see what she can find. Ben and Kaine end up winning and they venture further into the facility. They end up finding this very large room full of clones of the inheritors that they can use to switch bodies and keep surviving then this scientist they found leads them to this secret room full of failed experiments but in that room they find Jennix who had followed them. He kills the scientist and the issue ends with a fight starting between Kaine, Ben and Jennix with Black Widow coming onto their position. I found this to be the best issue of the three. It really showed that Paco is at his best when there is actions scenes with fire. It really fits his style but it was still shaky at some parts. I also thought the writing was much better then the first issue. As with the first issue the plot was very defined. You knew what the mission was and it never suddenly changed.
The epic conclusion in issue 3 is entirely a long battle and every time they thought they had beaten Jennix he would just send his mind into a clone and had a fresh new body. We also find Black Widow outside attempting to sneak up from above but she is spotted by Human Torch and they fight outside and I’ve got to say that fight is the best drawn work by Paco in this miniseries. Now before I discuss my thoughts on the ending I will say I was very confused about Kaine. Kaine was revived as a human/spider monster in spider island but was reverted and ended in that event as the Scarlet Spider and he went on to have his on on-going by Christopher Yost and then Yost brought him over to the New Warrior series and in that series we never saw Kaine almost lose control and revert back. Now enter issue 3 and we see him almost change. This wouldn’t bother me if it had been something he had been shown to struggle with but it wasn’t. Now Ben gets to the point where they only have one option. Someone needs to make a sacrifice in order to win. Ben choosing to sacrifice himself was not unexpected by how the issue were written. Each issue had little thought bubble or blurbs about each spider. The first issue was Black Widow, the second was Kaine and the third was Ben. So when Ben blew up the factory resulting in his death I was surprised but the thing about his death is that there is no emotional connection to Ben. In comics death is almost meaningless because anyone can be revived at any moment. That means the story of the death has to be really good or else what meaning is there? Ben had no meaning, He was just from a random universe. I mean it’s great they won but the other two characters were characters people had known from previous titles not pretty much made to die. The issue ends with Black Widow staying around and Kaine hopping into a portal to join the fight back in Loomworld.
So overall I felt this series was a better tie in then the Spider Woman book because the plot was defined and it had a conclusive ending but I felt Spider Woman had better dialogue and better interactions between the characters. Scarlet Spider also had better art then Spider Woman. The reason I decided to do a dual review was because I realized what I liked in Spider Woman, I didn’t like in Scarlet Spiders and visa versa. As I said numerous times I feel a tie in should be affected by the event but should be a complete story separate from the event. I do feel Scarlet Spiders accomplished this whereas Spider Woman did not.
Scarlet Spiders: 7.5/10
Spider Woman- 6.5/10