Welcome to the third Saturday edition of Four-Color Bullet, the greatest comic book review column in the Multiverse.
From Marvel this week: Act Two of Axis begins with issue four. A founding Avenger quits. The birth of KLUH, the strongest one there is. Doom tears down Latveria and the X-Men join their greatest foe; Groot joins Rocket on his dangerously daring cosmic shenanigans, in Rocket Raccoon #5; and the Spider-Verse saga continues as alternate universe Spideys team up in two separate stories, in Spider-Verse Team-Up #1.
From DC this week: Olive joins the Order of the Bat, and we learn about her secret past, in Gotham Academy #2; Batman’s Scott Snyder and the legendary Jim Lee wrap up their run on Superman: Unchained with the extra-sized issue #9; and the Main Man defends Earth against alien attackers, in Lobo #2
Image brings us the second issue of the amazing new series Birthright.
The Eternal Warrior finally returns to the Valiant Universe, in Eternal Warrior #1
A family of powerful, nigh-immortal vampiric monsters. All of the Spider-People in the Multiverse are their dinner. The craziest team-up in the cosmos has begun.
Way back during J. Michael Stracynski’s run of Amazing Spider-Man, it was posited that perhaps the spider that bit Peter Parker did so on purpose. That the spider was, in fact, a totem. Then we were introduced to a cosmically powerful being named Morlun, who eats the life-force of anyone who has the Spider Totem. Morlun was intent on Peter becoming his next meal, but through about four issues, our hero fought Morlun to a standstill, finally beating him and almost getting killed himself.
Now, Morlun has returned, and writer Dan Slott has introduced us to Morlun’s family, all a group of terrifyingly powerful vampires who eat the Spider Totem. But now we learn that the family travels the Multiverse looking for their meal. Along with Morlun, the family has eaten a large number of Spider-Heroes from different Earths. But a select few have banded together and come to Earth-616 to rally behind the greatest Spider-Man in the Multiverse, the “mainstream” Peter Parker, and fight for their very survival.
Slott has been dropping clues and hints about this epic for some time, laying the groundwork over time in true Dan Slott fashion. And he wastes no time getting the story underway. As we see Morlun and his family stalking Spider-People from every universe, and the survivors come to Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel earth, to ask for Peter Parker’s help. On this earth alone, the resistance is joined by Spider-Woman Jessica Drew, the temporally out-of-place Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099, and Peter’s new foil, Silk, who was bitten by the same spider that bit Peter.
Half the fun is seeing all of the alternate Spider-People, from Spider-Ham, a cartoon pig with spider powers that Marvel created back in the 1980s for their kid-friendly Star Comics imprint, to fan-favorite and soon-to-get-her-own-book Gwen Stacy, also in possession of her own spider powers. And the presence of all of these Spider-People, coupled with the family of vampires pursuing them, makes one a little queasy as you realize some of the different Spider-Folk won’t make it out alive. And there are still more alternate Spideys to come.
Olivier Coipel’s art is fantastic. I’ve been a fan of his since his DC days when he worked on Legion of Super-Heroes. No stranger to drawing diversity in a team-oriented atmosphere, Coipel’s take on all of the different Spider-People is awesome and you’ll just want to pause for a bit to look at all of them. And if that’s not enough, it’s an extra-sized issue, featuring a 10-page story by Slott and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli that really drives home how freaking scary Morlun and his family are.
So, the Spider-Verse is here and is shaping up to be the event of the year. Even non-Spider-Man fans might want to take a peek. With so many Spider-Men and -Women you might find one to root for. I’m angling for Spider-Man Noir, the Spider-Man of the 1930s, myself.
And that wraps another Four-Color Bullet. Email and comment if you so desire, and check back here next week for the final Saturday edition (we’ll be back on Thursdays after that).
It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!