The darker Spider-Men unite.
With Spider-Geddon #2 now on the stands, the floodgates have truly opened as far as event tie-ins go. Spider-Force is one of several books featuring a team of multiverse-spanning heroes carrying out a specific mission. In terms of the plot and relevance to the main Spider-Geddon event, Spider-Force isn’t much to write home about. But for those who want to see Christopher Priest return to the Spider-Man franchise after a several decade absence, this book has a bit more to offer.
Spider-Force niche in the larger tapestry that is Spider-Geddon centers around Solus, father of the spider-devouring Inheritors. The crystal containing Solus’ essence is still marooned on the irradiated world where the Inheritors were held prisoner. Kaine is now charged with leading a strike force of various Spider-Men and women in order to destroy the crystal before Verna can revive her father. In other words, a fairly straightforward and unremarkable premise. Most of these tie-ins seem to revolve around a motley group of heroes chasing some MacGuffin or another, and there’s little sense that the events of this series will wind up having huge ramifications on the core miniseries.
But again, the appeal with this book is less the plot than the rare chance to see Priest play in this particular sandbox. He brings a very different sensibility to the Spider-Man line. Stylistically, this issue features all the usual flourishes found in Priest’s work – the nonlinear story structure, the chapter breaks and so forth. Those are well-honed tricks that Priest uses in order to pack a lot of story into a relatively small space. He’s able to keep the story humming along and never bogs down his writing with too much exposition.
There’s also a darker quality to this tie-in. That approach is certainly justified given the stakes of Spider-Geddon. It also feeds into the roster choices Priest makes here. The cast includes an unusual mix of existing Spider-folk (Kaine, Spider-Woman, Old Man Logan’s Spider-Girl) and a pair of original creations. Priest focuses a significant amount of attention to a new character named Spider-Kid. This hard-edged hero spends his days beating up drug dealers rather than costumed villains, and his personality and worldview follow suit. Priest quickly fleshes out this new player (amusingly named Charlie Parker) and makes the most of his dynamic with characters like Ashley Barton. It’s almost a shame Priest wasn’t able to introduce Charlie in a full-fledged Edge of Spider-Geddon one-shot, but he makes the most of his limited space here.
This miniseries is further bolstered by the eye-popping visuals of Paolo Siqueira, and artist who’s grown by leaps and bounds on the Spider-Man franchise over the past decade. Siqueira brings a bold, detailed look that works nicely with the darker, edgier tone of Priest’s writing. The story bounces from crime elements to science fiction to snippets of post-apocalyptic horror, and the art remains steady and consistent throughout. There are a few panels where Siqueira’s art seems to err on the side of pinup-worthy detail over storytelling flow (Jessica’s belated appearance as a team member being one example), but overall the book packs plenty of visual punch.