When A Tangle-Web Spider Weaves

Apr 20, 2024


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The Spectacular Spider-Men #2 Cvr

This week’s list of Marvel Comics releases included four by the eight legged league. Of those comics, Spectacular Spider-Men is the only title whose description specifically states the adventure entails more than one Spider. The three others initially appear to be simple solo adventures for Miles, Jessica and the newest – and youngest – Spider, Bailey Briggs. However, even in these titles you can sense this corner of the 616 is building something. Yes there’s the obvious answer, however it is how the web is being assembled that draws me in. The construction at the moment doesn’t resemble the typical orb, rather a tangled weave with a chasm. At first glance it appeared less tightly woven, thereby creating the illusion of separation. Which led me to grab a spindle and apply it to each story to see how it was all connected.

Miles Morales Spider-Man #19 Cvr

So far each of Peter’s strictly civilian weekly coffee meetups with Miles have turned into a convenient setup. But while last issue had Pete cut coffee time short to chase a Jackel clone across campus, The Spectacular Spider-Men #2 spins things differently. This issue Greg Weisman looks to the arachnoid’s investigative abilities beginning with the burnt body discovered in Miles Warren’s abandoned lab. Meanwhile, it’s Miles (Morales) who pulls a Parker by being late to their meeting and ending the coffee break early. This time it’s so the Spider-Men can figure out what’s behind Coffee Bean regular Cedric’s delusional behavior. Between what they do and don’t discover, The Spectacular Spider-Men shows the lengths and limits of the Spiders senses.

Spider-Woman #6

Despite the variations of Spider(s) across the Spider-Verse, Miles’ experiences align closest to The Friendly Neighborhood than the rest. Which is why Miles Morales Spider-Man #19 feels like another milestone moment in Miles’ career. And not to disrespect any past or future foes, but Rabble makes a case for being Brooklyn’s Spider-Man’s Doc Ock. Already injured, Miles practically limbs towards a final confrontation with Rabble, aware that his allies are also in peril. Stretched to his limit, this issue captures that moment where fans wonder whether the webbing will hold. With time running out Mr. Morales resembles a physically and mentally broken Peter facing an onslaught from the Sinister Six. As Cody Ziglar’s story concludes Miles Gang War involvement, if Spider-Man makes it through this issue he will have survived a gauntlet.

Spider-Boy #6 Cvr

While Peter and Miles face gauntlets, for Jessica Drew being a Spider has been a masquerade. Already cast as a Hydra spy and Skrull, a casualty of Gang War leaves Jessica with information that makes her look like a bad mom. And in Spider-Woman #6 Steve Foxe has Hydra send someone to throw momma from the train. This after Spider-Woman assumed Hydra would hide away with her son Gerry. And it was only after telling Carol the truth that Jessica was comfortable escaping from New York. So it’s interesting the “motherless child” that shows up this week searching for Spider-Woman.

The Spectacular Spider-Men #2 Int

Of all the people Bailey wants to remember him, he secretly wants one of them to love him too. Overwhelmed by the need to reprise his role as sidekick to Spider-Man – the Peter Parker version – Spider-Boy #6 is a reminder that Bailey has his own story. And Dan Slott is about to give Madame Monstrosity the portion she wants – how Spider-Boy made everyone forget about him? To do this the geneticist first shares the secrets of the Humanimals with Bailey’s friend Christina. When that isn’t enough Madame Monstrosity offers Spider-Boy what he, and seemingly every other spider secretly wants.

Miles Morales Spider-Man #19 Int

While I mentioned that Spectacular seemed like a setup, it actually serves to spotlight being a Spider, though most of it comes from traits and tendencies of the Peter Parker version. Although even that comes with caveats because this speaks to an almost infinite number including the 616, the Cinematic and even the Ultimate. Still, what remains cohesive can be seen in not only this weeks Spectacular but also the three solo Spider stories.

From The Spectacular Spider-Man #2 there is accountability. Of all the vigilante type heroes, Spider-Man deals with authorities most often which Parker proves by speaking with Detective Sebbens. Also, their weekly meetings show a push for more accountability – even punctuality – hopefully leading to Peter and Miles both being better Spider-Men while also bringing better jokes. Next, Miles Morales Spider-Man #19 shows us the hero’s integrity. Rabble admits defeating her will require Miles to go past his breaking point. Not content with simply breaking bones, her attack is meant to break bonds by destroying everything that makes Miles whole.

Spider-Woman #6 Int
Spider-Boy #6 Int

Thankfully Jessica knows who she is, which is why Spider-Woman #19 hides the identity. With cries echoing of an overly crowded Spider-Verse, Spider-Woman hasn’t always made a name for herself, especially if she is only seen as a female Spider-Man. You can identify the not(s) in Spider-Woman #19 during her battle with a fallen star. Of course, the purpose of her trip is probably one most of the Spiders can identify with, yet never get. Leading to the anonymity that comes from Spider-Boy #6. While most Spiders aren’t recognizable without their mask, Madame Monstrosity needed a barcode to recognize Bailey as her handiwork. At least Christina still knows who they both are, even if she isn’t herself anymore.

Following March’s Web of Spider-Man #1 there’s the sensation that subsequent Spider-Verse comics are designed to bind the Spiders stories. This week’s issues of Spectacular, Miles Morales, Spider-Woman and Spider-Boy prove that despite the differences in appearance, backstory or powers they endure a lot of the same things in order to claim the name. What it takes to be a Spider or prevents some from becoming one.