With Across The Spider-Verse (the sequel to the Oscar winning Into The Spider-Verse) on its way to cinemas later this year, now is a perfect time to once again delve into the various alternate versions of Spider-Man in Edge of Spider-Verse.
Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse saga is currently reaching its conclusion in the End of The Spider-Verse storyline running in the newly relaunched adjectiveless Spider-Man title. In the lead up to that series, we have another spinoff anthology series that once again showcases variants of Spider-Man from different dimensions that cross all sorts of genres that range from being serious to very much tongue in cheek. These include characters readers will be already familiar with like fan-favourites Spider-Man Noir, Araña and Spider-Ham along with a host of newcomers.
As to be expected from an anthology, there are a variety of different styles on display here that will have something that will appeal to a wide variety of fans. The strength of the Spider-Verse concept is that there is no idea or theme too out of left field and that really shines through in this series. All the creators involved clearly have an affinity for Spider-Man and are able to create some incredibly memorable reinterpretations of the wallcrawler. The highlights include a new version of Spider-UK created by Ramzee and Ruairi Coleman, a reinterpretation of The Black Cat as Night-Spider and Sakura Spider who makes her first appearance in a US publication following her debut in the Deadpool: Samurai manga. Spider-Ham also gets a chapter to himself as the events of the previous Spider-Verse sagas have eaten away at his once jovial nature. This is somewhat restored though following his meeting with Pete Spiderman – a suburban father/neighbourhood watch member Spider-Man – which leads to some of the biggest laughs in the series.
We are also introduced to three radically different variants of Spidey that play big parts in End of The Spider-Verse. Spinstress – from the minds of David Hein and Luciano Vecchio – is a Disney princess style version who is almost constantly singing and stars in one of the wackiest stories in the collection. Sun-Spider – a version of Spider-Man with EDS who incorporates her crutches into her crime fighting – has an inspiring chapter focusing on her that handles the topic of disability in a very respectful way. We then wrap up with Web Weaver, the first gay version of Spider-Man who juggles crime fighting with fashion designing in an exceptionally cool costume designed by fan-favourite Tranformers artist Kei Zama.
This latest chapter in the Spider-Verse saga is another wildly fun exploration of various takes on Spider-Man and is perfect for whetting any fan’s appetite in anticipation of Across The Spider-Verse. It is looking to be a busy year for fans of Spider-Man.
Edge Of Spider-Verse is out 31 January from Marvel (9781302947170, p/b, £16.99)
Want regular updates and weekly reviews on the latest in graphic novels and manga? Follow us on Twitter @turnaroundcomix.