Dark Web – Marvel’s latest crossover featuring Spider-Man and The X-Men.

One of Marvel’s earliest classic events was the X-Men crossover Inferno that saw Demons takeover New York. Now Marvel revisits the events of that story in Dark Web. The worlds of Spider-Man and the X-Men collide! Marvel’s two most famous and famously wronged clones – Chasm (Ben Reilly) and the Goblin Queen (Madelyne Pryor) – are back, they’ve had enough of being second best and they’re going to claim what’s rightfully theirs! The sun is setting, and it’s going to be a long night for Spidey and the X-Men. But what role does the volatile Venom play in the clones’ vengeful plot? And what will become of the young hero Ms. Marvel when she ends up trapped in Limbo?!

As with Inferno, Dark Web sees the craziest demons you can imagine invading New York under the command of Madelyne Pryor. She is in a very similar situation to last time round – with Jean Grey having had her first resurrection around that time and her then husband Scott Summers (AKA Cyclops) abandoning her to go back to Jean leaving her rightfully embittered, which played into her transformation into the Goblin Queen. This time around – she is once again privy to a returning Jean Grey who is part of the nation of Krakoa led by the X-Men. Relegated to the Demon Realm, she unites with Spider-Man clone Ben Reilly who has experienced his own share of injustices (though not at Peter Parker’s hands despite what he thinks) to seize control of the world above.

Tonally, this is book that goes in several directions. On the one hand, we have an intense revenge story with Ben Reilly in particular going to very dark lengths to claim Peter Parker’s life for his own and Pryor settling her beef with Jean Grey and Cyclops once and for all. On the other hand, it takes a rather out there turn when the demons get involved. Especially when Spider-Man and several of his supporting cast (including J Jonah Jameson) get trapped in limbo and are forced to go through a twisted form of their previous life with oddball demons. The show is stolen by Rek-Rap – a demon who hero-worships Spider-Man after he saves his life and starts aping his hero. It is a credit to the writing team that these shifts in tone add extra layers without derailing the story.

The art is strong throughout. Special praise must go to Ed McGuiness (Deadpool) who handles the Spider-Man segments with his usual energetic style and dynamism. He also gets to channel his humorous side he developed in Deadpool with the limbo chapters and is one of the key reason Rek-Rap is such a standout.

Dark Web is a fun call-back to a classic Marvel event and an intense story to boot. Definitely one Spider-Man and X-Men readers will not want to miss!

Dark Web is out now from Marvel  (9781302948603, p/b, £33.99)

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