Usually, when books feature several contributing artists the results tend to be a jumbled mess; Spider-Verse #1 bucks this trend and the end product is a fun romp that celebrates the diverse tones and worlds of the relatively new Spider-Verse world. Sole writer Jed Mackay handles the script and does an admirable, if not exceptional, job at it. But the real stars of Spider-Verse #1 are the artists. Juan Frigeri, Stacey Lee, Arthur Adams, Federico Blee, James Harren, Dave Stewart, Dike Ruan, Carlos Lopez, and Sheldon Vella all contribute art and colors to Spider-Verse #1 and while all their universes are distinct and separate, it really is phenomenal how well they all blend together. With VC’s Joe Sabino’s letters tying the issue together Spider-Verse #1 is an energetic entry into a potentially fun web-slinging romp across the Spider-Verse.
After quickly dispatching with a comically underused villain 8-ball, Spider-Verse #1 has recently appointed Spider-Man Miles Morales being pulled across the Spider-Verse by a mysterious voice. Mackay’s script is swift and witty. Miles Morales has quips for days regardless of the universe he is stuck in for the moment. And each of the other Spider-Men (or Spider-Monster) speaks accordingly with his allotted world.
While the story isn’t revelatory and is more an excuse to see the various Spider-Worlds, if there is one flaw to the script, it is the flimsy excuse for relying on Miles instead of Peter. Not that Miles is not an adequate hero, but when the fate of the Spider-Verse is on the line, wouldn’t you want the best, most experienced Spider-Man to protect it? The reasoning for this is simply, “This is our jobs now because we’re new and young, and so is the Spider-Verse.”
Due to a large amount of contributing artists and styles, the reader is also not given enough time to get acquainted with any of the worlds Miles visits. Surely some of these universes are one-offs that we’ll never revisit, but some of the worlds seemed significant enough, such as Spider-Punk’s scene. Perhaps Mackay will bring us back to him in a future issue, but more time will have to be spent here for it to feel purposeful and not like a distraction.
The highlight and main draw for Spider-Verse #1 is the flawless use of the humongous art team. Each team is tasked with drawing a separate universe, and they do so with glee and fanatic enthusiasm. It’s easy to tell the artists were clearly having a blast drawing silly universes like Monsterhattan, a version of Manhattan, except everyone is a horrifying Cronenbergian monster, including Spider-Man ( or Spider-Monster either/or) or a Mad Max: Fury Road inspired Spider-Man. Each universe is unique and could offer a fun new story to add to the Spider-Verse mythos.
Spider-Verse #1 treads a fine line. This book is clearly a celebration of the breadth of Universes you can put a Spider-Man into as well as the character itself. But writer Mackay will have to employ some balance in the future and spend some quality time in each of the universes to imbue some purpose in them besides being aesthetically pleasing. But you’re getting the book because of the art department, and they surely do not disappoint. Each universe is memorable and could launch a whole swath of stories, and VC’s Joe Sabino’s letters remain the stabilizing force tying all the universes together. If you like Spider-Man and The inherent goofiness of a multiverse of various Spider-Men Spider-Verse #1 is essential.