It’s not always easy to judge the proper length of a story in comics, just as it can be difficult to figure out pacing within that story. I’ve very much enjoyed “Sitting In a Tree” so far (issues with the crossover title aside), but it feels like it may be starting to drag, and therefore feel like it’s going on a bit too long. After what felt like a languid, needlessly bloated plod in the previous installment in the pages of Spider-Gwen, this issue feels faster paced, but in all the wrong ways.
Because, man, there’s a whole lot of dimension hopping in this issue.
I don’t intend for that to be a criticism, but it certainly is distracting to go from one setting to another in the blink of a panel, which is basically what Miles and Gwen end up doing for most of this issue. Oh, and there’s a fight with Jefferson, aka the Scorpion. But it gets disrupted by all the dimension hopping. I swear Miles and Gwen feel like they’re just interdimensional ping pong balls at certain points in this issue.
The device of Miles’s interdimensional watch, which Gwen has now amusingly named Ding after it kept repeating that sound at various times, is used to flashy but ultimately pointless effect as it seemingly malfunctions and starts pulling our heroes briefly into various alternate realities before abruptly spiriting them away. I already know this device can travel to alternate dimensions, and while it’s cute to see quick samples of the Marvel Zombie-verse, Marvel Noir-verse, and the DC comics universe, it feels like an obvious attempt to distract the reader before coming back to the same time and place to finish a fight that had just started.
When it finally does get started, we hear the one word from Jefferson/Scorpion that causes the issue to end on a hopeful note for Miles, albeit an uncertain one. I don’t know whether this is the real Jefferson coming off of a mind whammy, an extremely adaptable doppleganger, or just an extremely competent S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and father acting his part flawlessly. All are plausible, given what we know so far about Jefferson, and it actually makes me interested to see how this all resolves in the next part.
Everything is, of course, ably and beautifully illustrated by Sara Pichelli’s deft hand, giving the action a realistic look to ground it even amid all the dimension hopping craziness. The color palette stays remarkably consistent between realities, which is also good for keeping readers grounded, but also feels a bit inconsistent when paired with the fact that the color palettes changed considerably when Miles’s and Gwen’s realities were initially portrayed in this story.
With the final part of this story concluding in the pages of Spider-Gwen, I can say I’m ready to move on to other stories for Miles. Their relationship thus far has been ably developed, though I’m still a bit floundered by how much emphasis has been put on them kissing, when that’s such a relative non-issue compared to everything else. The storytelling here hasn’t been flawless, but it’s still good, and I’ll be happy to see these two pair up again in the future. For now, though, I’m happy for things to wrap up and explore some less dimension-hop-y stories.
Final thought: I think the exclamation, “You!” is the dialog MVP of this story.
With a fun premise that has started to lag slightly, Spider-Man #14 delivers a good, if hyper-paced, penultimate chapter to its crossover with Spider-Gwen. Pichelli's artwork is customarily stellar and helps keep things grounded.