Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 is a fun little comic that doesn’t really impact the overall flow of “Spider-Verse,” but it does give readers another chance to catch their favorite webslinging characters in action. Set to run as a three-part miniseries parallel to the main “Spider-Verse” story,this issue gets things going with six different Spider-Men from across the multiverse.
Broken into two tales, Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 is sure to make some readers happy right from the start, as “The Power of Positive Thinking” opens above New York City of Earth-94 with Ben Reilly fighting the Vulture. In the first panel, it appears as though the Vulture is Adrian Toomes, but Christos N. Gage’s story quickly reveals this isn’t the same old Vulture. As a matter of fact, Morlun’s band of “Inheritors” have subcontracted Vultures from across the multiverse to help track down Spiders.
Spider-Ham and Old Man Spider-Man join Reilly to counter the Vultures’ attack. The remainder of this first story in Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 feels more like an installment of “Edge of Spider-Verse” than “Spider-Verse” proper as the Spideys counter the attack and spend a good amount of panel time talking. Gage makes it clear that Reilly is not cynical, but uses some odd dialog choices that make Reilly seem more starstruck than the story or art indicate.
Dave Williams provides the art for the first tale in Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 as well as the cover art. He brings a slick, polished feel that imbues the characters with animated energy and crisp, clean anatomy. Dexter Vines inks Williams and provides additional depth to the characters and settings of this story. Williams defines each character with distinct features and posture, which is very helpful when dealing with multiples of the same character. There is one storytelling bobble, however, as Reilly redirects the vomiting Vulture, but the art in the panel is incongruous with the end results. Otherwise, Williams work is quite nice, an admirable feat considering he has to make Spider-Ham work alongside Old Man Spider-Man and Reilly. Chris Sotomayor’s colors are everything color should be in a Spidey adventure: bold, bright, and fun. From Sotomayor’s work, the anatomy of Old Man Spider-Man’s face under his mask is less of a mystery, and the teleportation to the gathering of Spider-characters is bright and shiny, offering readers a feeling of true transportation.
Roger Stern is on hand to write “The Luck of the Parkers,” which brings Spider-Man Noir and Six-Arm Spider-Man to another universe in an attempt to recruit that world’s Peter Parker before the Inheritors do. Unfortunately for all parties, the spider bite hits this Parker in a way we haven’t seen before. Along the way Stern provides some snappy banter on the part of Six-Arm and plays up the “man out of time” aspect for Noir. The latter just comes across as more of a whiner than a hero, but part of that could be attributed to Stern’s familiarity with these Spider-Men.
The art for this installment just looks like a throwback, reaching into the latter half of the Silver Age or early Bronze. The main reason for that is that artist Bob McLeod’s style is timeless enough to elevate reminiscences and clean enough to magnify the artist’s storytelling efforts. McLeod uses Six-Arm’s extra appendages to help tell the story, giving the hero more to gesture with and about. It adds depth and pertinence to the story, as someone with six arms would almost certainly be doing something with each of the six hands at any moment, and those six activities wouldn’t always be in concert. To match the throwback artwork, colorist Andrew Crossley keeps things bright and clean, adding some shadows, textures, and patterns, but mostly just locking in prescribed tones.
Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 is not a game-changer. This is a comic book that might add some depth to the “Spider-Verse” storyline a little later down the line, but for now, this is simply an outlet for readers to get another fix on Spider-Man Noir, Six-Arm Spider-Man, Ben Reilly, Old Man Spider-Man, and Spider-Ham. It follows in the spirit of the original Marvel Team-Up series from the 1970s and 1980s. Like those books, this issue delivers a complete tale (two of them, actually), but has little impact on the greater narrative impacting the Marvel Universe. I’m a sucker for Marvel Team-Up, so I’ll be getting this one through its completion, since this is a big batch of fun, like getting out all of the variant Spider-Man action figures and having a giant play session in the sandbox.
Spider-Verse Team-Up #1 lingers on the edge of "Spider-Verse," but still offers a pair of fun stories more geared to fans of specific Spidey-characters. Spider-Man Noir, Six-Arm Spider-Man, Old Man Spider-Man, Spider-Ham and Ben Reilly all make the journey into "Spider-Verse" in this issue.