Take a Trip to Beautiful… Spider-Island!

The Jackal, who has quite the strange obsession with Peter Parker, is up to his usual cloning tricks, but this time it is to create a tailor made virus to turn the populace of New York, specifically Manhattan, into an island of spider-like creatures for his partner in crime – the Spider Queen.  Spidey soon has his hands full, not only with the tidal wave of spider-powered people on a collision course with mutation, but with his growing plate of responsibilities.  He has a job with team members that rely on him, a girlfriend named Carlie who is also a cop and has her suspicions about him and his ‘friendship’ with Spider-Man, and he is also a member of both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.  To say that he is a busy guy is putting it mildly.  Dealing with a city-wide crisis is something he does not need at the moment, so it is lucky that he has some friends to help him out.

One of Spider-Man’s largest storylines to date was Spider-Island, taking place within the main Amazing Spider-Man book, as well as a number of minis and one-shots and crossing over into a few other ongoing books like Herc, Black Panther and Venom.  A big tale to be sure, but not one where every tie-in was essential to the story but when reading everything, painted a much larger perspective and garnered many different viewpoints throughout the city. If you happen to miss one or more, there is no loss to the understanding of the narrative which shows the talents of the creative teams in place.

The main book with Pete is solid with some great writing by the incomparable Dan Slott who shows just how good a handle he has with Spider-Man and his entire cast.  Carlie is a great addition to the cast, having been introduced earlier, but she really shines during the story as she comes into possession of Peter’s powers and proves herself a quick learner.  She also knows something fishy is going on with her boyfriend and his close rapport with his costumed alter-ego.  Slott shows us some great interplay between the two mirroring some of the best relationship moments of the past when he dated Gwen, MJ and Betty.  Slott also gives us a great threat with the Spider Queen, making her quite terrifying and even more so by teaming her up with the Jackal, one of Spidey’s most persistent foes.
Two of the best minis that tied into the crossover, though not in a completely direct way were Deadly Hands of Kung Fu and Cloak and Dagger.  Dealing more with stuff that our main hero could not, these books found them having to handle a few spiders of their own.  Shang-Chi proves in this mini-series just why he needs a new ongoing title of his own, though the same could also be said of Cloak and Dagger.  Both series featured great writing and great art and out of everything that was advertised outside of Amazing, these two books were the best and read fine simply on their own.  Whether you read Spider-Island or not, if you are a fan of any of these characters, pick these books up.

The series not only featuring great writing, also had great art as well on all parts involved.  Humberto Ramos did an excellent job on Amazing pulling out all the stops to make it dynamic and exciting.  Peter looks young under Ramos’ pencil which is great as he is no longer the married man, and as the story progresses he does a great job of portraying him as frantic, worried and heroic.  Carlie is cute, Mary Jane is beautiful and Jonah looks crazy with Ramos at the helm.  It is almost as if this book is the title that he was born to draw and it is wonderful to see him still on Spidey to this day.  Emma Rios, Pepe Larraz, Sebastian Fiumara, Leandro Fernandez, Giuseppe Camuncoli and more also showed off their amazing skills on the satellite books making all of them delightful to look at.

Spider-Island is one of the best storylines that the Spider family of books has seen in quite some time, at least until this point.  After being a little stagnant and trying to find its feet after the reset button was hit that number of years ago, Slott has taken the book to new heights.  With this storyline showcasing nearly everything that everyone loves about Spidey, it is a great way to experience the character at the top of his form.

5 out of 5

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