Monday, October 5, 2015

Spider-Verse #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

We ended last issue with Gwen running into Peter Parker, despite the fact that he has a gravestone next to hers in the cemetery.  It turns out Peter lost his powers (it's apparently a long story, shockingly), but he's come out of hiding to warn her that Norman really is a villain.  As if Gwen needs more proof, Venom bounds at them from the shrubs:  Norman sent him to tail her, but his hatred of Peter got the better of him.  Gwen and Peter manage to flee to a music store where Gwen uses an amped up guitar to knock Venom unconscious.  Meanwhile, the scientifically minded members of the Web Warriors work with Norman and his staff to get to the bottom of the Web that connects them, while Ham brings Anya to the buffet.  There, he reveals that Norman occasionally sits on his "Caesars Palace chair" and rants about killing Doom.  Anya gets Ham to show it to her, while Gwen and Peter step up their game:  Peter Snapchats a photo of him on the Brooklyn Bridge to Pavitr, inviting Norman to come "talk."  They know that it will force Norman to go crazy (as Venom did), and they're right:  Norman gathers up the Six and heads to the bridge.  Meanwhile, Anya grabs the rest of the team to show them the chair.  It turns out that it's a Siege Perilous, but, before they can learn more, a Thor arrives to claim possession of it.

Honestly, I wasn't feeling this series, but I'm totally on board here.  Costa uses Ham's personality to explain why he seems so ambivalent about Norman.  I was expecting Costa to go with mind control to explain why Ham went with Gwen in issue #2 but seemed completely unperturbed by Norman's crazy in issue #3.  Instead, he does me one better:  Ham is resigned to humans doing ridiculous $^!*.  He just goes and gets some waffles whenever they do it.  Honestly, it's great.  It totally makes sense in the context of character that is, after all, a talking pig.  Plus, it's not like it only works in Norman's favor.  It's this disinterest in human motivations that leads Ham to show Anya the chair, since it's not like he's loyal to Norman or thought through the implications of it.  (More waffles anyone?)

Beyond Ham, the issue is interesting because it's another villain trying to take on Doom.  As the cracks in Doom's facade appear in the main title, they're appearing in the tie-in issues.  Regent in "Amazing Spider-Man:  Renew Your Vows" is also hoping to take down Doom, and I feel like Korvac in the "Korvac Saga" is also a candidate if he keeps his cosmic powers.  Costa does a great job of using this development to further the overall plot of the event, reminding us that Doom's control has never been as great as it may have appeared.

All in all, it's definitely an improvement over the previous issue or two, and I'm excited to see how it all ends.  (It better at least involve everyone apologizing to Gwen for being wrong about Norman.)

*** (three of five stars)

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