Friday, October 20, 2017 • Evening Edition • "That smell was here before we went in."

Trade Waiting: Spider-Man/ Spider-Gwen: Sitting in a Tree

Written by SuperginraiX on Thursday, June 01 2017 and posted in Features

Trade Waiting: Spider-Man/ Spider-Gwen: Sitting in a Tree

Six chapters of as much alternate dimension and time-travel as you can handle.



Trade Waiting is a new (and hopefully continuing) series where Super buys a new release trade paperback on Amazon and then decides to publish his reviews here instead of over there (on Amazon). In this case, he's reading and talking about the crossover between Miles Morales' Spider-Man and the alternative universe Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman, Sitting in a Tree. The trade collects Spider-Man #'s 12-14 and Spider-Gwen #'s 16-18 originally published between January and March 2017. The Spider-Man issues are written by Brian Michael Bendis, art by Sara Pichelli (with an inking assist by Gaetano Carlucci), colors by Justin Ponsor, and letters by Cory Petit (from Virtual Calligraphy). The Spider-Gwen issues are written by Jason Latour with art by Robbi Rodriguez, colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Clayton Cowles (also from Virtual Calligraphy). Every issue is edited by Allison Stock (Asst), Devin Lewis (Assoc), and Nick Lowe. The collection was released on May 30, 2017. There are going to be spoilers ahead so, y'know, SPOILER WARNING.

And now, Super will stop talking in the third person and just review this damn thing...

This crossover is insane. I mean, literally insane.

First off, I got this trade paperback because I think Miles Morales is awesome and this is part of his story... and I'm a completionist. I'd be the first to admit that the most recent volume of Spider-Man is weaker (MUCH weaker) than Miles' previous adventures. Bendis isn't really turning out anywhere NEAR his best work but it's still Miles Morales and it's STILL enjoyable seeing him swing his way through the regular Marvel Universe.

Which brings us to an adventure where he spends most of his time AWAY from the regular Marvel Universe...

Let's start with the make out scene and then ignore it for five issues...

Spider-Gwen is a character that is BARELY on my radar. I've missed all of her previous appearances and while her name is derived from Peter Parker's most doomed girlfriend (um... Gwen Stacy... keep up, people), she bares little resemblance to the regular Marvel Universe version of the character. And I'm not talking about her not having the traditional hairstyle. Even Regular Gwen Stacy didn't exclusively rock that look. In almost every way, from powers to personality to age, this isn't REALLY Gwen Stacy. In a nutshell, Spider-Gwen (who is REALLY called Spider-WOMAN) is a girl with spider-powers playing hero in a darker version of the Marvel Universe.

A darker version that doesn't believe in artificial sweeteners.

So what brings our two heroes from two different universes together? Well, Miles' dad, Jefferson Davis, went missing while on an unsanctioned SHIELD mission and SHIELD Director, Maria Hill, suspects he ended up in an alternate universe. Like you do. Because this was an off-the-books style mission, Maria Hill is basically in a lot of trouble if he ends up dead or worse so she doubles down on bad ideas and sends Miles after his dad with a special inter-dimensional-traveling bracelet.

This brings Spider-Man to Earth-65. Spider-Gwen's home turf.

HOLY CRAP KEEP YOUR MASK ON FOR TEN SECONDS SERIOUSLY

What follows is a classic team-up/ romance as our two heroes' search for Jefferson Davis leads them to a bunch of different Earths and a bunch of different timelines. It gets crowded really fast, with a climax that involves Miles and Gwen's future children and allies traveling to Earth-65 to help Spider-Man and Spider-Woman beat the crossover's bad guy. Even Spider-Ham shows up.

Yeah. It gets pretty crazy.

Wacky stuff, people.

Refreshingly, Miles and Gwen don't fight each other. I mean, seriously, I'm kind of burnt out on that... EVER happening again. The fact that they skip straight to the team-up actually feels unique. To add some confusion to this inter-dimensional date, the duo meet up with Ms. Marvel, Miles' other super-heroic romantic interest. It gets awkward but enjoyable at the same time.

So... it's crazy but fun, right? Well... yes, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some problems. When you're dealing with crossovers involving different creative teams, you're going to expect a little bit of disjointed storytelling and this trade totally has that. For most of the story, Bendis and Latour are on the same page. However, Spider-Man is told from a point AFTER the adventure. Miles is relating this tale to his friends, Ganke and Goldballs. Latour does NOT continue this storytelling style so you go back and forth between Miles telling his friends what happened to the Spider-Gwen chapters that tell the adventure as it happens. Beyond that, you get some moments where characters aren't properly introduced for newcomers (and as a newcomer to Spider-Gwen, it would have been nice to realize who was who) and some chapters not EXACTLY matching up to each other.

Traveling to different universes is probably not covered by your insurance.

No matter what chapter you're reading, the art is excellent. Sara Pichelli and Robbi Rodriquez both sell their distinctive styles for their books. One thing I love about crossovers is seeing different artists drawing other books' characters. It's fun looking at Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen through another lens. Justin Ponsor and Rico Renzi both do an amazing job on the colors for their respective books. Hell, Cory Petit and Clayton Cowles' letter style is even noticeably different while also being appropriate to the book they're working on. That's not something I usually notice but there it is.

As far as bonuses go, this volume has the main cover art for each issue, three variant covers for Spider-Man #12, three variant covers for Spider-Gwen #16, one variant cover each for Spider-Gwen #17 and 18, and character sketches for Spider-Boy, Spider-Girl, and Kraven the Hunter (all from Earth-8) provided by Jason Latour. It's not the beefiest selection of bonus material but in a world where you usually only get cover art, it's nice to see some character sketches.

Peter Porker has had better days.

Spider-Man/ Spider-Gwen: Sitting in a Tree is insane at times, heart warming at others, maybe a little disjointed here and there, and probably not as new reader friendly as it should be all over the place. That said, it's a crossover where two heroes don't beat the crap out of each other which makes it refreshing. I feel it deserves your money just to tell Marvel how over hero-beat-em-up crossover mega-events you are.





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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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