Outside the Spiderverse: A Spidergeddom Primer
Um… hello? I was told to come here for a primer on Spidergeddon?
Yes, dear reader. This current story, penned by long-time Marvel and Spider-Man writer Christos Gage, builds off some stories that are over a decade old! As such, we here at YDRC figured that anyone new leaping head-first into Spidergeddon might appreciate some help.
Our tale begins back in the summer of 2001, when Michael J Straczynski was working on the book. He wanted to make Spider-Man’s superpowers a little more magical than “bitten by science bug,” and so introduced the idea of Totems. The concept is that anyone with animal powers was tied to the spirits of the animals themselves through various mumbo jumbo.
That sounds kinda awesome, actually. And it explains so many things about the various animal people in Marvel. I’m guessing they ditched it?
Before the stories were forgotten, though, Straczynski introduced a threat keyed to that new revelation. Enter the energy vampire known as Morlun, who feeds on that Totem energy. He tried to snack on Peter, a meal that would have kept him full for ages. Incredibly strong and faster than Spidey, it was down to Peter to use his brains to out-think the magical villain. After injecting himself with the radioactive waste from a local nuclear power plant, Spider-Man was able to poison Morlun from within and pummel him until he faded away.
Whoa, that’s pretty hardcore. But comics are comics, so I’m guessing Morlun came back?
Yes indeed, surrogate for the reader. Straczynski himself would bring Morlun back without explanation for the 2005 storyline The Other. Morlun was back, and this time Peter was also dying from an unspecified disease.
But Spider-Man beat him, right? I mean, he obviously survived.
Nope! Spider-Man died. Dead as a doornail. But he did die killing Morlun again, and passed away in Mary Jane’s arms.
Wait, but he’s still arou-
Then he came back from the dead by shucking his corpse like an old snake skin. He spoke with a spider-god who made him come to terms with the fact that he was as much Spider as Man, and came out with all new powers that almost everyone has decided to forget.
Yeah, it was a weird time for Spider-Man. Morlun would come back a few more times. In 2008, he would return to fight the Black Panther, killing off a totem-based villain known as the Man-Ape. It wasn’t until 2014 that Dan Slott would bring Morlun back in a big way, calling the whole event the Spider-Verse.
You see, he has a family.
It gets worse. His family, the Inheritors, all like eating those with totemic powers across all of reality. And guess what kind they like to hunt especially?
Got it in one. Reaching out from their home in the Marvel Multiverse, the Inheritors began trying to literally devour all the Spider-Men, Spider-Women, Spider-Hams, and all sorts of other Spider-beings across time and space.
Yeah, Peter Porker. He was a spider named Peter who was bitten by a radioactive Aunt May Porker, which mutated him into a spider that looked like a pig. His enemies include Ducktor Doom, Hogzilla and the King-Pig… and his allies include Captain Americat and the Hulk-Bunny.
He’s also going to be on the big screen, with a bunch of other alternate Spider-People later this year with Sony’s Into the Spider-Verse.
Has Marvel always been this crazy, and I just never noticed?
The event began with various Spider-people being slowly hunted by the Inheritors, including the incredibly popular Gwen-Stacy-as-Spider-Woman, Spider-Man Noir, and the Superior Spider-Man. If you didn’t read Spider-Man in 2013, you would know him better as Doctor Otto Octavious.
Doctor Octopus was a Spider-Man? Was he from an alternate universe?
Nope! He stole Peter’s body in Amazing Spider-Man #698, killed Peter-in-his-old-body in the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #700, and then took his place as both Peter and Spider-Man for an over a year’s worth of comics. The comic was even re-launched as The Superior Spider-Man with similar tie-ins; it was hard to escape him at the time.
Peter dies a lot, doesn’t he?
He gets better. Otto realized that he wasn’t as good as Peter was, and eventually returned his body to the ghost of Peter still inside him. This version of Otto died just before Spider-Verse, but a second Superior Spidey would show up in Spider-Verse as a time-displaced copy.
Unfortunately, there would be a bodycount for Spider-Verse as our Peter and his many alternate co-Spiders fought for survival. These would include fan-favorites like the Generic Fruit Pie Selling Spider-Man (because Hostess couldn’t be reached for licensing), Spider-Man from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Marvel vs Capcom Spidey, and half the actors who played Spider-Man in movies.
So, minor Spideys?
Hey, every event needs a bodycount. We also got some cool new Spider-people, aside from Spider-Gwen or the Lady Spider from a Steampunk Victorian America. Take Hobie Brown as the Spider-Punk. He’s a punk-themed Spidey who fights corporate America with rock, and it’s generally awesome.
Ok, that does sound awesome.
Other fan-favorites also returned, like the Emissary from Hell, Japanese Spider-Man! He has a giant robot, the Leopardon.
Check it out on Youtube, it’s a hoot and a half.
We could spend hours on how incredible the Spider-Verse event was, but it’s something that should really be read. It was fun, and took a lot of twists and turns, but eventually found the remaining Spiders taking down the Inheritors and stranding them on an Earth surrounded by lethal radiation with only mutated Spiders left to eat.
So all’s well that ends well, right?
Yep! However, a small team of Spider-Men and Women left to guard the Multiverse kept peeking in at that Earth with the Inheritor’s remnants using Spider-Man robots. The zero issue shows that the Inheritors have been able to cobble together some bizarre machine with those robots’ remains. I’m sure that won’t let anything horrible happen.
Zero issue? How can an issue be before #1?
It’s a comic thing, and zero issues are almost always published with events these days. At least they didn’t make the first part of the story only found in a Free Comic Book Day issue.
Sheesh. What else do I need to know before picking up issue #1… or #0?
Peter’s clone from the 90s, Ben Reilly, is alive again. He’s currently hanging out in Las Vegas with Peter’s other major clone, Kaine. They share duties as two different Scarlet Spiders in Peter David’s ongoing series Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider. It’s pretty great, but keeps getting pulled into major crossovers.
Doctor Octopus is alive again, in a cloned body of Peter Parker (don’t ask). He teamed up with Hydra as the Superior Octopus (again, don’t ask) and has decided to turn hero again. He’s now in San-Francisco trying to be a hero once more, in a mini-series called The Superior Octopus, written by Christos Gage.
Miles Morales is still swinging around as himself, having been drawn over to the mainline Marvel Universe some time ago. Don’t ask, it’s another long story.
Peter Parker himself has had horrible luck in life, but has actually revealed his secret identity to J. Jonah Jameson.
What, on purpose?!
Yeah, it was a real touching issue of Spectacular Spider-Man. Other than that, his life is in the toilet as he tries to return to college to prove he’s worth the doctorate that Otto got while in his body, and recently got kicked off the Daily Bugle’s science section for the ‘plagiarism’ that kicked him into getting his doctorate again. On the plus side, he’s back with Mary Jane again.
Oh, thank God.
Spidergeddon #1 came out October 10th. If you’re looking for issue #0, it’s been out on the newsstands for a few weeks, as has the prequel four issue mini-series Edge of Spidergeddon.
If you’re interested in the previous times Morlun fought Spider-Man, they can be found in collected versions of The Other and The Amazing Spider-Man by JMS Ultimate Collection, Book 1. The second one seems to be out of print, so be prepared to dive through some back-issues instead. Or check out Comixology or the Marvel Comics App.
Spider-Verse and its various tie-in comics can be found under the Spider-Verse collections, again at your Local Comic Shop or online.