If you’ve read my first Know Your Spider-Verse article, you’ll come out of it knowing the names of every “spider-totem” in the Marvel Multiverse. I wrote that article back when all we had seen was the last two issues of Superior Spider-man and that not much had been revealed. Now it’s November and Spider-verse has officially started this past Wednesday! I’ve seen a ton of people wanting to know more about Spider-verse and the last article didn’t really tell you much about the story. So my aim for this article is to catch you up on the tale! SPOILER ALERT! I will be going through everything released before Amazing Spider-Man #9! If you haven’t read Superior Spider-man, Edge of Spider-verse, Amazing Spider-Man #7-8, or Spider-Man 2099 #5, and are planning on it, don’t keep reading.
Before I begin I want to fill you in about the antagonists in this series. If you’ve been reading Amazing Spider-Man since 2001, you’ll know who Morlun is, but for those of you who haven’t been reading that long I’ll fill you in. Morlun is a vampire like being who can travel between universes and feeds off of the totems (a core source of power/essence) of the chosen universe. He found Peter Parker back in Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 #30 and realized that Peter had a pure spider totem within him, and even though Peter survived their first encounter, Morlun had touched Peter, allowing him to be able to find the spider totem anywhere in any universe. Morlun is one of the scariest and fiercest of Spider-Man’s enemies, almost outranking Venom in how many times he’s almost killed Spider-Man.
In Spider-verse we are introduced to the rest of Morlun’s family. Centuries ago in Earth-000, Morlun’s family which I’ll call the Inheritors (of Reality), tracked down the Master Weaver, an unexplained powerful being (supposedly a Peter Parker from Earth-000) who can control realities with the webs he creates. The Inheritors originally arrived with intent to kill the Master Weaver and eat his essence. The youngest Inheritor, Karn, was supposed to strike the Master Weaver first while he was distracted but Karn hesitated, causing the Weaver to notice them, breaking the strand of his web that dissolved one of the Inheritors out of existence. They instead captured the Master Weaver, masked and exiled Karn for being weak and causing his brother’s death, and began to avenge their fallen family member by hunting down the spider totems almost exclusively. Using the enslaved Master Weaver is how Morlun is able to travel between universes. So Morlun’s entire family has spent centuries finding and killing spider-men and women (and occasionally other totems like the panther totems such as Black Panther) and finally they’ve gotten to our beloved 616 universe. (EDIT: After the events that happened in Spider-Man: The Other, Morlun is somewhat afraid of 616 Peter Parker. He has a personal vendetta against this specific Peter mainly because he was the only spider to ever beat an Inheritor. Peter defeated Morlun twice during that story. Morlun is saving this Peter for last and wants to eat him himself!)
The Edge of Spider-verse began with a horrific start. In Superior Spider-Man #19 there was a scene where Spider Ock disappeared for 9 hours due to a temporal implosion, only to come back into the comic raging and yelling but with no memory of the past 9 hours. Back then we just laughed it off, but what we didn’t realize was that during the temporal implosion Spider Ock got ripped through time and spit out in the year 2099 where Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) had come from. Spider Ock starts to use the future technology to build a time machine that can take him back to his time, but instead his machine takes him to other universes. He first got to Earth-771 where he found the corpse of Spider-Man from the Fantastic Five. Confused he jumped again trying to get home, landing him in Earth-10294 (House of M) and Earth-TRN443 (alternate Civil War universe) to find that the Spider-men in those universes had been killed by the same weapon as the others. He eventually develops a way to track the energy signature of the killer’s weapon and follows it to find Karn, Morlun’s exiled younger brother trying to murder other Spider-men.
He tries to beat Karn one-on-one and even tries a few two & three-on-ones versus Karn, but Karn is unfathomly powerful and manages to stay alive no matter what they thrown at him. Spider Ock finally decides Karn is too powerful and escapes with his life and that of the Spider-heroes he comes across. He manages to save several of these alternate reality Spider-men (and women… and monkeys… and pigs) and begins to jump to each reality so he can to find and rescue each Spider-person before Karn gets to them, in hopes that after building up a Spider-Team large enough that they can eventually defeat these terrifying villains. In Superior Spider-Man #33 we see the first glimpse of Brix and Bora, Karn and Morlun’s siblings who are twins. They are coming after the same spider totem Karn was and managed to get all tangled up in the fight, causing a huge battle between the siblings and Karn and allowing the Spider-heroes to escape. This is our first glimpse that there are more villains than just Morlun and Karn after the spiders.
During the five issue long series Edge of Spider-Verse we are introduced to a number of different Spider-heroes. #1 introduces us to a fan favorite of Spider-Man Noir. This is Peter Parker from the 1930’s and he is quickly attacked by Karn who magically appears from another universe. Just like in Superior Spider-Man, Spider Ock jumps in to rescue Noir and bring him into the Spider-Team. Edge of Spider-verse #2 introduces us to a now ultra-fan favorite (with an upcoming series because of the response to she received) Spider-Girl aka Spider-Gwen. This is a universe where Gwen Stacy is the one bitten by the radioactive spider. In this issue you don’t see an Inheritor attack. This issue served to show us how Spider Ock has sent out Spider-men to track down and recruit other spiders from the Multiverse, as Spider-UK shows up at the end of the issue to bring Spider-Gwen into the fold. Edge of Spider-Verse #3 brings us into the universe of Dr. Aaron Aikman, a Spider-Man from a futuristic Earth-TRN449. We get back story on him and how he becomes Spider-Man, but this issue ultimately ends with Morlun himself entering into the universe and supposedly killing Aikman.
This goes to show us that not every Spider-man can or will be saved. They are still out there dying no matter what the Spider-Team is doing. Edge of Spider-Verse #4 was a horror story about a boy named Patton Parnel who was bitten by a radioactive spider and has a horrible mutation because of it. He gained all of Spidey’s powers but also inherited the other traits of a spider. He ends up eating a bird, then a rat, then the kid next door, then the school bully and his abusive Uncle Ted. Yes eating. As in he can unlock his spider-jaw to the size of a person. Almost worse than that, he decides to bite the cute red head Sara Jane, implanting his spider-babies in her. Before he ends up doing more evil, Morlun arrives and immediately destroys this spider totem. This issue really goes to show that not every spider totem in the Multiverse is good or worth saving really. Edge of Spider-Verse #5 is a much lighter tale set in an almost anime type universe with a girl named Peni Parker, who’s spider DNA allows her to pilot a special Spider-Man “Jaeger” like mech suit. This is another issue that ends with Spider-Ham and Old Man Spider coming to recruit Peni to the Spider-Team.
Another interesting side to the Edge of Spider-verse is the side of Miguel O’Hara. So far we’ve been talking about Peter Parker, mostly because 70% of the Spider-men we’ve seen so far were Parker or bitten by the spider that should have bit him. We forget that a Spider-man from the actual 616 future is in the story, but rest assured Morlun and his family have not. They’ve been killing Miguel’s in other universes too, as he is a spider totem as well. In Spider-Man 2099 #5, Miguel starts to have crazy visions every time another version of himself gets killed by an Inheritor. Spidey 2099 of Earth-98120 gets killed in Avengers Tower in front of Captain America and Wolverine (who couldn’t scratch Morlun either!), and the Earth-616 Miguel sees it. Well the Miguel from Earth-6375 has had the same visions and built a device to transport him to other universes just like the Superior Spider Ock did. This Miguel decides to start his own Spider-Team of Spider-men from 2099 and immediately starts with the Spider-Man from Earth-616, but as he’s crossing over, Morlun shows up and kills him! This happens in front of our 616 Miguel and alerts him finally to Morlun’s motives.
The last part in the lead up to Spider-verse is in the Amazing Spider-Man comics themselves. In The Amazing Spider-Man series, Peter meets a girl named Cindy Moon aka Silk. She was bitten by the same spider that bit him. She tells him at first she can’t leave her confinement or else Morlun will be able to find them and they’ll all be in danger. Having had beaten Morlun ages ago, Peter tells Cindy that he did so and convinces her to leave the cell. This may or may not have anything to do with the overarching story, but I figured I’d tell you that part anyways. Seems like too much of a coincidence that Morlun started causing havok in 616 so soon after Cindy is released! Well in the back of Amazing Spider-Man #7 we get an Edge of Spider-verse epilogue. This shows Morlun, Brix and Bora feeding on other spider-totems like the Spider-Man from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon, Spider-Man Unlimited, Spider-Cat and a few more. In the end of this issue we meet Daemos and Jennix, more of Morlun’s siblings and Inheritors.
Jennix basically tells Daemos that their father Solus wants him to come home, because a new hunt is about to begin. As they warp away we see Billy Braddock of Earth-833 (aka Spider-UK of the Captain Britain Corps) watching Daemos via a Cerebro like device. This causes Billy to report his findings to the Captain Britain Corps leaders, who in turn realize that there is an evil destroying the spiders who weave the thread of life. They give Spider-UK a device that allows him to travel along the threads of the web of life (and cross universes) to find other Spider-heroes in danger and save them. This leads him to Spider Ock’s Spider-Team. Finally, in Amazing Spider-Man #8 there is another epilogue showing Spider-Girl aka Mayday Parker from Earth-982 being attacked by Daemos. Daemos ends up killing her father Peter and mother Mary Jane, and intends to go after and eat May and her baby brother Ben. Before he can chase her down, Old Man Spider and Spider-UK warp in to rescue and recruit Mayday to the team.
This brings us to the newest issue of Amazing Spider-Man #9 which I won’t spoil yet because it’s the actual start of the main event that is Spider-verse. This article was mainly to catch you up to this point, but you can read my review on Amazing Spider-Man #9 here. There is also Spider-verse Team-Up #1 out this past week as well. This team-up comic is more like the epilogues we saw after Amazing Spider-Man as well as the Edge of Spider-verse issues. They’re mostly members of the Spider-Team going around to different universes saving other spider totems and bringing them to safety away from the Inheritors.
I hope you guys enjoyed this catch up and feel like you understand the event! Let me know in the comments what you think, if I got something wrong, if you have any guesses as to what will happen, if you have any questions or simply let me know which Spider-Man is your favorite! Go check out the Spider-verse comics out now, trust me you won’t want to miss this event! They have some amazing comics planned, like Scarlet Spiders, Spider-Woman, more Spider-Man 2099, more Amazing Spider-Man and they’re pulling Spider-men like Miles Morales and Jessica Drew from the Ultimate universe into 616! All Spider-fans ought to be as giddy about all of these books as I am! I’ll see you after Spider-verse is all over in Know Your Spider-verse Part 3!