Review by Ian Keogh
All Warzones titles take as their starting point either an alternate future or past, or a world where peoples’ lives moved in another direction from the main Marvel continuity. As in Peter Parker and Mary Jane remaining married, and now with an infant child. If Parker thought maintaining a relationship, a job and a superhero career was tricky, that’s exponentially raised via the addition of his daughter.
That, however, is a secondary problem under Dan Slott and Adam Kubert. Superheroes are missing, and some are turning up dead. A spectacular opening chapter explains the who and the why, and ends with Slott cleverly twisting the old Spider-Man standby of what great responsibility entails. In desperate times it’s a substantial cost. That continues to be extrapolated as the second chapter opens a few years later, a period in which Spider-Man has remained unseen and a villain called Regent has become all-powerful. From there Slott involves a whole squad of Spider-Man’s villains with an agenda to track him down and matters become ever more desperate.
Slott keeps us guessing throughout the entire story. As this is a Warzones title there’s no guarantee Spider-Man’s going to win and everything will be okay in the end, and the tension is seat-squirmingly cranked up. This is not least because Slott keeps switching back to Mary Jane and Annie, both of whom are wonderfully personalised. MJ is resourceful and supportive, and Annie isn’t a three foot creature spouting adult dialogue, she has the fears and reactions appropriate to her age. It’s surprising how often even better writers don’t convince with children, and that’s definitively not the case here. There’s also a clever variation on an iconic Spider-Man moment to look forward to and a few punch the air moments.
Kubert is also excellent, his visual nuances add to the characterisation and his exceptional talent and years of refining it ensure a story well told and action that thrills.
Considering the number of X-Men Warzones titles, Spider-Man was considerably short changed with a mere three, but this is by some way the best of them and a match for any other Warzone experience.