Spider-Verse General OT
In the aftermath of Original Sin, Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man, has accidentally kickstarted the Great Hunt of his longtime foe Morlun, and his family. Morlun, a vampire-like being who feeds on the bearers of avatars of animal totems, famously killed Spider-Man in one of their previous encounters, forcing him to accept The Other in order to return to life. Much has changed since these events, and now Morlun, alongside his family- Karn, Daemos, Bora, Brix, Verna and Jennix, hunt the totemic spider-god avatars across the multiverse. In short; they seek the death of every single Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Spider-Ham in the entirety of existence, and are strong enough to see it happen...unless the spiders band together across the realities and stand against their threat now.
So, who exactly are the major players?:
The Amazing Spider-Man
Real Name: Peter Parker
Bitten by a radioactive spider, great power: great responsibility- you already know him, you love him- he's the Spider-Man, tried and true. He was recently killed and replaced by Otto Octavius, but when Otto realized he wasn't up to snuff in Parker's shoes as a hero, he allowed Peter's Ghost to reclaim his body and wipe Ock's own mind out of it. Now that he's been given a new lease on life, he's overcompensating to make up for the damage done by Ock- he's a full-time Avenger, he's running his own company, and he's running circles trying to repair his relationships and friendships- but when the Web of Life is threatened, Parker springs into action to build his own Spider-Team to confront the enemy.
The Superior Spider-Man
Real Name: Otto Octavius
Formally known as Doctor Octopus, Ock managed to save his mind from his dying body by switching bodies with his nemesis- Peter Parker. In his final moments, Parker flooded Ock's mind with every memory and loss he ever suffered, forcing him to learn an important lesson he learned the hard way: Ock has great power now, and with that must come great responsibility! But wait, you ask, didn't you just say he's dead now and Pete's back? How can this be? This version of SpOck is time-displaced, from Superior Spider-Man #19, at the Horizon Labs explosion. He's been trapped in the 2099 timeline, and has begun to assemble his own team of Spider-Men to fight Karn and the hunters as only his SUPERIOR mind can allow.
Real Name: Cindy Moon
Remember when we mentioned Original Sin before? Well, the secret revealed to Peter by the dead eyes of Uatu the Watcher was that the radioactive spider that bit him so long ago, actually bit a second person on that field trip before it died. Cindy Moon was discovered by Ezekiel long before Peter could learn about her, and he had her sealed away in a New York tower, knowing that if she and Peter came together, it would reawaken Morlun and the Great Hunt would begin. Unfortunately, Peter ignored his warnings and opened her vault. Now she's spinning organic webs and using her enhanced senses to fight crime as Silk.
Real Name: Jessica Drew
Spider-Woman has never been a traditional member of the Spider-Family, and was never really seen as part of the Web of Life in past spider books and events, but nobody told Morlun and company that! Her successor, the second Spider-Woman (also Arachne) Julia Carpenter is currently Madame Web, and stuck in a coma from the shock of the events of Superior Spider-Man and the coming of Spider-Verse overwhelming her telepathic link to the Web of Life. She's recently been doing some mentoring towards Spider-Girl in the Avengers Assemble series, and between that and her natural association with spiders, it seems she's been drawn in the multiversal conflict the same as the rest of the spiders.
Real Name: Kaine Parker
Kaine Parker just wants to be hardcore, but the universe won't let him. Kaine started as the evil clone from the Clone Saga, until he was cured of his insanity and cellular degeneration during Spider-Island. Then he made his way to Houston, when he met Aracely, his teenage sidekick, and discovered something- no matter how much he might pretend to be an edgy, angsty monster, deep down inside he's a hero, and his Parker Genes compel him to do the right thing. He was recently killed by The Lobos while they were hunting Aracely- an event leading to two notable events; first, he became the new host of The Other, thus becoming the primary Spider Totem of Earth-616 and potential Morlun's most important target, and he discovered that Aracely may house the Aztec God of War inside her, and he has become its chosen champion. He's been serving as the resident "grumpy uncle" of the New Warriors, but is being called into the fight alongside the rest of the spiders.
Real Name: Anya Corazon
Formerly known as Araña, Anya became a hero after getting shot in the crossfire between The Mage Miguel and the Secret Society of The Wasps, forcing Miguel to gift her the power of The Hunter, making her his partner. He brought her into the fold at WebCorps, and taught her how to fight crime and helped her grow as a person- but she was ultimately forced to give up The Hunter's powers and leave the company after Miguel's death. She became Spider-Girl when she was given Julia's Arachne costume as a "graduation to the big leagues" present after surviving the Grim Hunt. Now she finds herself once again hunted for her association with the Web of Life, but this time her foes are far more dangerous than the Kraven family...
Real Name: Miguel O'Hara
Miguel "Miggy" O'Hara became the Spider-Man of the year 2099 the battle the corruption of the supercompany Alchemax, but the events of the Superior Spider-Man was undoing his own timeline, so he volunteered to go back into the Age of Heroes to find the temporal anomaly and correct it. He ultimately succeeded in saving his timeline, but the Alchemex team that sent him back in time to begin with severed his way back home, trapping him in the mainstream Marvel Universe. Miguel and his AI Lyla are now fighting crime while ensuring his own grandfather is protected from superhero nonsense, and as if that wasn't a busy enough schedule, he's infiltrated the current Alchemex and is working on changing it from the inside. He also went out of his way to rent an apartment numbered 2099, the ham.
What about this multiverse nonsense?
Real Name: Miles Morales
The Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe, Earth-1610, Miles Morales gained his powers when he was bitten by an OsCorp spider much like the original Spider-Man, and when he heard that Peter Parker died in a confrontation with Norman Osborn, he decided to carry on his legacy as the Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles has a few tricks of his own though; he can turn invisible with enough concentration, and his powerful Venom blasts can knock even the mainstream Parker on his ass. Speaking of, this ain't Miles first multiversal rodeo- he bro'd it up with 616's Peter Parker to fight Mysterio in the Spider-Men mini-series, and he's currently hanging out with the time displaced original X-Men team in the All-New X-Men book. He's likely going to be one of Parker's first choices for allies from the Multiverse to confront Morlun and the gang.
Scarlet Spider / The Sensational Spider-Man
Real Name: Ben Reilly
The original clone, the face of The Clone Saga himself, Ben Reilly- both the Scarlet Spider, with the ever stylish sleeveless blue hoodie, and the Spectacular Spider-Man. In the mainstream universe, Ben died at the end of the Clone Saga, and his ashes were given a proper farewell by Peter, who he had come to terms with and truly became brothers with- but in other universes Ben survived. At least one of these alternate Ben Reillys will join a team with the Ultimate Jessica Drew and 616's Kaine Parker to do Scarlet Spider stuff. Like fight crime! And brood!
Real Name: May "Mayday" Parker
The most famous Spider-Girl, from the MC2 Universe, Mayday Parker is the daughter of Peter "Spider-Man" Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Her universe deviates from the main one when she was just a baby- she was rescued by her Uncle Kaine, and was properly raised by her parents, eventually taking on the family legacy, donning the spider red and blues for herself, with web shooters and her father's powers, more or less. As one of the most beloved fan-favorite alternate Spider-People in the history of Marvel Comics, Dan Slott is sure to have a whole new world of suffering awaiting poor Mayday when the Morlun Family comes for her.
Real Name: Peter Parker
Growing up in New York City at the height of The Great Depression is a rough experience- something young Peter Parker discovered the hard way when he found his beloved Uncle Ben, having been devoured by the cannibalistic Vulture. His deep sense of justice felt from Vulture's mob ties protecting him from the law were further nurtured by his social activist Aunt May, and eventually landed him a job with Bugle Reporter Phil Ulrich. During a job, Peter was covered in spiders from an ancient relic and gained spider-like powers, which he used to bring Norman Osborn and his mob crime ring to justice. While his Aunt May convinced him to vow not to kill ever again, he's joined the Superior Spider-Man's team in fighting Karn across the multiverse- and this threat may just force him to break that promise!
Real Name: Gwen Stacey
Bitten by a radioactive spider, Midtown High student Gwen Stacey became the amazing Spider-Woman, a crime fighting hero in a world controlled by men like Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime. After a tragic battle with The Lizard, Gwen is now the New York Police Department's number one target, and her own father, Police Captain George Stacey, is leading the manhunt to bring her to justice. She's making her debut in this event, in Edge of the Spider-Verse #2, with the implications that she may just be sticking around for the long haul...assuming she keeps her wits about her and is able to survive Morlun's spider culling!
Real Name: Billy Braddock
A recent recruit of the Captain Britain Corps, a league of various alternate universe Captain Britains that police threats to the Multiverse, Spider-UK was shocked to see Morlun and his family butchering their way across the multiverse, targeting his people, and worse, they were winning. With the rest of the Captain Britain Corps too busy trying to figure out ways to deal with the Incursions that threaten the entirety of reality in Hickman's New Avengers run, Spider-UK has been deputized to travel across the multiverse and recruit members of the Web of Life to band together and stop the threat before the weave is lost forever, and the multiverse itself comes undone!
So what books should I be reading?
Superior Spider-Man #32 and 33
Written by Dan Slott and Christos Gage
The road to Spider-Verse starts with Superior Spider-Man- SpOck is back, in the form of a time displaced version stuck in the year 2099 from the events of Superior #19. These issues mark the first appearance of Karn, chronicle the first casualties of the event, and begin the long story of the Spider-Verse.
Edge of the Spider-Verse #1-5
Writers: David Hine, Jason Latour, Dustin Weaver, Clay McLeod Chapman and Gerard Way
As the name implies, Edge of the Spider-Verse is a series of one shots that take you to the fringes of the multiverse to introduce you to its many incarnations of the Spider, and get you up to speed on their histories, powers and personalities while explaining how they've gotten wrapped up in the Spider-Verse event. The first issue sees the return of fan-favorite Spider-Man Noir, while subsequent issues introduce four new spiders: Gwen Stacey's Spider-Woman, Aaron Aikman a powered armor wearing Spider-Man, Patton Parnel a horrifying Other avatar who is described as what Peter would have been had he made the wrong decision at every point in his life, and Sp//dr a giant spider-man themed mecha bonded with the young Peni Parker.
Amazing Spider-Man #7-12 (at least, further issues unsolicited)
Writers: Dan Slott
The mainline Spider-Man book will carry the primary story of the event, as would be expected from the book named "Amazing Spider-Man". The first two issues, #7 and 8, are both part of the Edge of the Spider-Verse prologue, featuring Peter and Kamala Khan teaming up while various back-ups reveal more universes under siege, introduce more characters, and follow up on the events of Superior Spider-Man and Team Spock's fight with Karn. Afterwards, it follows Peter and the Spider-Family through the bulk of the Spider-Verse storyline.
Spider-Man 2099 #5-7 (Further issues unsolicited)
Writers: Peter David
Trapped in the present, Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099 is caught right in the middle of ground zero for the Spider Family, and finds himself wrapped up in the events of Spider-Verse. Spider-Verse reunites the artist-writer team of the original 90's Spider-Man 2099 series for the first time since the book's end, and sees Miguel rally a team of spiders to deal with the dangerously ravenous Inheritors.
Scarlet Spiders #1-3
Writers: Michael Costa
In the midst of Spider-Verse, Kaine, Ben Reilly, and Ultimate Jessica Drew must come together for a mission of vital importance! There is more to their mission than meets the eye – what dangers await the Scarlet Spiders across the multiverse?
Spider-Verse #1 and 2
A two issue mini-series further covering the main plot of the Spider-Verse event.
Another mini-series, this one pairs up various members of the Spider multiverse and sends them on wacky hijinks. Not essential to the story, but if you ever wanted to watch Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham and grimdark murderer Spider-Man from the Last Stand universe team up and fight crime together, this book's for you.
A new ongoing from the... often discussed... Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land, Spider-Woman is most noticeable for the hotbed of controversy surrounding a variant cover most people will never even see in a store, but will also follow Jessica Drew, the mainstream Spider-Woman as she teams up with Silk and Anya to fight their way through the Spider-Verse.
So That's Everything, Right?
Not quite, hotshot.
The Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon has a four episode tie-in to Spider-Verse to kick start it's third season. There's also the new mobile game, Spider-Man Unlimited, which has some Spider-Verse connections as well.
Q.) So..."every Spider-Man ever"...?
A.) Well, every Spider-Man save for eight. Sony isn't allowing Marvel to use Toby McGuire's movie Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man or the Spectacular Spider-Man. Rights with DC conflict from being able to use Spider-Boy, the Spider-Man Superboy hybrid. MTV Cartoon Universe Spider-Man is off limits too. Aside from those and the three others we haven't been told about yet, the Spider-Verse is fair game.
Q.) Do I need to read a million books to understand this?
A.) Not at all! For the main story, you can totally just read Amazing Spider-Man and the Spider-Verse book and be totally fine- the rest can be picked up based on your affection for the cast or your completionist needs.
Q.) Is there any stuff I should be familiar with before starting this?
A.) You can go into this without reading anything prior if you wish, some stuff will go over your head, but it's not impossible. Reading JMS' Amazing Spider-Man run is essential to understanding the character of Morlun, the nature of The Other, and the concept of the totemic Spider God and the Web of Life. Dan Slott's Spider-Man run and Superior Spider-Man are essential to learning the current status quo pre-Spider-Verse if you care. Scarlet Spider from Chris Yost is vital to anyone who likes books that are incredible and charming. Here's a more comprehensive breakdown if you want
Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 #30-58
The first part of J. Michael Straczynski's run on Spider-Man, this series will introduce the concept of totemic spider-gods, introduce you to Morlun and Ezekial and begin to introduce the concept of the Web of Life and Spider-Man's impact and role in it.
Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1 #500-
This is still part of JMS' stuff, they just wanted to go back to the first volume's numbering scheme because 500 is a much more impressive sounding milestone than 59. The key arcs here are The Book of Ezekial (#506-508) and The Other (#525-528). The rest is all flavor text if you find yourself enjoying the run, but those two storylines are essential for the same reason as the above.
The Gauntlet and Grim Hunt (Amazing #608-637)
This storyline mostly is meant to reintroduce and evolve classic Spidey villains like Electro, Rhino and Kraven, but it also brings back the Web of Life from JMS' stuff. It's super important to the status quo of the Spider-Family today; it's where the current Spider-Girl, Madame Web and Scarlet Spider's stories really begin.
Spider Island (Amazing #663-673)
Dan Slott's first major arc in Spider-Man, this is where Scarlet Spider comes into his own as a character, and leads into the next big thing;
Superior Spider-Man (Amazing #698-700, Superior Spider-Man #1-31)
This is where Superior Spider-Man comes from, how Spider-Man 2099 gets to where he is, explains what happened to Peter Parker most recently in the comics, and is the most recent major arc that will have huge repercussions here in Spider-Verse.
Scarlet Spider Vol 2 #1-25
This follows Kaine, from the above storylines, as he goes to Houston. It further expands on the concept of The Other, introduced in the second set of JMS' stories here, and brings everything up to speed.
The Current Spider Books- Amazing Vol 3 #1-6, Spider-Man 2099 #1-5, New Warriors #1-12
These are the most recent happenings to the characters on the road to Spider-Verse.
Q.) Yo where my Symbiotes at? Why isn't Eddie in your character list?
A.) According to Slott, Symbiotes are not Spiders, even though they were referenced as being Spiders and part of the Web of Life previously in Grim Hunt. As of now, Agent Venom (Flash Thompson) is still in space with a bunch of Skrulls who claim to be the Guardians of the Galaxy. Eddie Brock was forcibly transformed into Toxin (Pat was killed off-panel to free up the Symbiote) and he's currently keeping an eye on Flash to ensure he can control the Symbiote. Carnage was last seen recovering from a lobotomy via Kaine after Minimum Carnage- he seems to be recovering, more on that later I'm sure. Scorn and Mania are MIA. All the 90's Symbiotes are probably dead by this point- either by Brock's hands when he was hunting them, or Carnage's in Carnage USA.
Q.) So, comic books, huh?
Don't forget, this isn't the only place to talk comics on NeoGAF- if you enjoyed your trip to this thread, you can always come hang out with us in the monthly Comic thread, or if you're just looking for some causal chitchat, the ComicGAF IRC channel is always down to hang out.