Edge of Spider-Verse #5
Writer: Gerard Way
Art: Jake Wyatt
Colours: Ian Herring
Letters & Production: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Edge of Spider-Verse series has thus far given readers many great, original and exciting new takes on the Spider-Man mythos. From Spider-Gwen to Dr. Aaron Aikman, these new characters have been a treat for the pro-arachnid community. Looking to go out with a bang, Marvel has saved the best for last with their final installment Edge of Spider-Verse #5 and the introduction of SP//dr.
The book marks the Marvel debut of writer Gerard Way. For some he is the former front man of My Chemical Romance, and for others he is the Eisner Award winning writer of Umbrella Academy. Way brings a lot of elements from his last story, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, to the table. Issue #5 tells the tale of Peni Parker, a young girl chosen by a magical spider named… well, SP//dr, to protect neo-New York. SP//dr is an arachnid that grants the chosen one access to a mech-suit and bestows upon them the radical powers that one would associate with a spider-mech-suit.
Way’s interpretation of the Spider-mythos reads like a neo-punk-rock opera. Peni Parker is a hip character. She’d rather blast the latest rock hit (or however the reader chooses to interpret Cult Summer’s newest jam) than listen to the advice of her handlers, Aunt May and Uncle Ben. From team-ups with a bad-ass Daredevil to dealing with being a celebrity, Peni’s world is one ripe with possibility. If Way would like to continue to flesh out this series as an ongoing, many would be on board. But, and there is a but: this is a fun, fast book that unfortunately screeches to a halt. All that time spent with Peni and SP//dr makes the reader forget that there is a crisis brewing throughout the multiverse. When the end comes, it ruins Way’s flow leaving the reader both enthralled and ticked. It’s no fault of Way’s, however. The issue is a tie-in issue, and his is but a piece of a very big puzzle.
Way has a habit of working with some truly inspired artists. Being an artist himself gives him a clear vision of his work creating a unity throughout the pages. Jake Wyatt brilliantly showcases Way’s vision. The opening splash page starts with a literal bang and never lets up. The character designs are brilliant and seeing Peni in action is a visual treat, much like his work on Ms. Marvel.
The colours and the production are top notch as well. Ian Herring keeps the book draped in reds and blues invoking the spirit of Spider-Man page after page. Clayton Cowles, who brought a lot of rock n’ roll energy to Edge of Spider-Verse #2 with his letters and production continues the trend here. The morphing of his captions into Peni’s psychedelic mind state during a drug infused battle is wonderful. The entire creative team has crafted quite the pretty package.
Way’s Marvel debut is nothing short of fantastic that only falters when readers are forced to remember that Edge of Spider-Verse #5 is not an ongoing. But until that end it’s a wild trip that will have the reader turning back the pages. Welcome to the Spider-Verse, Peni Parker and Gerard Way. We’re happy to have you.