Spider-Island was writer Dan Slott’s massive epic storyline from 2011 that somehow manages to be very subtle at the same time. The result is a fun story which has a butt load of fun. Peter Parker thinks that the least of his troubles is going to be Aunt May shipping off to moving to Boston when everyone in Manhattan–every day citizens and street criminals alike–winds up gaining spider powers.

So who is behind this arachnipowered mess?

Slott drudges up the Jackal (the green monstery looking fellow behind the ridiculous Clone Saga of the 1990s) and the even more obscure Spider-Queen. The duo has planned to turn everyone in New York into some sort of mindless spider/human hybrid that she conveniently has control of. There’s also two giant monster-sized spider creatures that are the transformed versions of Steve Rogers and Kaine (the sometimes villainous Peter Parker clone that has survived all these years).

As Spider-Man has to team up with the Avengers and the rest of the NYC based heroes to stop this, Slott does a great of balancing how this effects Peter personally. Peter’s girlfriend Carlie dumps when she finds out he’s really Spider-Man. He also has some weirdness with ex-girlfriend Mary Jane along the way.

The collected edition contains a few tie-in issues from the Venom series, with Flash Thompson having to balance his duties as a super hero with spending what little time he has left with his terminally ill father. There are also a bunch of scenes with both Flash-Venom and the Anti-Venom (the original host of Venom Eddie Brock now has a symbiote called Anti-Venom), and there is a bit of a weird love triangle between the two of them and the venom symbiote. Eep.

Ultimately the story ends with both Spidey and Anti-Venom being the heroes of the day, as the symbiote could cure Jackal’s mutations. The best scene in the story by far is when Peter records a viral video of himself encouraging everyone to use their powers for good and to not use them to loot the city.

Art on this was handles mostly by Humberto Ramos and Stefano Casselli, who I’ve been a huge fan of since his days on the Devil’s Due GI Joe stuff. I can’t describe what it is exactly  that I enjoy about his work, but it just does it for me.

Spider-Island was definitely a fun read. A great book to bring along while on vacation or at the beach.

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