Vault of Spiders #1 is a series of vignettes tied loosely into the broader Spider-Geddon event. Herein, we find four very different Spideys each doing their part to make the multiverse a better place.
These spider-stories don’t yet seem to have any direct impact on the broader event so far. It’s early, of course, and given that Spider-Geddon already involves plenty of timey-wimey stuff, we may yet see these figures find their way into the broader narrative. Even if not, they’re still some interesting takes on the standard web-slinging formula.
Different authors take up writing duties for each of the four tales here. A brief prologue sees Karn scanning the different worlds in search of more spider-people to recruit, providing a framing device for the book.
Two stories in Vault of Spiders #1 borrow concepts inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. First up is The Web-Slinger, a cartoonish spider-cowboy story about a Lone Ranger figure armed with web-blasting six shooters. The fourth tale, Savage Spider-Man, features a young Peter Parker raised by giant spiders in The Savage Land.
An original story, Spider-Byte, offers a world that seems based around a very early-90s impression of the future of the internet. People experience the world wide web (get it?) plugged-in to clunking VR headsets. We also meet a new spider-person, Margo, whom I’m hoping we’ll see later.
All three are engaging, though we don’t get to know our characters all that well. That said, I think the real standout story of Vault of Spiders #1 is Final Galaxy Battle! This one is based on the legendarily-weird, Super Sentai-styled Supaidāman live action series produced in Japan in the late-70s. The settings and dialogue mirror the original show’s off-the-wall vibe. Plus, any Spider-Man story involving the line: “Dictator! You were not democratically elected! You cannot extinguish the burning vigor of a man! I yearn for your destruction!” …is fine in my book.
The writing can feel a bit stilted through these four stories, and most of the plot points are completely absurd. However, that is a large part of the charm.
The visuals throughout Vault of Spiders #1 vary as much as the stories they illustrate. In The Web-Slinger, artist Javier Pulido and colorist Muntsa Vicente go for a very bright, cartoonish look with limited detailing. In contrast, artist Juan Gedeon goes for a more realistic, kinetic feel with Savage Spider-Man.
Spider-Byte is reminiscent of the look of Marvel’s Ultimate universe comics from the early-2000s, providing a nice throwback to match the story.
As with the writing, though, Final Galaxy Battle! stands out most among the tales. The artwork pays homage to classic mecha manga of the ‘80s, with stellar, stylized lettering work to match. It’s fun and flashy, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s unclear as of yet how much the characters introduced in Vault of Spiders #1 will play into the broader Spider-Geddon event. But even if they go unused in the narrative, it’s still a fun little batch of standalone stories. Nonessential, but I’d recommend it.