For all the weirdness and trippy elements of Brendan McCarthy’s “Spider-Man: Fever,” the third and final issue has some genuinely heartwarming elements. Everyone comes together to fight against the Arachnix and he ends the mini on a cute, cheesy moment that works perfectly as a final summation of this Steve Ditko tribute book. In the end, this mini has been a fun ride of high adventure and wacky action, and definitely one of the most noteworthy books Marvel has published recently.
With the spider that bit him, Spider-Man has ventured out into the wilderness to slay the Sorrorfly or have his own soul eaten by the Arachnix, spider beings of a different dimension, but, together with Dr. Strange and some of the mystical beings Strange encountered last issue, he teams up to take on the Arachnix. Despite the simplicity of the issue, McCarthy makes it play out like high drama with Spider-Man risking his very soul to fool the Arachnix with a fake Sorrorfly and a feeling that everything in the series has been building to this moment.
McCarthy’s sense of humor comes through strongly in this issue with some funny jokes about a magic wand saving the day, Dr. Strange confused over the magical enchantment “Harrah-Harrah!” needing to be said backwards to break a spell despite it being a palindrome, or Spider-Man’s confusion at what happened when he finally wakes up. Despite the stakes, he keeps thing light at the right moments to remind us that this is just a fun adventure story. There’s a genuine feeling of old school superheroics here, a sense of heightened emotions of all kind, not just the dark ones. If the danger is big, so must the laughs!
While McCarthy’s writing is wonderful, his art is even better. That sense of high adventure and superhero fun carries on to the art with the slightly unnerving sight of a green and purple Spider-Man or assistance coming from a pair of dogs. Even the Sorrorfly, which suggests something horrifying by its name, is a goofy, cartoonish looking being. The leader of the Arachnix wears a wide-brimmed hat! With garish coloring that overload the senses, the intention here is clearly to have some fun and entertain by presenting a different sort of Spider-Man story with him thrown into Dr. Strange’s territory.
Despite it being published under the Marvel Knights imprint, “Spider-Man: Fever” #3 wraps up a series that reaches back in time and presents a classic team-up story with something for readers of all ages. Brendan McCarthy captures the magic of the Silver Age Marvel books and filters that magic through his sensibilities for one of the most fun and exciting reads of the year.