As Spiders from across the Multiverse congregate, the Inheritors draw ever closer to attaining their goal: eliminating the spider totem once and for all. Under Captain Universe Spider-Man's protection, the Spiders discuss their next course of action -- until the biggest, baddest Inheritor crosses their path with a devastating debut. In "Amazing Spider-Man" #11, Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel -- with an army of inkers in Grawbadger, Livesay, Olazaba and Morales -- provide another fun, if formulaic, chapter in the "Spider-Verse" event.
As an issue, "Amazing Spider-Man" #11 is compact, offering steady doses of adrenaline, poignancy and shock. As an installment in an event, however, it simply isn't as strong, being that the story follows the same formula as all the ones that came before it: a congregation of Spiders, a little infighting, some interdimensional shenanigans, and the death (or near death) of one important Spider. Granted, the death in this particular issue ramps up the stakes, but it follows a little too closely in the footsteps of the issues that came before it to be distinguishable from the other chapters.
Nevertheless, the issue hits a lot of the right notes with emotionally packed moments, some honest laughs and a promising cliffhanger. Perhaps the most enjoyable sequence is the much-teased, extremely satisfying showdown between Peter Parker and the Doctor Octopus that took over his body; where the fight is gratifying for a whole host of reasons, it's outcome -- and Peter's ensuing nobility -- highlights the gentle strength of Peter's outlook and his ability to compromise his personal vendettas for the sake of the bigger picture, which in turn is satisfying in its own right. This attitude pushes forward into Peter's poignant (if all too brief) interactions with Spider-Gwen. For all this brawling and sentimentalism, the issue takes a moment out for a good laugh as Miles Morales and Peter Parker of "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon infamy enter the world of '60s cartoon Spider-Man, wonderfully drawn by Coipel to mirror the show's iconic (and meme-ified!) style. Likewise, the conclusion promises to take the story in a fresh direction with a genuine bait-and-switch shocker, perhaps even breaking the mold of this formulaic event arc as we've seen it thus far.
Coipel and his team of inkers take a much more grounded approach for everyone's favorite Spider-Man with thicker bodies and proportional faces, as opposed to regular series artist Humberto Ramos' hyperbolic, cartoony style. Nevertheless, Coipel carries the motion with action that bursts from one panel into the next, with feats that look impressive but not backbreaking. He handles the plethora of Spiders with a certain grace, squeezing them all into frame in an organic, clear way with distinguishing traits that make it easy to tell them apart with a glance. As the Spiders bounce around the Multiverse, he adapts his style accordingly, like his wonderful homage to the 60s "Spider-Man" cartoon and the spot-on design of "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon's Peter Parker. Coipel does tend to leave too many lines in the face, which in turn makes some characters -- like Peter -- appear a little older and more weathered than they should. Colorist Justin Ponsor keeps the atmosphere as grounded as Coipel's art by using gentler colors like gray for the background, which in turn makes the Spiders' trademark red and blue pop. He spins one particularly gorgeous scene with the Master Weaver, filling the panels with a soft yellow glow that capitalizes on the view of nebulous space between the Weaver's threads.
As an event, "Spider-Verse" is spectacularly fun and "Amazing Spider-Man" #11 continues that trend, however formulaic the plot. Dan Slott and Olivier Coipel up the stakes with a dramatic death and a new baddie that -- hopefully -- will shake things up for the Spiders.