Spider-Man: Fever is quite the adventure. Brendan McCarthy pulls double duty and brings Spider-Man into the world of spider magic. According to McCarthy the book is an homage to Steve Ditko’s Doctor Strange stories from the 60’s, and boy is this book trippy. Spider-Man’s soul is abducted by a spider-demon who brings him to the ancient Webwaze, a dimension that all spiders call home. Doctor Strange goes in after him and it gets weird. Bipedal talking dogs, an aborigine with inter-dimensional walking shoes, a fly that used to be a man. Also, Doctor Strange rides along a river through space in a duck boat. That happens.
Spider-Man is also in this comic book! The King of the spiders wants to eat Spider-Man so he sends him off to the insect realm to prove whether or not he is a spider or a man. McCarthy explores the dual identity of Spider-Man as not just Peter Parker and Spider-Man, but as human and spider. In recent years there have been attempts to move Spider-Man’s origins towards something more to do with magic than science. We meet the spider who bit Peter all those years ago and discover its motives. It sought out Peter before and now it attempts to control him. Peter must decide if he is a man, free to make his own decisions, or a spider, with his destiny seemingly already decided.
4 out of 5 stars DC Comics David S. Goyer/Geoff Johns – Writers Carlos Pacheco – Penciler Jesus Merino – Inker Guy Major – Colorist
Virtue and Vice is your elevator into the DC Universe, if that elevator suddenly went into a freefall and dropped you down into the sub-basement. It is a perfect sample of what the DCU can offer and is a great introduction into the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. There are no origin stories, no hard hitting narratives; instead, Goyer and Johns cut out a healthy slice of continuity and offer it up as an appetizer to impress you.
The heroes here are not iconic, but current (2002 current). Unless you’re a DC Universe continuity cop, you probably won’t be familiar with everything. Nothing is explained to the reader up front, but rather through the progression of the story answers can be found. It’s not outright confusing, but you just have to deal with the fact that Wally West is the Flash, Kyle Rayner is the one and only Green Lantern, JLA headquarters is on the moon and Lex Luthor is President (yes, that was a thing that happened). Several references are made to previous stories that took place in each teams’ ongoing series, JLA and JSA, but an unfamiliar reader can simply pass that off as ‘casual’ conversation.