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Marvel's End of Spider-Verse begins with a death, a return, and several wrestling-style surprise heel turns in Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott and Mark Bagley

Dan Slott’s Return to Spider-Man was huge! Here’s everything that went down.

Spider-Man #1 (2022) cover by Mark Bagley
Image credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics' adjective-less Spider-Man title returns October 5 with a new storyline, and two classic Spider-Man creators: writer Dan Slott and artist Mark Bagley. They're together to kick off what Slott is calling 'End of the Spider-Verse,' bringing to close the longrunning storylines of Spider-Man, his Spider-Man variants, and all the heroes (and villains) that have grown to become part of the Spider-family.

Slott and Bagley's Spider-Man #1 had a lot of surprises. Let's dig into them!

Warning: Spoilers ahead for October 5's Spider-Man #1.

Dan Slott’s history with Spider-Man

Morlun vs Spider-Man (Peter), Spider-Man (Miles), and Silk (art by Mark Bagley)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

2022’s Spider-Man #1 is the latest chapter in Dan Slott’s long history with Spidey. Slott’s creative relationship with Spider-Man began in an unusual place – Ren and Stimpy. Back in 1993 when Slott was the writer for Marvel’s Ren and Stimpy comic, he inserted a fun Spider-Man cameo in Ren and Stimpy Show #6. Slott was never shy about his love for the Webhead, and regularly included him when he wrote other series like Thing and She-Hulk.

In 2007 Amazing Spider-Man was retooled, and began publishing three times a month under a team of rotating writers, including Dan Slott. In 2010 Slott became the sole writer of Amazing Spider-Man. His run was a commercial and critical success, leaving behind a legacy of major events. Slott’s solo run saw everyone in New York get spider-powers in the Spider-Island event. He temporarily killed off Peter Parker and had Doctor Octopus take over his life in the Superior Spider-Man storyline. He wrote the first Spider-Verse event, which had Peter Parker team up with various Spider-Men (and Spider-Women) across the multiverse. That storyline inspired the 2018 Academy Award winning film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

In 2018 Dan Slott left Amazing Spider-Man after over a decade on the title. By the end of his run he had written more issues of Amazing Spider-Man than any other writer, a fact editor Nick Lowe points out in the Spider-Man #1 letters page. Slott went on to write other Marvel heroes, such as the Fantastic Four, but never stayed too far away from Spidey, including him in his titles when it was possible. Spider-Man #1 is Dan Slott’s grand return to Spider-Man, and this time he’s partnered with Mark Bagley, one of the most prominent Spider-Man artists.

Bagley had a lengthy run on Amazing Spider-Man in the '90s, as well as over 100 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man. In the letters page, Nick Lowe claims that Mark Bagley has drawn more Spider-Man than any other human being. Fun fact, Mark Bagley penciled the first 616 Spider-Man story Dan Slott ever wrote back in 1995. Venom Super Special #1 contained a backup story by Slott and Bagley that focused on Jean DeWolff’s friendship with Spider-Man. Now the creative duo have reunited, bringing Slott’s relationship with Spidey full circle. The only thing missing is Ren and Stimpy.

What happened in Spider-Man #1?

Spider-Man Noir and his special friends (art by Mark Bagley)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

What went down in Spider-Man #1? A lot! If you thought Spider-Man #1 was going to be an inconsequential satellite title, the first issue will prove you wrong. Spider-Man’s day is interrupted when the spider-powered villain Shathra sends a plague of insects to attack him. The arrival of Morlun also puts the Webhead on edge. For those who are unfamiliar, Morlun is a supernatural villain who first appeared during J. Michael Straczynski’s run.

He was the main villain during the original 2014 Spider-Verse event, where he ate dozens of Spider-Men (and Spider-Women) across multiple realities. So yes, Peter has good reason to be agitated by his arrival. Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Silk, and Spider-Woman soon arrive to lend a hand. Just when you think things can’t get any crazier, Spider-Man Noir arrives via a dimensional portal. Spider-Man Noir shocks everyone by stabbing Spider-Woman with a weapon designed to remove her from the Web of Life. Jessica Drew slowly fades from existence as the other spider-themed heroes watch in horror.

At that moment Morlun reveals that he didn’t come to fight Spider-Man, he came to help him! According to Morlun, Spider-Man will be facing a threat even greater than the Inheritors he fought during the first Spider-Verse event. Spider-Man Noir tells them that this new threat is higher in the food chain, then presents the heroes with a bargain. They could switch to his side, or be erased from the Web of Life like Spider-Woman was.

We get a better look at Spider-Man Noir, and he appears to have mutated. His eyes are more spider-like, and he has giant arachnid fangs. The final splash page cliffhanger reveals the other spider-themed heroes who have joined Spider-Man Noir’s cause. Spider-Punk, Ghost Spider, and Spider-Woman (Mayday Parker) enter the scene through an interdimensional portal, with all three of them looking like corrupted spider-monsters.

What is End of the Spider-Verse?

End of the Spider-Verse title card
Image credit: Marvel Comics

Morlun is on Spider-Man’s side, Jessica Drew has been erased, and a bunch of iconic spider-heroes have been corrupted! There’s a lot to unpack, and this is just part one. Spider-Man #1 is the first chapter of End of the Spider-Verse, an event that promises to rock the Web-Slinger’s world. According to a press release from Marvel, the event will see the end of the Spider-Verse, but what that means remains to be seen.

Prior to the release of Spider-Man #1, a limited series called Edge of Spider-Verse set the stage for the event. The anthology told stories about various spider-themed heroes across the multiverse but a variety of creative teams. End of the Spider-Verse is also coming at an interesting time, as Sony Pictures is preparing to release their animated sequel Across the Spider-Verse on June 2, 2023.

Will this be a Crisis on Infinite Earths type event, destroying worlds and heroes in the Spider-Man multiverse? Don’t forget, many multiverse variants of Spidey were killed off in the first Spider-Verse event. Characters like Miles Morales are probably safe, especially because he’s getting a rebooted series in December. However, characters like Mayday Parker don’t have the same guarantee. Morlun is one of the toughest villains Spider-Man has ever faced, so any threat that has him scared must be a big deal. What force has corrupted Spider-Man’s allies, and is their turn to evil permanent? The first chapter of End of the Spider-Verse has left us with many questions, but we won’t have to wait too long for answers. Spider-Man #2 will be released on November 9. Let’s hope Spidey can survive the experience.

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