Spider-Man: Velocity #4 Shows Just How Fast A Spider Can Go
by James Ferguson
The Marvel Gamerverse expands with Spider-Man: Velocity, featuring a new, original story not seen in the insanely awesome Playstation 4 game. Peter Parker has created a special suit to catch up with a speedster moving so fast that she might as well be a ghost. He’s found that this young woman, fueled by anger, is moving at such a speed that the very air around her is bursting into flame. She’ll die if he can’t get through to her.
I’m still not entirely sure how Spider-Man’s new suit works to speed him up, but I’m going with it. One thing that this mini-series has really highlighted (as seen in the game too) is the scientific side of Peter Parker. The guy’s a genius, after all, so if anyone can figure this kind of stuff out, it’s him.
This speed presents a problem because he’s moving so fast that the city looks frozen in place. You can hear a pin drop in Times Square, although to Spidey, it would take an eternity for it to hit the ground. Artist Emilio Laiso draws the wall-crawler many times in single panels to show just how quick he’s speeding around the area. There are little speed lines on his body, like he’s phasing in and out.
Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg gives these after-images a faded look, so they’re translucent. The colors in the costume blur a bit, extending off the suit itself, like they’re trying to keep up with its wearer. One interesting and important item that pops up is how the electronic billboards in Time Square are blank. In this case, the absence of color is shocking, especially in this space that’s usually filled with so many flashing images.
There’s a segment where Peter has to wait a whole ten seconds for an experiment to process. This might as well be a million years with how fast he’s moving, so he goes out on patrol. It turns out it’s way easier to fight bad guys when they can’t move. This leads to some pretty funny scenes. Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum fills these scenes with snappy, although one-sided dialogue as all of Peter’s jokes fall on deaf ears. The idea of all these criminals suddenly finding themselves webbed up out of nowhere definitely makes me smile.
The majority of Spider-Man: Velocity is spent with Peter just figuring this out. He’s presented with a problem that he must solve or this young woman’s life will literally go up in flames. If this was a movie or TV show, it might have been shown as a montage. Instead, we get to really dig into the character’s head to better understand what he’s thinking and how he comes at the potential solution.
Peter’s internal narration is shown in not-quite rectangles with translucent red borders. Letterer Travis Lanham gets at the techy nature of Spidey’s new suit with this style.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane is interviewing the girl’s mother, getting to the bottom of her origin story. There are some humorous moments where Peter has to communicate with MJ, but is moving so fast that she can’t hear or see him, so he has to leave her a bunch of weird notes.
Spider-Man: Velocity is exactly what I wanted from the Marvel Gamerverse. The video game was fantastic so I’m glad to see this world expanding into further stories. This could have been a short side mission in the game. Here we get to see it play out on a deeper level with some big ties to some of the other elements in the universe.
Spider-Man: Velocity #4 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.