Review: Absurdity Abounds In ‘Spider-Ham #4’
by James Ferguson
It seems Spider-Ham isn’t the only annoying screw-up on his world. The same can be said for Kang(aroo), the animal version of Kang the Conqueror, who was banished from the Kang Collective for being too wacky. It seems the time traveling villains hate being associated with this version so much that they decided to destroy the entire world he came from. Get ready for the oddest team-up you’ll read all month.
Spider-Man is usually the funny one in big events. He’s the one cracking jokes and breaking the tension. That’s definitely not the case in Spider-Ham #4, where he plays the straight man to a literal cartoon. Even he realizes how absurd this whole thing is and is just trying to get through it without the entire planet being wiped off the map. Plus, he just wants this to end so he can go back to living his normal life fighting guys with robot arms and alien creatures.
Writer Zeb Wells does a great job playing up the cartoony elements of Spider-Ham. The laws of physics are more like guidelines and this book gets even more meta than Deadpool. This issue in particular ties up an interesting aspect from a previous chapter where Spider-Ham was peeking through to later parts of the story. I love how this came around.
There is a fantastic gag parodying Avengers: Endgame in Spider-Ham #4. If you wanted to sum up this series in a single sequence, it’s this one. It’s crazy, hilarious, and pretty awesome. Letterer Joe Caramagna keeps the jokes moving at a nice pace, stretching the laughs out to just the right amount of time.
Artist Will Robson does some brilliant character work in this issue. There’s an impressive amount of Kangs early on, each with unique characteristics and each stranger than the last. Each has a specific Kang-ness to him, making it very clear that these are all different versions of the same character. Even with that, Kang(aroo) sticks out like a sore thumb. He’s rounder and softer than the others because he’s a literal cartoon.
This aspect has been a constant throughout this series, blending the regular Marvel Universe with the cartoon world. Robson blends the two very well, lending to the fun adventure. There’s an adorable quality to the cartoons, even with those meant to be villains. I can’t remember all their pun-filled names but how can you not love a bird Hawkeye and a kitty Captain America?
Every page of Spider-Ham #4 has a faded look to it. Colorist Erick Arciniega makes this comic look like an old-school strip. This is an interesting choice given the usual bright, vibrant nature one associates with cartoons, however it’s fitting since the Kangs are draining the color from this world. I’m curious if it will revert to the usual lively palette after the villains are dispatched.
Spider-Ham has been an absolute delight, building on one absurd idea after another. This is the kind of sheer lunacy you can expect from a character like Peter Porker and it’s pretty great. Usually Spider-Man is the fun one in the crowd, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Spider-Ham. Parker just has to try to keep up with this one.
Spider-Ham #4 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.