Initially this was the Edge of Spider-Verse issue I was absolutely the least interested in, the concept of a robo-suited Spider-Man seemed neither new nor interesting to me, but I certainly was mistaken. The way Dustin Weaver handled this installment of Edge of Spider-Verse was just perfect, and this is the title I want to see more of. Forget "Spider Gwen", Spider-Man Noir or any of the other Spideys that we have seen so far and will see going forward, I want more Aaron Aikman: The Spider-Man!
Like the previous issues of Edge of Spider-Verse, this is a one-and-done issue that tells the tale of one of but many Spider-Men (and women) throughout numerous versions of the Marvel multiverse. This particular issue, like the previous one, tells the tale of a brand new Spider-themed hero that we as readers are meeting for the first time, but hopefully not the last.
Weaver begins this issue by providing a succinct origin story and introduction into the primary threat of the reality this Spider-Man resides in. There is some great art on the first two pages that encompass traditional panel-by-panel storytelling, 1/3 vertical splash diagrams and wonderfully nostalgic trading card art that reproduces the 1990 Marvel Universe trading card series. Weaver manages to tell a complete, sensible origin and set up while only using up two pages of the comic, it's brilliant storytelling and really allows him to properly pace his story over the next 18 pages without having to cram things together. Absolutely perfect storytelling.
Following the origin portion of the book, Weaver continues the story by building in more setup that takes place in the current time period, and draws in other aspects of his primary villain, Naamurah, and the former love interest of his protagonist, Kaori Ikegami. If you include this secondary setup, Weaver manages to take up only four pages of the story to weave the origin and story setup together, and by page five he is tying the setup into the present, and we as readers are completely caught up on all relevant pieces of the narrative that led to the present situation. Again, the storytelling is completely brilliant.
The remainder of the issue depicts Aaron's battle with someone he believes to be Naamurah, as well as his ultimate uncovering of what Kaori has been hiding from him, and the world, for years. As Kaori divulges her secrets to Aaron, he rushes to combat the oncoming threat that he now knows will be 100 times as difficult as he had originally thought. The final page of the issue shows Aaron, as The Spider-Man, halted by a new figure that he doesn't recognize (but we, as readers, do), and that figure blocking Aaron's path tells him that his story ends here, and that he can't be the hero that world needs.
Just STUNNING stuff from Dustin Weaver here. As a long-time Marvel/Dark Horse artist, I knew going into this issue that I would be getting solid art in this issue of Edge of Spider-Verse, but what I wasn't expecting was that the story would dwarf the art in terms of quality. While the art is beautiful, the pacing and overall finesse that Weaver tells this story with is something that I definitely wasn't expecting. After reading this there are two takeaways for me.
1. I want more of Dustin Weaver's, Aaron Aikman: The Spider-Man
2. I want more of Dustin Weaver's writing
So, if by some stroke of good luck Nick Lowe, Axel Alonso or Joe Quesada happen across this review, GET DUSTIN WEAVER ON MORE AARON AIKMAN: THE SPIDER-MAN, NOW!