Writer: Jason Latour
Art Team: David Lafuente, Rico Renzi, VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: June 26, 2019
We got quite the title on this comic book right here, introducing, the Spider-Man Annual presents: Peter Porker Spectacular Spider Ham. Now if that isn’t a title that at least makes you do a double take I don’t know what would. So to introduce things here, do you like Spider-Man? Do you like Pigs? Do you like spider’s bitten by pigs that then turn into Pigs with the equivalent strength of a Spider? If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions my friends, than continue on, and lets discuss together the Spider-Ham Annual (for short).
I was actually intrigued when this title was announced, even going as far to mention it on the Patreon exclusive Sales and Solicits Podcast a few months back, in the top ten noteworthy solicits talked about during that episode. So did the hype I put in my own brain live up to the product at the end of the day? In all honesty not really, but there are still a few moments here anyway, that managed to make me chuckle or smile.
As the issue begins we see Spider-Ham, traveling into Earth 616 via his inter-dimensional transporter, only members of the Web Warriors posses, as the only hero able to withstand RingMasters Hypno-Hat. I’ll be completely honest, beyond that I have no idea of much that occurs after Spider-Ham arrival. It really suffers because of the art transitioning poorly from scene to scene. Add that to the craziness of the scene and the over abundance of characters contributes to the confusion of the scene. Eventually RingMaster picks up one of the inter-dimensional transporters, sends himself off somewhere, and we move on … for now. Not a great start I’ll be honest, but we as comic fans have endured worse, so we move on.
From there, it’s back to Spider-Ham Earth Proper (Earth-8311), as we see a bored/depressed Spider-Ham struggling to deal with his day to day responsibilities. Spider-Ham is bored with his lot in life, because with his villains now missing, he’s spending his time just sleeping on the job, not much seeing a point to hero life without them. Even his performance at his day job is suffering but J.J.J. here makes these scenes. Eventually a dream sequence, leading to the appearance of Spider-Guin, brings a bit of the fun back into our title for a bit. The two decide to combine forces in a team-up to find Spider-Ham’s villains, heading off to another Earth-28204, running into Parker Peterman, a six armed Spider-Man who is a bit of a celebrity on his Earth.
In a roundabout way, once on Earth-28204, the story comes full circle as the group runs into Ringmaster once again. This leads to a giant fight sequence, and some Spider-Ham goofiness, but if you ask me just not enough of the over the top stuff I was looking for coming into this title. It’s present but I found a lot of the jokes, beyond the simplest of puns, just didn’t hit the mark the way I wanted them too. The Spider-Ham, who was present in the Into the Spider-Verse movie was a blast, however this comic book just doesn’t do a great job of capitalizing on that momentum for the character coming out of that flick, leading to sort of a missed opportunity.
If you find yourself just not in the mood for wackiness in your comic books, the moment you pick this issue up to read, I would suggest you put it back down, then slowly walk away, and resume regular activities because you must be in the right mindset to enjoy this title. I found a lot of the humor just missed the mark for me, it just didn’t tickle my funny bone in the way I anticipated, and while the art was decent, it didn’t do enough heavy lifting, or make itself stand out enough, to make this title recommendable especially at the inflated price tag of $4.99.
Overall, Spider-Man Annual was a bit of a miss, that failed to truly capture the essence of the character Spider-Ham in an attention grabbing matter, or even continue traction the character may have picked up from the Into the Spider-Verse movie. The art was nice enough to provide the book with an animated touch, but there are some transition issues in the beginning of the book that really throw the reader for a loop, before settling back into a groove. If you absolutely need Spider-Ham right now, grab one of the True Believer centered around the character for a better value.