In Web Warriors #3, the Battery – the multiverse-spanning Electro collective – takes the fight back to the Web Warriors, and the big bad of the bunch goes on a major monolog to bring readers and characters up to speed at the same time. Yes, monologging can be perceived as lazy, but it really shouldn’t be. In this instance, writer Mike Costa applies the monolog as a McGuffin to move the tale along. It could also be perceived as a tribute to less cynical comics. You know, the types of four-color fantastical tales that included reality-bending pseudo-science, talking animals, and monologging villains.
A tribute. A throwback. A joy. That is what Web Warriors #3 is. It’s not the most polished comic book to come out in 2016, but it’s far from the worst (and I will guarantee that!). It’s a fun tale that bounds across realities with the flip of a page and the tag in a panel (aptly applied by letterer extraordinaire Joe Caramagna). From the cover that features a pig in a superhero costume (Spider-Ham) doing battle alongside one of the most thoroughly engaging breakout characters of the past half-decade (looking at you, Spider-Gwen) against scads of Electros limited only in scope by Julian Totino Tedesco’s imagination to the final panel of Gwen flashing a knowing smirk, Costa and company beg readers to unclench, relax, and have some fun.
Sure, bits of this are as silly as a geriatric bouncy house, but silly brings the smiles and makes the story vibrant. Costa reminds readers that comics are fun, and the monolog pins it all right in the center of any assessment of Web Warriors #3. Of course Costa weaves a really cool concept into that monolog, one I didn’t see coming and one I wish to see more stories about, but the writer also takes that tease away, guiding readers back onto the story track.
As a younger reader, nothing would help me drop a book faster than a team book tightening the spotlight on one single character over and over again. While I haven’t gone back to verify the offense, that is what I recall of Chris Claremont’s original run on Excalibur, and one of the reasons I just never went back to the series, despite it featuring my all-time favorite mutant, Nightcrawler, and my third or ninth favorite X-person, Rachel Grey. Web Warriors could easily become a Character-X and the Web Warriors comic, but Costa balances the cast nicely. Costa doesn’t assign a visible quota for characters, but he does provide weighted contributions, giving readers opportunity to lock onto characters, whether from sheer visual connectivity or from a fight sequence, or unexpected (but much enjoyed) conflagration contribution.
Artist David Baldeon (and his varied trio of inkers: Walden Wong, Victor Olazaba, and Livesay) draws everything and then some. At least when it comes to the characters in Web Warriors #3. Action figure companies need to thank Baldeon for including a Sorcerer Supreme version of Electro, as well as a gorilla, a luchador, and an anthropomorphic lizard. If only action figures weren’t so darn expensive. There are plenty of peg-warmers here waiting to make the leap.
Not every character needs an action figure, nor does Baldeon draw simply for marketing to ogle. The artist’s storytelling is sharp and fluid, gliding through the pages like a webslinger floats through a skirmish. Some of the humans are downright goofy-looking (that luchador I mentioned earlier), but Baldeon makes each one visually striking. If this comic were around when I was a kid, I’d bust out the tracing paper and go to town, consuming every variation of Spider-Person and Electro equally.
The beauty of it all is that this comic is still holding fast to a safer-than-most-for-all-ages presentation in story and art. Yes, Baldeon uses comic extremes in his anatomical choices, but those extremes are measured and reasonable – exaggerated muscles and spectacular movement. Again, it all works. Even the various line weights and shading choices from Wong, Olazaba, and Livesay. Their styles vary in their treatment of Baldeon’s art, but they work together throughout the pages of Web Warriors #3, perhaps aided by the crazy environs of this issue’s action.
Web Warriors #3 is a solid, fun read. This is the type of comic that I’d read as a kid and it’s the type of comic I’d purchase now, regardless of whether or not I’m reviewing it. Comics are a source of entertainment and inspiration. Yes, they’re ridiculously expensive, but that’s your own personal battle to fight. Figure out how you want to spend the cash, and, if you find yourself needing to lighten the load by four bucks, give this book a go. It’s widescreen fun with ridiculous sets and bombastic action. As a big budget movie, Web Warriors #3 would be one of the biggest to budget, but it would also have people entertained the whole time.