SPIDER-ISLAND is the most 80s "What If..." book in all of SECRET WARS, and that's meant in the best way possible. It reads and feels like a classic book that's tucked away in its own little corner of Battleworld.
What really makes this issue work as a full piece is the way writer Christos Gage pieces it all together. There's a great sense of nostalgia to the work here with how it all plays out. Right off the bat, the heroes come together and make their plan, then put it into action. Watching the team work together, during this battle, was one of the highlights of the issue, especially because Captain America is a wolf. Sorry, but that just got me very giggly.
While the art does depict a sense of fun and moves everything forward, there was actually one page that was very rough. There's this full page of a group of dinosaurs going to attack the spiders and the dinosaurs look rough. At a quick glance, everything looks alright, but when the reader really takes a look, everything looks a bit off and they come off as a bit more alien than anything else. In addition there's a couple times, right in the opening, where Peter Parker's face changed and his eyes were higher on his head.
Regardless of that, artist Paco Diaz and colorist Frank D'Armata deliver some fun art which is a mixture of the old and the new. There's tons of moments in the issue where the visuals read like something from the 70s or 80s. It gets a bit over-the-top as the battle rages on, but that's something that really works for this book and story, something that's endearing about the art. And as always, D'Armata just does a phenomenal job with the colors.
In addition, there's the continuing Spider-Girl story, featuring characters from the M2 universe. Again, it continues to be fun, just like the main story, and Sal Buscema and colorist Andrew Crossley give this book a late-90s feel with the art, which is great for the M2 characters. It's a nice addition to the overall book.
Overall, the issue provides an entertaining story and giant spiders getting punched in the face. Sometimes, that's all you need in life. This amusing tale is paced out very well and for the most part, the art is pretty great. There are a few times, early on, where there are problems, but overall, this was a solid issue.