Yes, we missed last week and it was my fault. I wasn’t able to get both books from last week and I was finishing my preparations for Detroit Fanfare. But, this week we have a Giant-Sized Spider-Island column!
In the SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN one shot we see Spider-Woman tasked with the mission of locating Alicia Masters and taking her to Reed Richards. He thinks Masters might hold the key to curing everyone, because way back in Marvel Two-In-One #29-32 (July-Oct. 1977) Hydra kidnapped Alicia and mutated her into a spider-hybrid, and it took the combined might of Spider-Woman and The Thing to stop her. Reed thinks that her mutation might have made her immune to the Infestation and may also hold the key to curing it.
On her way to where Alicia is, Spider-Woman has a run-in with one of her villains, Gypsy Moth, who is now a gun for hire. A very well-drawn fight ensues, and Alicia becomes the monkey in the middle, of sorts. As Moth tries to take her to her employer, Spider-Woman cannot even speak because of Moth’s silk around her mouth. The situation gets more interesting when Moth takes off with Alicia and The Thing shows up!
It seems one of Gypsy Moth’s powers is telekinetic control over clothing. She can change out clothing looks, and she makes Spider-Woman’s costume look like hers! Ben doesn’t know it’s Spider-Woman, who still can’t talk, and only knows Alicia is gone and he wants her back!
In the end, Spider-Woman saves Alicia and Gypsy Moth is defeated.
This is another one shot that, as I was reading it, seemed pretty pointless. The writing of Fred Van Lente is fun and fast and it is complimented perfectly by the art of Giuseppe Camuncoli, but was there really a point to this? Maybe…
Nick Spencer and Emma Rios‘ SPIDER-ISLAND: CLOAK & DAGGER #2 (of 3) continues to be really sweet! So, we know that Mr. Negative has learned his fate: death at the hands of Dagger, but what will he do about it? Well, it seems that he won’t try to stop it, he doesn’t think you can stop fate; instead he simply wants to help Dagger ensure his death is honorable. He’s really odd like that. I’m beginning to think that this this miniseries is something of a cheat. What I mean is, the only real mention of Spider-Island here is towards the beginning with Dagger and her friend who also has spider-powers, and then enters the final stage of the mutation only to be saved by Mr. negative and his Demons. Beyond that, this is a Cloak & Dagger series. I have no problem with that. Nick Spencer has made these character very interesting, while the art of Emma Rios is like observing a dream at times. Actually, the beginning of this issue is a dream, and it looks fantastic along with the final page of Dagger under Negative’s influence.
I’m beginning to really hope this becomes a launching pad for this duo. I don’t think they can support an ongoing series, but a series or miniseries might be exactly what they need. Especially if we can get another story or two out of this creative team!
Part 4 of Spider-Island begins with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #670 and this issue shows the way to construct an event. While Mayor Jameson is trying to save his city from the Infestation we begin to see more widespread instances of the mutation as everyone, citizens and heroes alike, become monsters! Even Hawkeye succumbs! Spider-Man tries to take Shocker and Carlie to Horizon to get them help but their change makes them unrecognizable in a city full of giant spiders.
Spider-Queen recounts her origin and early run-ins with Spider-Man and Captain America. I don’t think it’s a very honest version though, she is the main baddie here. She tells of being experimented on saying she is part Spider and part Super Soldier. She also tells how she was able to get Captain America and turn him into her Spider-King!
Meanwhile, Anti-Venom has his hands full as people flood to the church he’s hold up in. Seeing the monsters others have become they are not begging him to cure them!
As everything gets more and more out of control, Mayor Jameson decides enough is enough. The minds of Horizon and Reed Richards have not made any progress, and he refuses to let his city become Spider-City and takes things into his own hands. He had a plan!
Spider-Man, trying to figure out how to stop this madness comes across Jameson’s motorcade being attacked by spiders, and for the first time EVER we see Spider-Man and JJJ slinging web and taking down spiders! While exciting, it means Jameson can be controlled by the Spider-Queen. She’s hoping when this control is complete, she can use him to relax the quarantine allowing her Infestation to leave the Island!
Meanwhile, we get the ending of the Spider-Woman one shot and also discover, from Venom #7, that the cure may reside within Anti-Venom and all it will cost is his entire suit effectively ending his run as Anti-Venom!
Jameson reveals his plan to Spider-Man: He’s captured Alistaire Smythe: The Spider-Slayer and plans to use his expertise in killing spiders to free his city but the Queen’s influence prevents it as Jameson enters the third stage and mutates, falling completely under the Queen’s control and he takes out Smythe!
All this and Mary Jane finally gets her Spider-Powers!
Before I go any further I want to say that Dan Slott has outdone himself with this issue. There is so much action going on here, flying at you fast and fierce, yet it doesn’t feel like it was shoved in or complicated. It flows very well and the level of excitement here is maintained from cover to cover! Again, my hat goes of to Slott for a story well done! As for Humberto Ramos, I simply cannot say anything new about his art here. It’s clicked into place and could not be any better.
Wrapping up this set of books is SPIDER-ISLAND: DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #2 of 3. Shang-Chi’s dreams are becoming more about what’s to come than simple dreams. With the help of Silver Sable, he’s able to locate the Bride of Nine Spiders who has taken Iron Fist captive. Simply put, this issue continues the same excitement and interest of the first issue. Of all the Spider-Island tie-ins this one was the one I had the least amount of interest in, but it’s become just as much fun as every other book I’ve read in this story.
The search for Iron Fist gives more insight into Shang-Chi and the fight sequences flow smoothly and are almost moving on the page.
This issue wraps with Fist being saved and Shangi-Chi entering the mutation phase of his powers. His mutation is very interesting. Let’s just say the next issue should be called the Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu!
This is another perfect package book. The writing of Antony Johnson and the art of Sebastian Fiumara & Leandro Fernandez is right up there with Cloak & Dagger. A more perfect combination couldn’t have been put together for this specific book. I can say this because I have never had even the remotest interest in Shang-Chi, but now? I kind of hope he sticks around Amazing Spider-Man after this wraps up.
Phew! There was a lot of action going on here and I was pulled in and nothing was pulling me out until these books were read.
We now enter October, the final full month of this event and I simply cannot wait for a chance to rest! This is, without a doubt, the most exciting event I’ve read from Marvel in years. This event has the same level of excitement that the first 2 issues of Civil War had. Unlike that one, though, this one just isn’t letting go!