SPIDER-ISLAND: DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU #1 (of 3) by Anthony Johnson with art by Sabastian Fiumara, inked by John Lucas, closes out the first part of Spider-Island! The heroes are still facing off against the Spider-Men who have infested New York and are having a heck of a time with it. Meanwhile, Shang-Chi is having nightmares about being a spider and killing people. I can’t wait to see what this is all about.
The story then takes us to him and Madame Web watching over the Heros Vs. Spider-Thugs battle and a conversation about Shang-Chi’s future being a bit fuzzy. But this is soon put aside when he sees his good friend Iron Fist in the middle of the action. He jumps in to do what he can. We soon learn that Iron Fist has had the same dreams and is just as confused as Shang is. But when a woman who looks like she did all her shopping in 2003 at Hot Topic shows up, things get really interesting. Iron Fist takes off with her and Shang follows them. The mystery here thickens when Fist is attacked by this woman and she soon takes out Shang and, well, I’m not really sure what’s going on after that! Shang is knocked out and Fist is taken off as a meal.
Much like Cloak & Dagger, this book featured a character I never knew much about and didn’t care. Kung Fu comics never interested me, but, as part of this story, which does continue from the stories of Shang training Spider-Man in the main title, they’ve held my interest thus far. There is a tight continuity in this event as we are seeing the same event over and over but from different perspectives. While the writing makes Shang interesting, the art adds more than its fair share. It flows like a kick from Bruce Lee. It’s simply fantastic. For a book I had no interest in when it was announced, it pleases me to say this is one I’m looking forward to reading more of!
The action continued in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #668 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos! This might be a surprise, but after all we’ve seen and been through so far, this issue begins the SECOND part of Spider-Island!
So, it’s EVERYONE Vs. Spider-Men right in the middle of the city! The problem is Spider-Man is in the middle of it. He’s quickly told to leave for his own safety. The heroes don’t want to worry that they are clobbering the real Spider-Man every time they take out one of the thugs with Spider-Man’s powers. It does make sense, but Peter isn’t happy about it.
So, after changing into his civvies, Peter meets up with Norah Winters who is, naturally, in the middle of this reporting for the Daily Bugle without care for her safety. This is where it gets fun, especially for Peter. Since EVERYONE has Spider-Powers, he can claim to have gotten them as well. He takes Norah’s camera and has MJ video him. The feed is live on the Bugle’s website (don’t ask what MJ was doing there, she just kind of showed up), anyway, he puts out a call to action to all the people who don’t want the world to think the thugs with Spider-Powers are all there is in New York. His speech is very heartfelt and a great expression of the way Peter’s mind works. It also puts a lot of decent people on notice and they decide to take a stand. It’s regular New Yorkers with powers teaming up with the Heroes to take out the thugs and it’s pretty darn cool! Once the dust settles, Mayor Jameson quarantines the entire island of Manhattan! Peter, in the meantime, is enjoying being able to do his web-slinging without his costume and has some small but impactful moments.
He’s then put in charge of trying to re-purpose some of Spider-Man’s enemies’ weapons to better help the Anti-Spider Patrol handle the situation better. Carlie has other plans though. She thinks she’s figured out who is behind all this and goes to find a way to tie the Jackal to this Infestation. Oh, and before you think this was all there was in this issue: Both Venom and Anti-Venom make appearances. Madame Web mentions their interactions and remarks that this is the end for one of them!
Overall, Spider-Island is still the best story going in Marvel today. I know a lot of people were put off by the name and what little of the concept was known before the story began, but I’m here to tell those people to check this story out! It’s got all the action and excitement, with just enough drama and character moments, to make it a classic Marvel event. This is how comic book events should be done. Dan Slott has put something very special together here, and, what surprised me is, much like the Annihilation events, it’s taking characters I normally would ignore and making them interesting.
Will this be the start of a new run of books for Cloak & Dagger and Shang-Chi? Who knows, but look what Annihilation did for Nova and Rocket Raccoon. As for Ramos’ art, what can I say that I already haven’t said? I’m on record as loving this guys art, so just about anything he does here is going to be aces in my book!
Oh, and in Amazing, there was a nod to one of the possible names for this event when Peter refers to this as the Spider-Pocalypse, great way to fit that in, Slott!