Comics : Spider-Island: Secret Wars #4

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This review was first published on: 6 Nov 2015.

Background...

Marvel's multiverse has been destroyed and all that remains is Battleworld! If you're unfamiliar with the latest Battleworld it is a "patchwork planet composed of fragments of worlds that no longer exist." Clear enough for you? Great!

Secret Wars: Spider-Island is one of those fragments and, you guessed it, this world is based on the Spider-Island event that ran from Amazing Spider-Man #666 to #673. This domain is now the Kingdom of the Spider-Queen and she works hard to make sure all its inhabitants remain under her mind control.

After rescuing a group of Spider-Man's ex-girlfriends, Flash and his freedom fighters were ambushed by the Queen's Spider-minions. Luckily a selfless act by Tony Stark, garbed as the Iron Goblin, allowed Flash and the others to once again evade death at the hands of the evil Queen.

In Detail...

Spider-Island: Secret Wars #4 (Story 1)
Nov 2015 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Battleworld's take on Spider-Island
Editor:  Nick Lowe
Assistant Editor:  Devin Lewis
Writer:  Christos Gage
Artist:  Paco Diaz
Lettering:  Travis Lanham
Colorist:  Frank D'Armata
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Having safely navigated themselves away from the Spider-Queen’s forces for a second time, Flash and his team regrouped at the abandoned Avengers Mansion. Flash insists the embattled team must take the fight to the Queen, Spider-Woman does not agree. Eventually the team, once again, appoints Flash as their leader; so they agree to follow his plan. Peter gives Flash his stealth Spider-suit to use in combination with this Agent Venom gear.

As the team prepares for battle, Flash is fortunate enough to have the newly converted Lizard-ladies (MJ, Betty, Sharon and Carlie) willing to fight alongside him. Flash’s strategy to defeat the Queen revolves, yet again, upon using a distraction to occupy the Queen’s forces. To that end, Stegron arrives at the Natural History Museum with his retrogeneration ray and he reanimates a dinosaur army sending them directly at the Queen’s spider-minions.

The distraction works as Agent Venom and the rest of this team attack the Spider-Queen at her headquarters, the former Avengers Tower. The heroes manage to subdue the Queen but they waffle as to whether or not they should kill her in order to end her mind control over her subjects. As the team debates over moralistic implications of killing a prisoner, the Spider-Queen morphs into a giant-monstrous-Spider-thing. It appears as though the debate as to whether or not to kill the Queen died alongside the team’s chances to survive!

In General...

Couple of gripes here. Once again we find ourselves in the repeat-machine reading an almost identical tale told in the prior issues. Flash is, once again, not convinced he can lead yet his team, once again, convinces him that he can do the job. Definitely a disappointment with that aspect of the story.

Aside from the redundancies, the story also seems to be losing some cohesiveness and consistency. Recall that the entire city (which is a lot of people!) is under the Queen's mind control and the heroes have consistently stated that they are dangerously outnumbered. Yet after a simple distraction with Stegron and his dinosaurs, Flash and his team are able to ambush the unsuspecting Queen. How was that possible? How was she not protected by a huge army of Spider-minions? I'm reading this thinking, how could she not be anticipating a second attack, Agent Venom had done that to her twice already?!

The team's quibbling over whether or not to kill the Queen (which eventually led to her gaining the advantage on the group) was almost comical. Let's assume there was a debate, shouldn't they have handled that prior to attacking her? Why would they wait until then to have that discussion?

Sheesh, this mini-series went off the rails quickly. Let's hope the creative team rights the ship.

Overall Rating...

Continuing on the downward trend of the prior issue, this one did not have umph it needed to keep me intrigued. Hopefully the series finale can rescue this one...