Comics : X-Men & Spider-Man: Time's Arrow Book 3: The Future
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
This book is one of a recent series of novels based on Marvel Comics characters, produced by Marvel Comics/Byron Preiss Multimedia, and published by Putnam. This trilogy is also the first-ever novels to feature a cross-over between Marvel's most popular character, Spider-Man, and Marvel's most popular team, the X-Men.
X-Men & Spider-Man: Time's Arrow Book 3: The Future
Aug 1998 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "The "Time's Arrow" Novel Trilogy"
Now that everybody's back home (including Aliya, who barely manages to escape the wiping out of her timeline), it's time to send them time-travelling again! Xavier and Blaquesmith both have managed to fix the Time Displacement Core.
Oh, yeah, Kang's also found the timeline that he was searching for, the one with Ravonna in it, and now he's going to set off all the energy gathered from the time arrows, and he's going to destroy everything except for the timeline with Ravonna in it.
But first, let's send our heroes to four separate possible futures to find the time-machine that send those time arrows into the past, so that they can track the time arrows to their place of origination, and hopefully end Kang's plan for once and for all.
Bishop, Iceman, and Wolverine all go to the year 3,000, where they end up in an abandoned spaceship filled with slugs with acid blood. And, oh yeah, they also get to fight the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Cyclops and Phoenix head to the 2035 timeline, where they meet their "granddaughter," Dream. Shame for them that they have to fight a whole bunch of Sentinels.
Spider-Man, Cable, and Aliya leap to 2020, where they get the thrill of fighting Iron Man 2020, and Spider-Man also gets to meet his daughter, May "Spider-Girl" Parker.
Beast, Gambit, and Storm travel to the 2099 version of the Savage Land, where they have to fight the X-Men of the 2099 era.
Of the four teams sent out, only two succeds in finding the time machine. Storm, Gambit, and Beast all are transported into Limbo via the time machine, while Spider-Man, Cable, and Aliya manage to bring the time machine to their time period and use it to track down Kang's whereabouts.
Kang's already armed the time bomb, and he transports the "shielding device" that'll protect a timeline from being destroyed in the time explosion to the timeline with Ravonna in it. Unfortunately for Kang, he also transported Beast, Gambit, and Storm alongside the shielding device.
Back in our time and universe, the crew manages to track down Kang's stronghold, and they head to Limbo to stop the time bomb from exploding. Unfortunately, they can't.
Fortunately for our heroes, then, that Kang manages to accidentally kill Ravonna, and this distracts Kang so much that Gambit, Storm, and Beast are able to send the shielding device back to Limbo. The problem is, somebody has to stay behind to operate the shielding device to make sure that it can surround the time explosion.
Cable volunteers to stay behind, and sends everybody back to their home, except for Aliya. As Cable's ready to send Ailya away, she bashes him on the head, and sends him home, then sacrifices herself to save the timelines.
In the end, it's revealed that Immortus was behind the whole thing.
Oh, and Spider-Man does make it to home in time for supper!
I'll be honest here. This was, as far as I'm concerned, the best story to come out of the Marvel novels that's been published over the past few years. It was truly entertaining, and I was just totally digging it on every page. There were a lot of cute and amusing in-jokes that made me chuckle, such as Spider-Ham and "Batman" in the first book, and Forbush Man and White Rabbit in the second book.
The action scenes were all well-written, and kept me eagerly flipping the page, curious to see what would happen next. The characters each really fit their scenes (An example: Beast and Wolverine, both of whom look sightly devolved, were sent to prehistoric time).
It was very easy for me to notice that three different authors wrote the three different books. Book One, for me, was the most pure fun, while Book Two felt the most well-paced. In my opinion, Book Three felt like it lagged a bit, but my stepfather absolutely loved Book Three the most, so what do I know?
I really loved the parallel world shown in Book Two. That version of X-Men were wickedly evil, and it was very interesting to see a version of Spider-Man where everything "goes right" and see how it would've affected how Peter Parker ended up.
The basic plot was very entertaining. I would dearly *love* to see this story done in comic book format. A 12-issues maxi-series, perhaps? Oh, I'd change some things (such as having Spider-Man meet MC2's Spider-Girl, instead of the version in the novel), but this story in comic book format would simply be excellent.
In short, this trilogy was a lot of fun and very well-written. That's why I give this ...
Five whole webs! Very highly recommended! If you love Spider-Man or the X-Men, walk, nay, run to the bookstore (or go to Amazon.com) and get this ASAP!