On Battleworld, in a zone run by a power-stealing tyrant known as the Regent, Peter and Mary Jane live with their young daughter, who's developed Spider-powers of her own.
After being out of the action for years for the sake of his family's safety, Peter was forced back into it when one of the Regent's superhuman scans turned up results of a super-powered being at Annie's school. The Parkers were drawn out by the Regent and his Sinister Six, and are now exposed. Peter ended up captured by the Regent, while Mary Jane and young Annie have been taken in by the shadowy SHIELD resistance, who are about to mount a final stand against Regent.
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Assistant Editor:||Devin Lewis|
|Artist:||Adam Kubert, Scott Hanna|
|Cover Art:||Adam Kubert and Jim Campbell|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
In the Regent's stronghold, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Prowler and Dagger all attack Regent at once. Regent says he used up Dagger's partner Cloak many years ago, but that it'll be nice to have a complete set, and blasts them all with an energy beam. Hawkeye fires the modified arrow with the inhibitor technology at Regent, but he catches and crushes it, saying his "spider-sense was tingling", the spider-sense power he's stolen from Peter.
In a statis chamber, Peter thinks that he's slipping away, and his thoughts are not on "dodging bullets and pumpkin bombs", but of the milestones of his life: meeting and marrying Mary Jane, the death of Aunt May and the birth of his daughter.
MJ and Annie pop through a portal, coming upon some scientists who analyse and monitor Regent's stolen powers from the heroes in stasis. One Doctor Stillwell is in some of Regent's proto- armor that gives her enhanced strength, but Annie Parker makes short work of her ("Tag! You're It!"). Mary Jane puts on Stillwell's armor, while Annie goes about smashing all the stasis pods.
Regent crashes through the wall, demanding to know who's tampering with his powers. Peter wakes up in his pod, thinking his family needs him, and gets enough of a boost to crash out of his pod. Maskless and in the black costume, he tackles Regent and they go crashing out the top floor of Regent's building. Landing on the street, they continue to fight. Annie starts to rush to her father's aid, but she's stopped by Hawkeye, who says she can't go out there. Regent says he wants Peter's spider-sense, but that it doesn't have to be Peter's, he can use his daughter's. At that point, Annie lands and takes out Regent with the power-inhibiting arrowhead that Hawkeye gave her.
It makes Regent's costume / armor melt off. Joined by Mary Jane still in the armor, they all three attack Regent at once. Annie gets too close and Regent grabs her by the throat, saying she has all the power he needs. Peter pretends that he is surrendering, and just asks that Regent takes care of his family and pays his daughter a quarter a week for allowance. "Only a quarter" Regent asks. Peter says yes, that he pays in spider-cents. This makes Regent laugh, so Peter takes the instant to punch his lights out. Mary Jane asks Peter "if our daughter were in real danger, would you have killed him?" (I thought Annie was in real-enough danger). Peter doesn't answer.
The surviving members of the resistance come and take the depowered Regent away. The story ends with the Parker family having banana pancakes for breakfast.
And so ends this five-part miniseries, with a decidedly happy ending for the Parkers. It's a continuity that is full of potential to revisit, as new heroes would come along to replace the ones slain by Regent, and Annie Parker would continue to explore her abilities. I wouldn't be surprised to see a follow-up mini or full series set again in this world.
This is undoubtedly the most I've enjoyed a current issue of Spider-Man in years. Why does this incarnation resonate so well? Because here, readers are given a Peter Parker to root for, and are presented with a version of the character who has something to lose. The story has a particular kind of tension that's been absent from the main series for a long while.
Annie Parker herself is a great example of making a new character compelling and likable without coming off as forced. It's only the Regent himself, a particularly uninteresting villain to the very end, that brings this series down a bit, as well as some more cartoony / corny dialogue among characters.
Humorous and heartfelt, this is probably some of writer Dan Slott's best work on the character. 3.5 out of 5 for this issue, which is also the average grade for the series overall.