Spider-Girl #88

Background

While the Fantastic Five (minus Psi-Lord) are off in the Negative Zone, a Skrull worldship appears and frees Apox, the Omega Skrull. Apox quickly bashes his way through the MC2 heroes and arrives at the F5 headquarters, which is promptly encased in a force field that will blow up and take Manhattan with it. Apox battles his way through the F5's kids and Psi-Lord, as well as Spider-Girl who shows up just in time to get pummelled along with everyone else. Apox disappears into the Negative Zone, and Spider-Girl is the only one left conscious enough to follow him. (Background or full-fledged 17-second review? You make the call!)

Story Details

  Spider-Girl #88
Arc: Part 3 of 'Family Business' (1-2-3)
Editor: Molly Lazer
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

All of the next generation F5-ers are alive but still trapped in a soon-to-be-exploding building. Spider-Girl, meanwhile, has commandeered a skimmer and is pursuing Apox into the Negative Zone (quite the adventure for a girl who has yet to receive her driver's license.) She quickly spots Apox, who is heading for the F5's space station, and rams him with her skimmer. Oddly enough, he takes offense, and is mad enough that he brushes off Spider-Girl's warning that the force field is a bomb and the Skrulls are selling him out. Just as he gets the upper hand, two large asteroids converge on Apox and slam into him, barely missing Spider-Girl.

The culprit, of course, is Psi-Lord who admonishes Spider-Girl for running off on her own. Apox blasts his way free and, failing to see the two heroes, continues on his way. Psi-Lord orders Spider-Girl to follow his lead and the two pursue him to the station.

Back at Midtown High, Sandra Heally is looking for May, but Courtney Duran doesn't know where she is. She is scared to death, and the reason is soon obvious as her cheesed-off, girl-beating boyfriend Howard confronts the two of them.

While this is happening, Spider-Girl and Psi-Lord reach the station on Franklin's skimmer and enter through the large hole in its side. They fly into the structure only to have Apox come crashing into his skimmer. "It's the Fantastic... uh... whatever!" The original thing is less than thrilled with Apox for attacking their kids and is busy clobbering him through every available bulkhead and piece of machinery. In doing so he destroys all of the skimmers and knocks her into the room where Sue Storm is being held, defenseless due to the strain of holding closed the rift in reality. The rest of the F-whatever charge into the room to protect Sue, while the now-scarred Reed Richards notices some energy readings and discovers what needs to be done.

Lyja and the Thing hold Apox down long enough for Reed to slap a doohickey on Apox's chest that siphons off the "power cosmic." Reed, getting a face-full of the energy himself, channels the power into the rift in space and manages to close it. In doing so he saves his wife, defeats Apox, and heals his own scars in one fell swoop. (Hey, the guy IS a genius, after all.) Sue Storm can now be revived and return to her life.

That is, of course, if something can be done about the force field/bomb back on earth. Reed Richards has a device that can "deactivate the solar bomb and harmlessly return the energy to space." The only problem is that without any of the skimmers, they won't be able to navigate the distortion zone and return to the real world. Spider-Girl, however, jumps in and says that her spider sense is up to the task, so the Thing takes her outside and chucks her toward home. May bounces from asteroid to asteroid, hits the distortion zone, shoots off two webs with the aid of her spider sense and pulls herself through the portal. She gives the device to Doom and the resulting feedback K.O.'s the Skrull worldship.

Soon afterwards, the Fantastic Family are reunited with Sue Storm. "What do you know?" Spider-Girl thinks. "A happy ending. Cooooooll!"

(Well, except for Normie Osborn continuing work at Oscorp, this time building a high-tech Goblin mask, but you knew that was coming.)

General Comments

Okay, here's a technical question I've been meaning to ask for a while: how does one breathe in the Negative Zone? Is there oxygen in there or do people not need to breathe, or what?

Now maybe I'm just being nitpicky here, although there were a few minor details about this story that made me go "hmmmmmm," even though I enjoyed it overall. First, we have the return of the one-page subplot, although this issue we wind up with two of them. Unfortunately, Sandra Heally's situation is a plot thread that Tom DeFalco let's dangle. Rather than seeing Normie Osborn continue to make preparations for Green Goblinhood again, the last page should have been used to show what happened to Sandra and Courtney. Not only would that have been better storytelling, but it still would have fit in with the "happy ending? NOT!!!" feel that DeFalco was going for. And yes, the Sandra Heally subplot has been done to death already, but if they're going to bring it back again, we should at least get to see what happens as a result.

Secondly, I'll let the whole "Apox's powers can save the day" bit go, even if it's a bit hackneyed. But isn't is just a tad convenient that Reed Richards just happened to have a doohickey on him that would take care of the force field/bomb? Granted, he's got a lot of strange doohickeys on him, but even so it's a tad contrived.

Overall, though, this was a fun story and a good conclusion to the three-part arc. Maybe I'm just a sucker for happy endings like Spider-Girl, but it was good to see Reed and Invisible Woman back again. The only question is what they are going to call themselves now. "Fantastic Six" doesn't have much of a ring to it. They could always involve the kids, draft Spider-Girl and a few others and call themselves the "Fantastic Fourteen," but that would be stealing the Avengers' thunder. But I digress. This was well worth the read and felt like a true Spider-Girl story despite the whole Skrull/power cosmic angle.

Overall Rating

This story alone was worth 3.5 webs, but I'll bump it up to four for the storyline as a whole. Good stuff.