Hydra's hatched a new scheme to hit hard at America, but poisoning its water supply. Spider-Man infiltrated their base, but finds himself face to face with Hydra created doppelgangers of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye...
Spider-Man engages the Hydra doppelgangers of the Avengers, and is able to exploit their poor teamwork skills, as well as the fact that they aren't the real Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye against them. However, Spidey works himself into a corner, and is surrounded by the four doppelgangers. Spider-Man quips that it sounds like fighting outside the room they're in, as the wall is blown down to show Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage and Spider-Man standing in the midst of the rubble. The four of them take down the doppelgangers, as the Hydra agent Spidey rescued last issue brings Spidey to the missile which is being prepped to fire in under 5 minutes, to carry out Hydra's goals.
Iron Man gives Spidey a lift to the launch pad for the concealed missile, as Spider-Man brings Iron Man up to speed on what's in the missile, and what it's designed to do. Iron Man takes out some Hydra lackeys, as Spidey works to override the missile's controls. The security override is initiated, but it's not Spider-Man's override. It's the Hydra leader's. He initiates the launch of the missile, and it begins to fire up and take off. Spider-Man hitches a ride on the missile, and starts to pull himself up onto the missile, as Captain America relives his worst nightmare, watching another younger partner of his climb onto a missile, similar to what Bucky did prior to his death.
The missile shoots out of a concealed platform at a construction site, Spidey in tow. Iron Man, flying after him, is unable to continue his pursuit, as the construction site begins to collapse and endanger innocent civilians. Iron Man, delayed, now continues his pursuit of the missile and Spider-Man.
Spider-Man, almost nearing the upper atmosphere, punches through the missile and monkeys with the targeting and directional controls systems, causing it to stray off course and towards the open water. Just before Peter passes out, he lets himself go from the missile, and the resulting explosion blows him backwards from the epicentre of the missile's explosive blast.
This was a very entertaining story, and really did a great job of pulling this storyline together in the pentultimate chapter, and really giving a great cliffhanger. The emotion felt in these pages is palpable and realistic, and nothing seems forced. This issue in particular read like a great action film, rocketing towards the chilling and thrilling climax, which leaves the audience gasping and wondering what will happen to the hero. As an action-packed issue which really draws from the rest of the arc and brings it all together in a nice package, it succeeds wonderfully. Straczynski really outdit himself with this script, it really snapped, crackled and popped, it was that vibrant and exciting.
The art by Deodato Jr. was typical, in that it was absolutely incredible. He really manages to make this book all the more cinematic. His action sequences in particular are just marvelous, and this issue really allowed him to spread his artistic wings and really just go with it. The final few pages were just spellbinding, artistically speaking.
I came really close to giving this issue a 5, I really did. I just didn't feel letdown by any part of the story, just felt completely satisfied, like I got more than my money's worth, and couldn't wait for the next issue. Sounds like a job well done by Straczynski and Deodato Jr. to me!