Last issue, as part of an Avengers Disassembled Prologue, Spider-Man & Captain America teamed up to battle the Queen, who had taken over a New York skyscraper. But things were looking bleak for our heroes when both of them succumbed to the Queen's power, and then she kissed a helpless Spider-Man...
This issue opens with Spider-Man stuck to a wall by some sort of web. He's battling against the psychic control of the Queen, who already has control of dozens of helpless civilians. The Queen arrives and kisses Spidey again, but Spidey rejects her. The Queen goes into a rage and slaps Spidey until he passes out. Meanwhile, news of the kiss between Spidey and the Queen is spreading through New York like wildfire.
Back outside the skyscraper, Nick Fury has organized a military strike against the Queen, but he is told to stand down by one of his superiors, who insists that Captain America handle the situation. But Cap is in much the same situation as Spider-Man, strung up by the same web-like substance. But Cap manages to free himself, and a moment later, he frees Spidey as well. The Queen sends her hive after Spidey and Cap, and while the two heroes fight them off, Cap tells Spidey that he and the Queen dated a couple of times in 1945. Spidey then reveals that the Queen wanted to use him to mate, which worries Cap greatly. Cap goes on to explain that the Queen has control of people with the "insect gene", and therefore presumably has control over Spidey, as well.
While members of her hive pin down Spider-Man and Captain America, the Queen herself flees out onto a balcony, but Spidey manages to follow her. Once he gets outside, Spidey finds that the Queen has lined up six innocent, mind- controlled men and women on the edge of the building, and after a moment, she orders them to jump, which they have no choice but to do. This throws Spidey into a rage, but the Queen uses her powers to drop him to the ground in agony. Back outside, Nick Fury is fed up with watching innocent people throw themselves off buildings, so he orders a strike, and a fighter plane launches a missile at the Queen, but the Queen uses her telekinesis to blow it up prematurely. But while the Queen is distracted, Captain America comes charging in and knocks the Queen off the balcony. Cap helps Spidey to his feet, but then chastises the wall-crawler for attacking the Queen when he had no possibility of winning. Spidey replies that that's the way that Cap used to do business, and then swings away, leaving Cap standing there stunned.
So this issue concludes "Royal Flush" (or is it "Under My Skin"?) much the same way it started: with nice art, a satisfactory story, and a lot of confusion. I just never really felt like I knew what was going on in this story... we have a villain who's classified as a major threat by Nick Fury and known personally by Captain America, but unfortunately Spider-Man (and his readers!) have no idea who she is. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with that kind of thing, but I can't shake the feeling that if I read Captain America or the Avengers (which I don't), I'd have a better idea of what was going on.
I've now read two issues of an Avengers Disassembled Prologue, and I still have no idea what Avengers Disassembled is. I also think that I'd probably have liked this issue a lot more if it had nothing to do with Avengers Disassembled. But other than that, there's really nothing wrong with this issue. The story by Paul Jenkins is decent and the art by Michael Ryan is once again very nice.
If you try not to think about a major Avengers crossover, this issue is enjoyable enough. Solid but farm from a standout. Three webs.