In this issue Spider-Man agrees to help the Sandman and Silver Sable stop a renegade faction of the terrorist group Ultimatum. The group plans on blowing up a high-speed train tunnel running underneath the English Channel and then killing a room full of fourteen European dignitiaries and the British queen and prime minister. Their ultimate goal is to stop the European Union. Again the mysterious Authority is working behind the scenes by providing information on Ultimatum to Silver Sable.
Spidey is stuck in Greece after the last issue. He contacts Silver Sable to get a lift back to the Big Apple. The Sandman arrives to fly Spidey back home, or so Spidey thinks. It seems that in exchange for the lift back to New York City, Sable wants Spidey to team-up with the Sandman and protect the European Union from Ultimatum.
Spidey and the Sandman are joined in the tunnel by Flag-Smasher who is none too happy that members of his terrorist group have gone off on their own to destroy the European Union. It seems that the Flag-Smasher wants to end the sovereignty of nation states and thus supports international efforts like the European Union, where some (if not most) of his followers are more anarchist than anti-nationalist and want to stop the power of a European Union.
After saving the tunnel, the trio then fly to Buckingham Palace to prevent the killing of the major political figures in the European Union. Do they succeeed, or is the British Queen dead in the Marvel Universe? I think you know the answer.
It appears that Al Sjoerdsma's fears about the artwork in this title are true. Pat Olliffe, Al Williamson and Al Milgrom are not involved with this issue. It appears that others are going to do the artwork with Mr. Peyer's writing from now on. Though the art is not offensive, it does look rather amatuerish, and again the coloring is so simple, it appears as if it was done with only a basic set of colors. I think we would all much prefer Pat Olliffe back with some shading in the colors.
Again, like MTU #2, this comic is saved by its dialogue and characterization. As you can probably guess from my summary, the plot of the story is utterly ridiculous. Spidey saves the Queen and the European Union is a plot worthy of a 1970s Spider-Man coloring book. However, Tom Peyer saves the day by the issues he addresses and the life he gives his characters. We are treated to issues like nationalism and privacy in the computer age. We are unsure whether the Flag-Smasher is evil or just a calculating person who is also capable of saving an innocent bystander in the tunnel. Hercules makes a brief appearance and is as arrogant, indulgent and funny as in the last issue.
However, the biggest treat is the relationship between Spidey and the Sandman. At first, Spidey makes fun of the Sandman by recalling their first meeting when he defeated him by sucking him up in a vacuum cleaner. Then Spidey acts without bothering to tell the Sandman the plans to save the tunnel. After this shoddy treatment, the Sandman gives our hero an earful. "Just 'cause you're smart don't make me yer whippin' boy! I got a brain too, y'know!" says the Sandman to Spidey. This humbles the web slinger and forces him to apologize and realize how arrogant he was being to a guy who is really not so bad since he reformed.
Four webs are due this book simply because the depth and development of the chemistry between Spider-Man and the Sandman. Hopefully, Marvel will remeber this issue next time they meet in one of the Spider titles! If they do, this issue is a must have!