Spider-Girl barely survived her last encounter with the Soldiers of the Serpent. Will she survive the next one? Don't look for the answer here, as part four of "Season of the Serpent" veers off into uncharted territory.
"I called [American] Dream last night and asked her to run a background check on this guy I recently fought. Since one good turn deserves another, she conned me into trying to sneak into Avengers Compound this morning to test your latest security screen. Guess what? It works."
So says Spider-Girl as a stunned Jarvis finds her tangled up in a Doc Ock-lookalike security device outside of Avengers Mansion. After she is freed, Spider-Girl goes off to find American Dream, who fills her in on Seth, the Serpent-God of Death. After learning that Seth killed the original Thunderstrike, Spider-Girl wonders what happened to the new one. American Dream tells her that the new Thunderstrike is from another dimension, and that he needs to be warned that the "monster that killed his father" has returned. She invites Spider-Girl to join her, and she declines for now.
Young May Parker has another errand, and swings off to the Fantastic Five building to meet her mother. She is examined by Big Brain and it's determined that she and her baby are healthy. Just then, Franklin Richards calls in with an alert. The Soldiers of the Serpent are on the rampage. The F5 flies off to intercept them, and May goes to follow but is held back by her mother. Reluctantly, she promises to avoid the Soldiers.
Coming to the conclusion that the best way to keep her promise is to go "dimension-hopping," May heads back to the Avengers Mansion and pops into an alternate dimension with American Dream. Supposedly, the Avengers cleaned up that dimension months ago, but they arrive to find themselves facing some very Ben Grimm-looking androids with square heads. With the arrival of Thunderstrike, May uses her sticking power to "glue" everyone to the floor and let the others finish them off.
American Dream fills in Thunderstrike on the situation and he agrees to return with them to the "real" world after one last rescue mission. The two of them disappear into the dimensional portal, but Spider-Girl senses danger and goes with them. They end up surrounded by an evil version of the Fantastic Five. The fifth member, hidden in shadow at first, steps into the light... and is revealed to be an evil version of Spider-Man. "Daddy?!"
Okay, this would have been a decent (although hackneyed) story in and of itself. As part four of a six part series, it's the most irrational plot twist since the "Gathering of Five." After three issues of sparring with the Soldiers of the Serpent, suddenly it's alternate dimensions and Thunderstrike and evil dopplegangers? Puh-leeze! What on EARTH is Tom DeFalco thinking? We're in the middle of a major storyline and it veers off onto some disjointed tangent. This is bad storytelling in the first degree.
If DeFalco wanted these elements to be part of a Soldiers of the Serpent storyline, he should have introduced them at the beginning. If he wanted a storyline featuring the Soldiers of the Serpent, he shouldn't shunt them off into a quasi-cameo appearance and then forget about them. I have NO idea where he is going with this and quite frankly I don't much care anymore. This storyline has become a serious letdown.
Unbelievably disappointing. One web.