Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #3

 Posted: 2007
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)


The whole world is getting homogenized by the alien H'Mojen. Spidey comes home to witness Aunt May and Mary Jane get the gray, marble-eyed, spiky treatment. It seems like everyone is merging with an alien, including Dr. Strange, Captain America, Daredevil and the governor of New York. Everyone except Spidey, the Fantastic Four, Alicia Masters and the Richards' kids. Mr. Fantastic leaves Earth to backtrack the H'Mojen's path in hopes of finding a way to defeat them. He deputizes Spidey into the FF. Soon after Reed's departure, the merged governor David Schmidt-S'orr, the mercenary Imperator, and some really big bugs arrive to challenge our heroes.

Story 'The New Silver Age (Part 2)'

Reed's fancy space-warping ship travels really fast. He is already observing the people of Hemyclos 10, the H'Mojen's previous conquest, trying to relearn all that they lost during their merge even as Spidey and the rest of the FF are only seconds into their big bug confrontation. The Imperator and governor leave the three Insectoids, known as the "Triax," to handle the super-heroes. Sue Richards goes to check on Alicia and the kids as the Torch, Thing and Spidey get zapped, gooed, and baffed by the bugs. As the battle continues, Sue discovers that the H'Mojen are concentrating their forces near the home of the High Evolutionary. She picks up the boys in a Fantasticar in the midst of their beat down of the Insectoids. All of the merged New Yorkers shake angry fists at them as they fly away. When Ben complains that Sue took them away when they were winning, she replies, "No, Ben, you were beating some monsters. The H'Mojen have already won. We've got to try to help the rest of the planet now." But as they fly away, Spidey realizes that he's not feeling too well.

The FF arrive at the Evolutionary's citadel to find his beast-men, the Knights of Wundagore under attack from a "h'mojenzied" army. They join the Knights and repel the invaders. Sue theorizes that the H'Mojen sought some piece of High Evolutionary equipment that "could stop this invasion process." A humanoid Owl carrying a big crook shows them a device he thinks "was built to maintain genetic integrity in a populace." The Torch tells Spidey to do his science thing but the machine is beyond the Webhead's capabilities. With Reed out in space and unable to help, Spidey comes up with a desperate idea: solicit the help of Dr. Doom.

The foursome flies to Latveria where Doom is attacking his "h'mojenized" subjects. ("Traitors!" he bellows, "Too weak-willed to resist mere galactic parasites? You don't deserve to be called Latverians!") When Doom sees the FF, he immediately attacks but Spidey finally gets him to calm down and enlists his aid by telling him that Reed could not figure out the Evolutionary's invention. Doom dopes out the equipment and tells the others he will duplicate it on a larger scale, which should "safeguard as much as half of Earth's population." He isn't doing it out of the kindness of his heart. But if anyone is going to take over the Earth, it is going to be Doom. As the FF flies off, Spidey feels worse.

Meanwhile, Reed has been to six different planets "representing the last thousand years of H'Mojen colonization." None found a cure; one destroyed themselves in fending off the H'Mojen. But Reed has found some "private detective-style intel" that leads him to believe the Imperator can successfully reverse the invasion. He heads back to Earth hoping he's not too late.

And back on Earth, the FF track down the Imperator and confront him again, this time with the Evolutionary's invention in gun form. Just as the Imperator engages "defense protocol M-11" Spidey's illness gets the best of him and he vomits up a puddle of sinisterly smoking silly putty. Whatever is going on, vomiting is almost never good.

General Comments

I've gotten thoroughly tired of the H'Mojen, if you want to know the truth. Whenever they or their big bugs or the Imperator appear, my concentration starts to check out. If I hadn't had to write a plot synopsis, I'm not sure I could have told you what went on in this issue. The only part that held my interest was the section with Dr. Doom that, not-so-coincidentally, had no H'Mojen in it. Even the humor seemed forced this time. The joke about the "4" on Spidey's chest wasn't as good as last issue's joke about the "4" on Spidey's chest (it's almost as if Jeff Parker forgot he did a joke about it last time) and moments like Spidey looking at the Evolutionary's machine and saying, "Is this the on button?" just fall flat. To judge by his other work, Jeff Parker is a terrific writer but this stuff is just so dialed in.

You know, I used to have this informal rule about movies: any film that includes a scene of vomiting is not very good. There are all sort of exceptions to this ("Repo Man" comes immediately to mind) but it certainly holds true for comics, at least with this issue. Or is there somebody out there who said, "Oh, hey! Spidey vomiting! I've always wanted to see that!"

Overall Rating

One web. I'm saving the half web for next issue.

 Posted: 2007
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)