Spider-Man and the X-kids have survived and returned from MojoVerse and are now competing against other X-Men in a test of whit and leadership. Also, you have Hank McCoy vs Peter Parker in a science fair, this takes me back to the 1990s…and no, it was not the golden years…but Peter and Hank used to hang out all the time back then; plus, some great character development…finally.
The book starts out with Spider-Man and the X-Kids fighting the Sinister Six and Spider-Man says it perfectly, “Ugh, why does everyone keep using that name…?!” I agree Spidey, anyhow, Spider-Man and the X-kids battle it out and quickly handle these villains unlike the previous issues where the action was semi-constant. Soon after, Spider-Man retells the conversation that he has with Storm the night before about how mad she was that her students were missing for three days. Within this flashback, there is a quick panel connecting this comic to the Superior Spider-Man world as it shows Parker Industries. The third issue did well and so I believe Kalan is incorporating his story within Dan Slott’s Superior story line for continuity; however, this series will only last six issues.
As Spider-Man is speaking with Storm, he reveals the plan to her about Logan’s request for him to spy on the X-Men as Logan did not trust Storm. Storm is fierce in her response and although she does not trust Spider-Man, she wants him to catch the mole. When we return to Spider-Man and the X-Kids, Beast is leading his team against a bank robbery. He soon challenges Spider-Man to science-off. This is a great time for the X-Kids, as they have not had a real chance to develop as characters or as a team. There has always been humor, battles, villains, struggles, but somehow this issue is playing on characterization…I like it! Spider-Man quickly assembles his science avengers and appoints Rockslide and Shark-Girl to lead the team. The next page features the answer to Rachel Summer’s threat about uncovering Spider-Man’s identity from the last issue. This particular page is a real nice addition to the X-Men fans. I do not read enough X-Men to understand what Rachel is referring to when she discusses how industrialist men ruin their world, but it is only one page and it questions the reader’s knowledge of the X-Men world. Marvel is known for connecting their worlds, so read on.
The X-Kids are setting up their workshop for this science fair and each of the captains pick their team and Glob is chosen last. Spider-Man tries to make him feel better but it does not work as he wishes to be on Beast’s team; until he sees Beast bark (no pun intended) at one of his students for the imperfection in a welding technique. Glob is then glad to be on Spidey’s team and Rockslide shares an important message with him. “You gotta show people what’s inside you…No. What’s in here.” Rockslide is talking about inside his skull, the mind. As the X-Kids are preparing to recreate the DNA analyzer from issue one, which has been modified to detect “bad” DNA, Rachel is determined to expose Spider-Man but is quickly stopped by No-Girl. Rachel is upset with the defiance and is quick to respond that her name is the Phoenix. No-Girl takes on Rachel and we finally see what she looks like. It has been a good read to see the other characters develop and Kalan adds in some suspense as Rachel Summers discovers the mole and then it is all lost as her mind is wiped. The panel in which she discovers the mole indicates either Glob, No-Girl, and Hellion. Which one you ask, we do not know yet, so keep reading these books to find out or when I review that specific comic. Afterwards, Spider-Man berates No-Girl (Martha) about attacking Rachel and as the commotion is proceeding there is trouble in the previous room as Deathbird of the Brood-Symbiote Imperium has risen. I have always been a fan of the symbiote!
In all the comic was better in terms of character development and empathy. I have always liked the campy humor, but I was not too fond of the very quick progression of the previous books. I am also sad that Failla is no longer the artist for this book but RB Silva did a fair job. I liked the details within the art but it was not as colorful or cartoonist as I had been accustomed too. It seemed to be rawer in its approach to match the style of the Superior Spider-Man. The story is a bit more mature in terms of storytelling as it seems that Kalan is trying to match the Superior Spider-Man style but it is not too dark. I loved the Superior-Spider-Man story line and it is one of the best…ever. It is too bad that this specific limited series does not go beyond the sixth issue, it is a shame that it could not be incorporated into a more mature story line.
I liked the character development, the good messages, the team building of the X-Kids, not too fond of the art, loved the cover, glad to see Beast and Spidey at it again; but more importantly, I enjoyed the slower pace so I could have more context with the X-Kids. It might seem like it is too late at this point and it might be. I missed Failla’s art style and I hope for more characterization in the next issue. It is still family friendly and it had a lot less humor to it. There were many references to the X-Men universe and I asked Kalan for a kick-serve (tennis fan here) and he delivered. I like the X-Kids very much and having Spider-Man within the story is a real bonus.