Spider-Island: Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3: OK, so, first, I have to note how clever it was for Johnston to give Shang-Chi six arms just in time for him to fight a Demon-God. It was a little unbelievable with them, but it would've been a LOT unbelievable without them. Johnston wraps up the story pretty nicely here. Again, it's still a little unbelievable that Shang-Chi managed to defeat a Demon-God by collapsing a building on him, but, you know, you've got to suspend some disbelief when you're reading about guys with six arms fighting Demon-Gods. Like "Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger," this mini-series didn't have a ton to do with the main plot of "Spider-Island," but Johnston does a good job of selling the connection it does have (which, to be honest, was more than Spencer did in "Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger"). I'm still not entirely sure why the story went where it did (Immortal Weapons, Demon-God, etc.) when I think we could've also had fun with Shang-Chi fighting off mutated tarantulas. But, it was a fun read, and, if you like Shang-Chi, it's definitely worth giving it a go.
Venom #8: The "Spider-Island" issues of "Venom" have truly been excellent. I was feeling kind of "meh" about the series before this event, but Remender has used it to great effect here, really getting to the emotional core of Flash Thompson. In this issue, an apologetic letter from his father, written on his death bed, frames the action as Flash is sent to assassinate the Queen. Everything about his fight with her was great. I'm surprised Remender managed to get some of the sexually charged (but pitch-perfect) dialogue past the editors, but I'm glad he did. I hadn't really gotten a handle on the Queen before this issue, since I've never read an issue with her in it before. But, Remender uses her taunting to narrate the story of her life in an organic way, so that it doesn't feel like obvious exposition. The arrival of Captain America at the end was awesome. I totally didn't see it coming, but I'm really excited to see the two of them working together. I feel like Cap could be a great influence on Flash, and I hope we see him again soon. Once again, this title is home to a major "Spider-Island" development, the transformation of the Queen, and I can't wait to see how it plays in the finale. I'm also excited to see where Remender takes Flash from here. Great stuff, all around.