Thursday, September 24, 2015

Spider-Island #2 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Cap-Wolf.  The Iron Goblin.  Lizard Hulk.  Carol-acula.  It should be cheesy as hell, but somehow Gage really makes it work.

I think the reason is that he takes the time to build the story and sell it.  Flash has to expose the spiderized heroes to a variety of metamorphic agents -- Morbius' blood serum, Curt Connor's reptilian serum, Osborn's Goblin Formula, etc. -- because they're the only way to break the heroes' connection to the Queen.  (Gage established in the first issue that a cure is considered impossible.)  It definitely falls into the category of "a plan so crazy that it might just work."  Once he's got his crew of mutant Avengers, Flash can then lead an assault on the Queen's base to get Stegron.  Even Vision questions why Venom is focused on Stegron.  But, again, Gage has an answer, and Flash delivers it in a way that doesn't feel excessively expository.  The Queen used Stegron's genetic expertise to replace the Jackal, so Flash figures that he's the last hope at finding a way to sever the Queen's hold on the population.

Flash is even rewarded with some unexpected good news:  the Queen has been keeping Spider-Man alive but unconscious.  I loved Flash not knowing what surprised him more:  that Spider-Man was still alive or that he's really Peter Parker.  I mentioned last issue that even the best-case scenario in this story was a grim one:  without a cure, Flash's best hope was just returning free will to a population of spiderized humans.  But, we established last issue that Gage is really telling a story about how heroes like Spider-Man can pull off the impossible.  With him in the game again, could the Queen be totally defeated and a cure found?  Given how "Secret Wars" is going, it's probably unlikely and Gage is just raising Flash's hopes to make it all the more tragic when they're dashed.  But, we'll see.

*** (three of five stars)

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