Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Spider-Island #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Gage improves on the story that he's been telling over the last two issues, mostly by delivering the sort of characterization that some of the weaker tie-in series, like "Age of Apocalypse," have failed to muster.

The team escapes the Queen's headquarters, and, later, Flash and Peter marvel at the revelation of each other's secret identities.  Peter refuses to take the mantle of leadership from Flash, telling him that he's already failed at saving them so Flash is the quarterback to get them over the finish line.  Showing why Peter has faith in him, Flash does a great job rallying the troops, with a Goblinified Tony and Stegron working on the "Retro-Generation Ray" and Peter whipping up as many batches of the Lizard's formula that he can.  However, the Queen sucker punches them by sending spiderified Betty Brant, Sharon Carter, Carlie Cooper, and Mary Jane Watson after them.  Rather than using the Lizard formula on superheroes (the smart play that Flash originally advocates), an emotional Peter and a paranoid Tony convince him to rescue the ladies.  They do, injecting them with the Lizard's formula, but they also wind up leading the Queen's forces to their HQ.  (After all these years using Spider-Tracers, Peter never thinks to check the ladies for tracking devices?)  Tony sacrifices himself to buy time, deciding to die before the Goblin Formula fully takes hold of his mind and hoping that it redeems him for his years as a war profiteer.  The team escapes, and Flash feels confident that they can save New York.

Gage might not be telling the most enthralling story of the tie-in series, but it is a solid one, full of emotion and uncertainty.  As Flash himself says here, the return of Peter is the first time that hope seems to come to this corner of Battleworld.  Since it is "Secret Wars," we're going to have to wait and see if it really means that they can defeat the Queen.  But, this issue goes a long way to making me care about the outcome, raising this series in my estimation.

*** (three of five stars)

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