By Paul Jenkins & various (Marvel Comics)
Paul Jenkins tells an interesting, if predictable, tale to tie-in with the Avengers publishing event that “ended” the forty year run of the Superteam. Of course it was only to replace them with both The New and The Young Avengers. Affiliated comicbooks such as the Fantastic Four and Spectacular Spider-Man ran parallel but not necessarily interconnected story-arcs to accompany the Big Show.
Sometime Avenger Spider-Man is in the neighbourhood when a sultry lady calling herself the Queen attacks New York City, causing massive destruction and mind-controlling a number of civilians. She commandeers a building, taking the workers inside hostage. Captain America is quickly on the scene and seems to know a lot more about her and her insect based powers than he’s letting on.
Already suffering from some hidden aspect of her abilities Spider-Man attacks only to be overwhelmed and then infected by The Queen’s kiss. He awakes as her prisoner, and although he escapes he realises that he is somehow mutating…
As Spidey slowly turns into an insectoid monster, Cap is forced to reveal secrets of America’s shameful political past that go all the way back to World War II, and the Queen’s ruthless intentions are revealed. New York and the World have never been closer to absolute disaster…
Wonderfully illustrated by Michael Ryan, Humberto Ramos, Paco Medina, Wayne Faucher and Juan Vlasco, this is a stylish but essentially vacuous tale of monsters, monstrous acts and monstrous betrayals, but there’s never any real tension and it’s very hard to escape the suspicion that Peter Parker’s subsequent metamorphosis was just a way to change his character in such a way as to bring him into line with his movie incarnation.
© 2004 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.