Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #18

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This story is part of an Arc: "Changes"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Three issues ago, when Spider-Man and Captain America battled a malevolent villain calling herself the Queen, Spidey found himself victim to the Queen's advances when she planted a kiss on him while he was helpless. Although Spidey and Cap managed to defeat the Queen at the time, the wall-crawler started feeling the after-effects of that kiss last issue, when his eyes segmented and he began transforming into an actual spider...

In Detail...

Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #18
Oct 2004 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Changes"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Paul Jenkins
Pencils:  Humberto Ramos
Inker:  Wayne Faucher
Cover Art:  Humberto Ramos
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Spectacular) #4
Articles: Queen

This issue opens with Peter Parker sitting in the dark, wearing sunglasses to cover his new segmented spider-eyes, and craving flies for lunch. Mary Jane implores him to go see a doctor, and when Peter refuses, MJ decides that since he doesn't want to see a doctor, he's therefore well enough to attend the wedding of some friends. Meanwhile, at Veteran's Hospital, Captain America has gone to see an old friend named Tommy about Ana Soria, the Queen.

In the Queen's Hive, the Queen is lonely and wishes to have a conversation with one of her drones. But unfortunately, the drone is mindless and capable of saying little more than "Majesty". Meanwhile, Peter and Mary Jane have arrived at the wedding. It seems that the bride and groom are Star Trek freaks, so it's a Klingon wedding. Peter lasts through the ceremony, but once the reception arrives, the changes to his body overwhelm him, and he runs off, leaving MJ to cover for him. Peter runs outside away from the people, and he immediately throws up. He then complains of burning up and takes a look at the new hair forming on his hands, and then sheds his civvies and takes to the sky in his Spidey togs. But even once he's bouncing along the rooftops, he's still sick, unable to breathe or think, and coughing up inhuman things.

Meanwhile, Captain America returns from his walk with his sick friend Tommy, discussing all the secrets that they've kept about Ana Soria. But as soon as they say that, Nick Fury steps from the shadows, demanding to know what secrets they're talking about. Cap confesses that Ana Soria is the result of a different kind of super-soldier program from World War II. It seems that the scientists tried to tap into the potential of genetically unique soldiers, including Ana. Cap declares that Ana was physically and mentally tougher than most other soldiers, and that she had a mutant ability that they were unable to pinpoint. But when the project's desired results weren't achieved quickly enough, it was abandoned and Ana Soria locked in an asylum in Miami. And when Cap disappeared at the end of the war, they threw away the key to Ana's cell. Cap reveals that Ana escaped the asylum in 1957, and she was assumed dead shortly thereafter. By then, they had learned more of her mutation: she had become a new sub-species of mutant called Homo Insectus. And as such, she is able to control every insect on the planet, and roughly one-third of the world's population that carries the insect gene.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man continues to suffer, continually vomiting horrible green bile out on the rooftops. Ana speaks to him through his mind, telling him that his suffering is a necessary part of his evolution. And with that, Spider-Man rears his head back and screams, as four new spider-arms burst from his sides, and grotesque teeth sprout from his face, leaving him a spidery monstrosity. Back at Veteran's Hospital, Nick Fury knows that there's more to this story than Captain America is telling him. Cap reveals that the Queen has a bomb. The bomb will agonizingly kill every human being with a six hundred-mile radius, while having no effect on building or animals. The bomb's residual radiation may even have beneficial effects on insects. Fury is stunned that the Queen would be able to create such a weapon without being detected, and Cap reveals that the Queen didn't build it the Americans did...

In General...

The tension continues to build in this story, as Paul Jenkins once again does a nice job on the script. The changes to Spider-Man, and the intrigue around the Queen's plan and her origin have all unfolded well. I didn't particularly care for the Klingon wedding interlude... it just didn't seem to serve any purpose aside from just being goofy.

But I have to admit to being disappointed with the art by Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher. I'm usually a fan of their art, but this issue just seemed to lack, especially after the standout two-issue fill-in by Michael Ryan. And as I mentioned after the last issue, Ramos just draws a strange-looking Captain America.

Overall Rating...

Pretty solid, and I STILL don't know what Avengers Disassembled is. Three and a half webs.