Spider-Girl has held her own against some of the toughest villains in the M2 universe. But when Apox, the Omega Skrull, takes out the Fantastic Five, does May Parker have what it takes to defeat him, even with her father fighting by her side?
Apox has struck first, incinerating the top floors of Five Freedom Plaza. Peter Parker--complete with bionic leg--and the Human Torch lay dazed in the rubble. The robot body of Big Brain, a/k/a Reed Richards, lies impaled on a spike. Franklin is nowhere to be found. Only Spider-Girl remains, and Apox quickly gets the better of her, slamming her face first into the rubble. She is saved by the reappearance of Franklin Richards, who psionically swats the Skrull into the East River. Spider-Girl offers condolences about Franklin's father, but Reed Richard's consciousness has transferred to a new robot body which is making its way back to the fight. As is Apox.
The fight is interrupted by Felicity Hardy, the new Scarlet Spider, who scales the building only to find herself powerless in Apox's grasp. Spider-Girl seizes the opportunity when Apox casts Scarlet aside, and attacks again. Apox shrugs her off, but immediately notices a loss of his power. Spider-Girl has copped a small device off of the Skrull's armor, and quickly exits stage left with it. Apox follows her, blasting everything in his path.
Spider-Girl leads him to an empty section of Central Park before one of Apox's blasts catches her. She falls, an easy target for the Skrull, but is saved again by Franklin. He tells her that the device she stole--Apox's power source; apparently his power is artificial--will overload him if it's not returned. Big Brain, however, is working on a plan. That doesn't fill May with much comfort, but the two of them continue to attack. Soon, the rest of the F5 shows up, and Big Brain asks to see the device. Her father has also arrived, decked out in a helmet and an old Fantastic Four outfit. He promptly takes May to task for her risks, but Apox intervenes and the fight continues. Big Brain completes his modifications on the device, and gives it to Franklin to put it back in Apox's armor. He fails, but May snatches it and shoves it in herself. Apox overloads, then collapses. Almost delerious with relief, Frankling takes May in his arms, and nearly gives her a big smooch before her Dad intervenes. "AHEM! Could you please release my fifteen-year-old daughter?"
While this is going on, Mary Jane is visiting with Felicity Hardy and the woman who appears to be her lover. (Nothing is explicity stated, but they are a little too cozy on MJ's couch.) While they talk, a gaunt-looking woman stands outside waiting for May's return. Her name is Alison Mongrain, and she too is being hunted. Kaine is returning.
Not a bad issue. May's persistent inferiority complex makes its return here, and per usual she overcomes it and her father's disapproval to save the day. Spider-Girl is getting better at the super hero gig: she grabs the key component from Apox's armor by accident, but knows its important and knows enough to keep it away from him. Then, she's the only one who can make Reed Richards' plan work. Considering the presence of her father, and the Fantastic Five, it's telling that Spider-Girl is the only one standing between Apox and complete disaster, even if Franklin has to bail her out a couple of times. Kudos to May.
Apox? Survey says... lame. Cardboard cutout baddie who was only there because the story needed a bad guy. Note to DeFalco: bury this guy in the "Gosh-awful Villains" file and forget he existed.
The art wasn't really worth writing home about either. Frenz and Livesay are both good at what they do, but don't complement each other very well. Maybe I'm just spoiled by SG's regular art team, but the figures all looked scrawny and awkward. Which detracts from the seriousness of a story that, Spider-Girl's butt-kicking aside, needed some help in that regard.
Moving on to the developing plot thread, I'm still waiting for some reaction to Peter's bionic leg from his wife, his coworkers, and casual aquaintances. Mostly his wife. I guess my main objection to this storyline is seeing Peter risking his life when his pregnant wife can't get out of a wheelchair. Yeah, May might need some help (although she showed up the "pros" this time) but isn't there anyone else Peter could trust in that department? I have a hard time seeing him putting on the costume again permanently considering MJ's condition. Speaking of MJ, we get to see another side of her good friend Felicia this month. To be frank, I don't know about her having a relationship with a woman. (I'm assuming, granted, but I think that's where Tom DeFalco is going.) I'm not trying to jump start a tired debate on the issue, but it's not something I see happening to the former Black Cat. It's not really a big deal, just a little odd.
Goofy villain and weak art aside, this was a good issue. It's about time May earns a little confidence.
I think three webs is a nice round number for an issue with an equal number of good and not-so-good qualities.