Trapped in an alternate universe fighting an alternate version of her father, can Spider-Girl survive long enough to get back to her reality? And what about Seth and the Soldiers of the Serpent? Do they actually show up in "Season of the Serpent, part 5"?
This issue opens where the last one ended off, with Spider-Girl, American Dream and alterna-Thunderstrike facing off against evil versions of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. The two Avengers send Spider-Girl off in search of the hostages they came to rescue. "How will I even recognize your friends?" "Trust me--you'll know'em when you see 'em!" Feeling a bit like a coward, Spider-Girl leaves with evil Spidey and Psi-Slayer (evil, yet strangely placid Franklin Richards) in hot pursuit.
After a bit of searching, frantically dodging Franklin's psi-blasts and ignoring evil Spidey's snide remarks, Spider-Girl stumbles across the two hostages, who turn out to be the original Captain America and the alternate world version of the original Thunderstrike, who is called Storm Trooper. (Scorecards! Get your scorecards! Can't tell the players apart without the scorecards!) The two are locked in stasis, and before Spider-Girl can figure out how to free them, her attackers arrive.
Evil Spidey webs up the room so she cannot escape, but escape is the furthest thing on her mind. She KO's Franklin by repelling herself off the wall, which interests Evil Spidey. "There must be more to you than meets the eye." The two continue to battle, May concluding that this Parker "isn't real. He's a fake and an insult to your dad." Finally, she sticks Evil Spidey to the wall, webs up his leg, and swings him into some machinery. That breaks Cap and Storm Trooper out of stasis, and they quickly mop up the pretender. Returning to where they left alterna-Thunderstrike and American Dream, the three find the Evil FF completely trashed.
Upon returning to the "real" earth, Spider-Girl discovers that the Avengers put out a general call for heroes to marshall forces against Seth. The entire M2 universe is waiting to fight. Nova, naturally, takes the opportunity to belittle Spider-Girl, whose cell phone rings before she can answer. It's her father, who orders her home. Disgusted with herself, Spider-Girl leaves the Avengers Mansion, but is hit with a massive surge of her spider sense as she nears Central Park. She lands, then looks up to find the Mansion encased "by some weird-looking force bubble... and it's melting!" That bubble is the work of Seth, who is standing directly behind her. "It's an entropy field created by magic... I never could have lured so many champions of justice into the same place at the same time wihtout your help. I do hope their deaths won't weigh too heavily on your already burdened conscience. Especially since your own life is about to end!"
Dare we say: 2 B Concluded?
Okay. I'm calmer. I'm rational. I won't bite, I swear. Change of heart? Nah, just grateful that this story is finally going somewhere again.
The alternate world segment was predictable with the sole exception of Captain America's cameo (how the hell did he get there?) Other than that, it was pretty much what you'd expect: May faces the alterate version of her father, concludes that he's a pale imitation, and then basically kicks the snot out of him. Not bad, but not terribly good either. Like I said before, the whole "alternate world" shtick has been done before, even in Spider-Man. (Who could forget Mary Jane as the Green Goblin?)
I thought the story picked up when May returned to her earth and found herself facing Seth all by herself. That was a plot twist I hadn't seen coming, and if it was a tad contrived (do serpent gods routinely need "entropy fields?") it was worth it, because it sets up the showdown I've wanted to see since part three of this storyline: Spider-Girl vs. Seth. I want to see how she finds a way to beat somebody she has no business beating. That's a big reason why I've enjoyed Spider-Man so much over the years: his success against all odds. Time for May to step up to the plate.
BTW, nothing against Ron Frenz, but I am definitely missing Pat Oliffe's pencils.
This story's starting to pick up steam again. No more alternate realities, please! Two and one-half webs.