X-Men & Spider-Man: Time's Arrow Book 2: The Present

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Starving Writer


This book is one of a recent series of novels based on Marvel Comics characters, produced by Marvel Comics/Byron Preiss Multimedia, and published by Putnam. This trilogy is also the first-ever novels to feature a cross-over between Marvel's most popular character, Spider-Man, and Marvel's most popular team, the X-Men.

Story Details

  X-Men & Spider-Man: Time's Arrow Book 2: The Present
Summary: Paperback
Arc: Part 2 of 'The "Time's Arrow" Novel Trilogy' (1-2-3)

The "Time Displacement Core," damaged in a battle in the first book, is undergoing repairs. Meanwhile, Kang's sent three more time arrows ... which landed a week ago! Oh, and Bishop and Spidey are stuck in a parallel world with no way of getting home!

In the parallel world, Spider-Man and Bishop helps a rag-tag team of misfits, led by Magneto and Aliya, in a rebellion against that world's evil version of the X-Men. And Spider-Man also meets his counterpart, the NBA star known as the Park!

Meanwhile, in "our" Marvel Universe, three teams are sent out to destroy the three time arrows.

Cable and the Beast head to Antarctica to fight Volcana and Rhino. There, the Beast discovers that they're actually helping Kang along with his plans by feeding the time arrows the energies that they need to wipe out the timelines.

Wolverine and Gambit pop up in an island in the Pacific Ocean, where they have to deal with Hydro-Man and Electro.

Storm and Iceman both rush off to the Devil's Crescent in Asia, where they fight the Wrecking Crew amidst a monsoon.

Each of the three teams manage to destroy the time arrows, only to find out that they were doing what Kang wanted them to do.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Bishop manages to make it back to their reality, but not before helping Magneto's troop succed in their rebellion.

General Comments

I'll be honest here. This was, as far as I'm concerned, the best story to come out of the Marvel novels that's been published over the past few years. It was truly entertaining, and I was just totally digging it on every page. There were a lot of cute and amusing in-jokes that made me chuckle, such as Spider-Ham and "Batman" in the first book, and Forbush Man and White Rabbit in the second book.

The action scenes were all well-written, and kept me eagerly flipping the page, curious to see what would happen next. The characters each really fit their scenes (An example: Beast and Wolverine, both of whom look sightly devolved, were sent to prehistoric time).

It was very easy for me to notice that three different authors wrote the three different books. Book One, for me, was the most pure fun, while Book Two felt the most well-paced. In my opinion, Book Three felt like it lagged a bit, but my stepfather absolutely loved Book Three the most, so what do I know?

I really loved the parallel world shown in Book Two. That version of X-Men were wickedly evil, and it was very interesting to see a version of Spider-Man where everything "goes right" and see how it would've affected how Peter Parker ended up.

The basic plot was very entertaining. I would dearly *love* to see this story done in comic book format. A 12-issues maxi-series, perhaps? Oh, I'd change some things (such as having Spider-Man meet MC2's Spider-Girl, instead of the version in the novel), but this story in comic book format would simply be excellent.

In short, this trilogy was a lot of fun and very well-written. That's why I give this ...

Overall Rating

Five whole webs! Very highly recommended! If you love Spider-Man or the X-Men, walk, nay, run to the bookstore (or go to Amazon.com) and get this ASAP!

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Starving Writer