Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #20

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)


In Spectacular #15 and 16, Spider-Man and Captain America battled the Queen, who at one point during the fight managed to plant a big wet kiss on the wall- crawler. Over the last two issues, Captain America has told Nick Fury about the Queen's plot to use a bomb to kill millions of people in a six hundred mile radius. Meanwhile, the effects of the Queen's kiss have caused Spider- Man to transform into a giant spider and become a disciple of the Queen...

Story Details

This issue opens with super heroes scouring the city in search of the Queen, with only five hours to find her before they are forced to evacuate. But the Queen is hidden in her Hive, with the Giant Spider Formerly Known As Spider- Man following her around obediently. The Queen introduces Spidey to scientist David Jaffe, the man responsible for the Queen's genetic alteration. She goes onto to explain that Professor Jaffe also configured the serum that brought about Spidey's mutation. Jaffe goes on to explain that Spidey is in danger because he's mutating too rapidly. And Jaffe explains one more catch from the change: Spidey's pregnant.

Back on the surface of Manhattan, the heroes and the army prepare for a possible evacuation. Meanwhile, underground in the Hive, the Queen and Spider- Man are sharing a tender moment when Spidey suddenly freaks out. He starts convulsing and then crumples to the floor with green goo oozing out of him. One of the Queen's drones approaches and reports that Spider-Man is dead. The Queen bursts into anger and declares that they will detonate the bomb in ten minutes.

On the surface, Captain America and Nick Fury receive reports of major seismic activity, and down in the subway tunnels, X-Men Cyclops and Nightcrawler and a number of army personnel are suddenly surrounded by dozens of drones. Back in the Hive, the Queen is preparing for detonation when Peter Parker suddenly bursts out of the former Spider-Man's carcass. He's overwhelmed by voices in his head and claps his hands to his ears to shut them out. But when he pulls his hands away, he's shocked to find webbing coming from his web-shooter-less wrists. Peter decides to wait until to after he disposes of the Queen to figure out an explanation. He finds the remains of his costume and puts them on and then attacks. He takes care of one of the drones and then endures an attack from the Queen as he tries to figure out how to defuse the bomb. He uses another new power, the power to read the mind of insects, to extract the information from the minds of the Queen's drones. Spidey defuses the bomb, just as the Queen is felled by another explosion in the Hive.

Minutes later, outside, Spider-Man reports in to Captain America and Nick Fury. Spidey informs them that the threat is neutralized and that the Queen is dead, and he swings away. As he web-swings home, shooting webs from his bare wrists, he stops momentarily to have a telepathic conversation with a bunch of ants. Spidey finally makes it home to Mary Jane, where he informs her that he's made some changes...

General Comments

Are you kidding me? I was actually enjoying this storyline before reading this atrocity. But now, despite fairly solid art by Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco, this issue is garbage. Paul Jenkins, please tell me it wasn't your idea... It must've been a decision from the higher-ups, or something... or maybe a titanic team-up of Howard Mackie and Terry Kavanagh kidnapped Jenkins and wrote this story in his stead. Because I expect better than this absolute mistake of an idea from Paul Jenkins.

Organic web-shooters? Insect freakin' telepathy? I'm not even going to get into the organic web-shooters. Marvel for some reason seems to think that the Spider-Man movie and comics have to be the same, which results in this mess. Why Spidey needed organic web-shooters in the movie in the first place, I have no idea. And insect telepathy? Are you serious??? I'm not reading Ant-Man! I just love how they actually had the insect telepathy play a big part in this story, and then just tried to kinda sneak the organic web-shooters in there. It's like Marvel's saying, "The fans will be so mad about the telepathy thing, they won't even notice the web-shooters!"

I can't believe that this happened. It's a disgrace to the character. Spider- Man's worked pretty well for forty years now, but suddenly we need to change this? To me, this is like DC deciding to make Batman blind and give him bat- like sonar powers. It's stupid and pointless. The character is great, and all that this does is make the loyal, long-time fans angry. And I don't imagine that too many new readers are going to be enticed by the fact that Spider-Man can now read the minds of earwigs.

Now I'm so tired from all that grumping that I'm not even gonna get into the fact that the whole Peter Parker being reborn scene this issue didn't make any sense.

Overall Rating

A half a web and that's for the decent art. This issue was horrible. I want a retcon NOW!

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)