Background: Spider-Man and the X-Men were attacked at the Museum of Natural Science and have been captured and are being held in Staten Island, which has been transformed into Savage Island by Stegron the Dinosaur Man and Sauron the Pterandon Man.
Shark-Girl (Iara) ends up being the mole that Spider-Man was originally looking for. She betrays the group and states how she is all alone, angry, and that sharks belong with dinosaurs. The sequence of panels begins with Stegron and Sauron commanding other dinosaurs to fight our heroes. These dinosaurs are actually the people that were inside the museum as they notice a name tag on a triceratops. The heroes soon learn that these dinosaurs are not the real threat and surrender. Spider-Man is hoping to find out how these people were transformed and how to reverse it. There is some tension between Stegron and Sauron as is there with our heroes. Spider-Man is still treating these X-Men with suspicion as are the villains to one another. I ponder on the notion that writer Kalan is using Stegron and Sauron’s tension as a reflection and comparison to Spider-Man with the X-Men. These two groups incorporate the new heroes and the new villain versus the older hero and the older villain. There is a one panel shot of Storm upset with the missing class and Spider-Man’s involvement with their disappearance. She familiar with Spider-Man’s magical aura for attracting trouble.
Spider-Man and the X-Men are in their cells waiting for a plan to develop. Spider-Man bluntly states, “…The Planning Part of my brain doesn’t usually kick in ‘till I’ve been beaten, captured, ore mad a target of general public scorn.” Soon each of the X-Men begin to realize the importance of their unique powers as they try to figure out how to get free. Glob is then chosen since he is able to squeeze between the bars and it appears he is going to be free, until he stalled by Shark-Girl who confesses that she is not defecting to the dinosaurs and actually plans to set her friends free. As Sauron approaches, she is able to continue her rouse by stating she caught Glob escaping, leading him to be the first that is to be transformed into a dinosaur. Sauron is an old X-Men enemy and Glob remembers him being the man, Dr. Lykos, his former professor. There is some of this reminisces that might not be familiar to the reader, but it entices one to look up their history (the Marvel tradition).
Glob is soon turned into this cute looking dinosaur and it foils the suspense from Sauron as he is trying to terrify the other X-Men and Spider-Man. This creates a moment of awkwardness and allows the heroes to be free from their bondage. As the fighting between Sauron the heroes breaks out, Shark-Girl is using this time to bond a relationship with Stegron. Shark-Girl is the love interest in this story and it appears she is playing both villains against each other as earlier she is visiting with Sauron about why she chose to defect and he is very forward with this approach to her. She is not sure but pretends to lead him on as she is suave and yet authentic in her approach to this deception. She then coaxes Stegron into showing her how to reverse the process of changing ones’ DNA into a dinosaur. Sauron soon request help from Stegron who states that they (Stegron and Shark-Girl) do not need him. Sauron does not care about Stegron’s insubordination, but he will not lose Shark-Girl as he confesses his undying love for her (this is quite humorous considering the reader might not have seen this coming). The heroes are perplexed by this and allow the villains to fight each until the reader is no longer able to know what is happening next. Each of the X-Men and Spider-Man are celebrating her victory over these villains.
A special appearance is made by Sam Wilson: Captain America and the X-Men do not like him showing up to their battle. Rockslide states “We could handle wrapping this up. Why’s he gotta bring the lousy Avengers in? I hate those guys!” Captain America is puzzled to see Spider-Man with the X-Men and Sam Wilson does realize that he is doing this for Wolverine. In the final panels, we see Storm flying the Blackbird to retrieve her students and Spider-Man. Spider-Man and the X-Men are celebrating a victory with a teammate speech and soon realize that it is fake Blackbird piloted by the Chameleon. They are gassed and knocked out and are being transported to Mojo, the X-Men enemy who uses his victims for gladiatorial fights in galactic space. This should get interesting…
The series so far reads like a successor to Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-Men in terms of tone, however this specific book is fun, light-hearted, and entertaining. I enjoyed reading it and enjoyed the comical humor and the irony that the heroes and villains endured. It is nice to see the villains of Spider-Man and the X-Men not get along as well as our heroes and some of the guest appearances were brief but nostalgia. I am always a fan of Sam Wilson: Captain American and the Chameleon is Spider-Man’s very first villain in ASM 1. Elliott Kalan did a much better job writing the fun and humor of Spider-Man into this book and Storm’s brief, but upset appearance at Spider-Man made up for the lack of depth in the first issue. The art by Marco Failla once again is spot on with the campy, humorous style of writing, as it is energetic and it kept the story moving along nicely. This is much better story and it is an enjoyable read. It has its one-liners, nostalgia, and I could not believe that Shark-Girl could become so interesting. Although it is the world of Marvel, it is enjoyable to read a story for mind-less fun.
This is a step-up from the first issue and I hope the proverbial roll-a-coaster does not stop here. It was a slow start in the first issue, but this issue is heading into a better direction. Again, it is not your “hard-core” Spider-Man where the power of responsibility must be executed at all times and there is no end of the world scenario (changing people to dinosaurs is not end of the world Galactus right) to the point where the sheer will of Spider-Man’s power will be tested in the next issue (or will it). Anyhow, it is a very fun and light story that focuses on humor and has childish approach that is simplistic to read but fun. I liked it and I hope you will enjoy it as will. Although the next issue has a gladiator theme, and who does not like the sound of that…