Spider-Island #3: Goblin Knight in Shining Armor
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Paco Diaz
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Travis Lanham
C.Artist: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
Editors: Devin Lewis & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Mayday Parker, Spider-Woman in: The Enemy Within
Storytellers: Tom Defalco & Ron Frenz
Art: Sal Buscema
Colors: Andrew Crossley
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Nick Lowe
Nothing In This World Can Stop Me: After discovering Peter Parker at the end of last issue, Agent Venom sends Vision ahead with Peter to alert the others it’s go time, while he single-handedly faces the Queen’s army. He manages to fight his way back to the group and they escape with Peter and Stegron.
Back at HQ, Peter and Flash catch up on each other’s secret identities. Peter defers leadership to Flash and Flash reveals his plan to use Stegron’s Retro Generation Ray to even the odds in their favor. Peter is worried about Stegron and a Goblin Serum infused Tony developing the weapon, but Flash has him whip up a mass batch of Lizard formula in case they fail or turncoat.
Agent Venom leads the team to find a secret item for Peter, but the Queen sends a crew of our heroes’ loved ones after them, in hopes that Flash will use whatever countermeasures they have concocted on their loved ones, instead of heroes who can help turn the tide in their favor. The group debates whether or not to save their loved ones, but its Goblin-Tony who convinces them that its their responsibility to save them.
Using Peter’s lizard formula, they turn Carlie Cooper, Mary Jane Watson, Sharon Carter, and Betty Brant into lizard creatures. However, it turns out that the women were also implanted with tracking devices. The majority of the Queen’s army attacks the base and Flash orders an evacuation of civilians and equipment. Unfortunately, someone has to remain behind to buy the others time to escape. Arming himself with the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade, Tony volunteers, deciding to sacrifice himself before the Goblin Formula drives him insane. The issue ends with Flash vowing to take Spider-Island back.
It’s High School Again And You’re The Quaterback: I’m very conflicted about this issue. On one hand, it continues to be a great Flash Thompson/Agent Venom story that moves at a brisk pace, with a monstrous cast and a clear love of Spider-History. On the other hand, it feels rushed and is keeping answers from us to create a false secrecy around its story. We have no idea what the secret item Flash went to get is, or what Stegron’s Retro Ray will do and that’s just lazy storytelling. I would rather know what is going on and have it fail, so our heroes are scrambling to save the day, than have answers be purposely kept from us. Also, we are given two great moments, Agent Venom vs. The Queen’s army and Tony Stark’s sacrifice, which are reduced to a single page each.
Tony really steals the show this issue and his sacrifice makes sense as he’s the most developed character in this story aside from Flash. I actually thought they were building to Tony being the fourth act bad guy, but I’m glad his story ended the way it did. The fact that a half insane paranoid Tony is the one to make the two most heroic calls this issue (saving the loved ones and his sacrifice) makes him the MVP of the issue. And in an issue full of speeches that fall flat, his final words to Flash are powerful, as he sees his sacrifice as atonement for the soldiers like Flash, ones crippled by his weapons.
Another big moment that is rushed in this issue is Peter finally discovering Flash is Venom and Flash discovering his high school idol is the kid he used to bully. This a huge moment for both of them and it is given three panels in an Elseworlds story. Total crap.
This continues to be a story about Agent Venom at his best, but at this point it really does feel like Flash is infallible. All his plans work and whenever something goes wrong in the story, he is not to blame. His speeches and Peter’s speeches to him also fall flat this issue, but Peter being in the story didn’t hurt the series as much as I thought it would. I actually kind of want to see a Peter/Flash team up next issue so Flash can steal the finale.
We get to see Spider-Jonah this issue, who manages to retain his hair despite his new arachnid form, which is awesome. However, I found a lot of problems with the art this issue. Facial expressions don’t fit what the characters are saying and everyone looks downright creepy. This works for some characters, such as Tony, but not for others, like Peter. Still, it’s a great looking book when the action starts and Christos Gage writes a lot of action for Paco Diaz to draw. I’m also really loving the color scheme used on this book, as it brings the art to life and it gives it a vibrancy that the backup story lacks.
Verdict: I’m really glad we’re getting a final Agent Venom story, but this issue has me ready for Venom: Space Knight and something new for Flash. As this story rushes to its conclusion, it still features strong character work but the story suffers and isn’t allowed to give big moments the proper attention.
- MVP Tony Stark
- Frank D’Armata’s colors
- How they handle Peter/Flash discovering the other’s secret
- Rushed moments
- False secrecy
It’s My Job To Protect Them: Mayday attacks Avenger J2, believing him to be Daemos. J2 doesn’t want to hurt May, trying to talk her out of Enthralla’s mind warp.
Scott Lang and Jarvis watch as Avenger fights Avenger, unsure what is going on. Enthralla takes over Jarvis’ mind and he knocks Scott out.
Uncle Ben talks to Normie Osborn and Phil Urich, May’s closest confidants, in hopes they can devise a way to ease May’s burden in lieu of Peter’s death.
Mayday’s Spider-Sense overloads, breaking Enthralla’s spell but knocking her unconscious. Hope Pym, aka The Red Queen, reveals herself as the true mastermind and she has Enthralla use her mind whammy on J2, turning the last Avenger to her side.
My Responsibility: This is my favorite back up yet as we get to see how May’s family is doing in the aftermath of Peter’s death. Apparently MJ is taking it quite hard and May is furious that her little brother Benjy will have to grow up without her father. Adding Phil and Normie into the equation sets up a battle between the Avengers and May’s family and once again, the series proves its out for the Ant-Man audience by adding Hope Pym in as the big bad. A lot accomplished, quite well, in very few pages.