“Maybe it had to happen. Maybe it couldn’t have gone any other way.”
The Spider-Family comes to the aid of the X-Men as Magneto attempts to take over Cerebro! Will he succeed with Jubilee and Emma Frost by his side???
WRITER: Gerry Conway
ARTIST: Ryan Stegman
COLORIST: Jesus Aburtov
LETTERER: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ARTISTS: Ryan Stegman & Jesus Aburtov
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Allison Stock
EDITOR: Darren Shan
SPIDER-MAN created by STAN LEE & STEVE DITKO
STORY: Miss Mistress thinks she has knocked out the X-Men, but Spidey and Wolverine were playing possum and turn the tables on her. Meanwhile, Spinneret and Cyclops get ambushed outside by The Blob. Inside the school, Magneto has already reached Cerebro and is joined by Emma Frost. Jubilee tries to rationalize her behavior to Spiderling, who throws it back in her face. Thanks to Shine’s mutant powers, she and Spiderling are able to escape from Magneto and meet with their parents. The Spider-Family storms into Cerebro with Spinneret taking Frost out with one punch. The Spiders and X-Men watch the villains being carted off, with Peter and MJ still needing to decide if Annie should attend school there. Back in Manhattan, Liz Allan ponders a black goo.
THOUGHTS: Although we don’t actually get to see Spidey have a rematch with the Master of Magnetism, I still love this moody cover provided by Stegman. The positioning and style of the rubble makes it feel like the Webbed One and Mags are trapped almost in a cage as they duke it out. I love Spiderling and Spinneret as silhouettes in the background, their eyes aglow, waiting to get tagged into the fight.
The art in this issue is, once again, fantastic, but you saw Stegman’s name in the credits, so you knew that. I love how he stages his panels and uses the heavy white borders, not to mention the odd-shaped panels themselves. He gives energy to every page, like when Wolverine and Spidey come charging at the camera in the splash page, or The Blob crashes down upon Cyclops and Spinneret. Every page is a joy to look at and I continue to be thrilled as I turn to the next one.
Conway drops a few nuggets this issue regarding this world’s backstory. Scott further elaborates on what caused the split between him and Jean. I love how Conway has him ponder the “what if?” of the situation, that maybe in some other reality it didn’t happen that way. Scott, being Scott of course, goes all morose on Spinneret and thinks maybe this is how it’s supposed to be. You almost wanna play some Simon and Garfunkel for him and let him have some time in his room staring at the ceiling. We know that they have had quite a different outcome in the main Marvel U, not that it helps him seeing Jean and Logan be a happy family.
Cyclops isn’t the only one feeling less than optimistic. Jubilee is very jaded in this reality, in stark contrast to her bright, bubblegum colors. It’s kind of a surprise that more of the X-Men aren’t like her and tired of waiting for the promised change to come, be it in this or the 616. It’s gotten so bad, she’s willing to have some eggs broken to have her metaphorical omelet, even at the cost of her friends. Magneto is so far gone in this, he doesn’t even care if Jubilee has to kill Spiderling and Shine to accomplish his goals.
Believe it or not, it’s actually Spiderling trying to teach Jubilee to turn away from the Dark Side, pointing out how she learned patience. Annie has the good sense to call a spade a spade and see through all of Jubilee’s self-delusions. She’s pretty mature for her age, but then again, look at her father. He was acting 30 by the time he was 16! I do appreciate how Conway juggles his three leads and gives them all seemingly equal time.
Emma Frost’s psychic attack is pretty effective at taking out the X-Men, but it doesn’t seem to have an impact on our friendly neighborhood Spiders. By the end of the story, she’s tied in with Cerebro and Spidey notices that she’s using it to control Magneto and the other mutants. As our heroes enter the room, you can see Magneto’s eyes are now whited out, as are Emma’s, compared to before when you could make out his irises. Has he always been under her control and now it’s more apparent, or is she making a power play, trying to rule over everyone and thus taken over his mind, too? Either way, the marvelous Mary Jane “borrows” some of Peter’s power and clocks Frost hard, taking her, and thereby Magneto, down for the count.
I was a bit surprised to see Jubilee getting hauled away with all the rest after she repented to Wolverine, but she’s gonna have to do her time, just like them. Still, seems like she’ll have a place back at the school, if and when she is ready to try. Seeing their attitude and how accepting they are definitely gives MJ and Peter food for thought and I like how they have flip flopped their stances from last issue, but still are willing to talk to each other to discuss their new feelings and views based on what they experienced. They communicate, making them a stronger unit.
We wrap things up with Liz Allan. Once again, we get to see the differences between this world and the one we are more familiar with. Harry is still dead, possibly very similar to Spectacular #200, but Liz had divorced him prior. We learn that it’s Norman who petitioned the courts for Normie’s emancipation, sounding like he has effectively shut Liz out of parenting. The creative team evokes the right level of sinister as Liz manipulates whatever she can to defend her son, be it symbiote or former friend.
This was another stellar effort from Conway and crew. My only con was that it went by way too quickly for me and Annie is maybe a little too mature for her age, but as I stated, it may have to do with her parents. I’m super excited to see how Liz connives MJ into getting the symbiote and how that impacts the Parkers! This title is spectacular and I don’t see that changing soon!
MY GRADE: A-
JAVI’S HUH?: Spidey’s never heard of the Danger Room? Seriously?