The Avengers #4
Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Noh-Varr travel to the future to try to stop whatever time anomaly has been caused by their children. What they find is, apparently, a bunch of superheroes and supervillains fighting Ultron in the Destroyer’s body. Back in the present, the rest of the Avengers run into Killraven and his pet Devil Dinosaur, who are on the run from war tripods from futuristic Mars. While Thor takes care of the Martians, a bunch of axe-wielding gangsters from the turn of the last century start fighting in the street. And then the WWI biplanes show up. And more dinosaurs. And zeppelins. And, um, Galactus. Things aren’t much better in the future, where the Avengers’ kids take down the time-traveling Avengers. And when they wake up, they learn that the Maestro is running things, along with future Iron Man, who wants to do something awful to the present Iron Man’s face with a big, jagged hook.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good art, some fun dialogue. I’ve got some quibbles with the way the Avengers in the present seemed mostly to stand around inside a building and watch the chaos outside. I mean, Thor is pretty good with the Martian tripods, but couldn’t the street-level heroes be taking care of some of those guys running around with axes?
Spider-Girl: The End
The end of Spider-Girl?!
Okay, we start out in the future, with an elderly Auntie M telling a bunch of kids about the last adventure of Spider-Girl — May Parker, the near-future daughter of Peter and Mary Jane Parker, who inherited her dad’s spider powers and tries to balance her career as a superhero with a normal life as a high school student. Well, a few years back, May learned that she, like her dad, had a clone out there. April jealously wanted all the great stuff that May had, and turned to a symbiote to help her get it. Unsurprisingly, this made April — who now called herself Mayhem — all kinds of unbalanced and crazy, and in one final confrontation with Spider-Girl, when Mayhem’s recklessness caused a huge fire, May threw April to safety before dying in an explosion.
With storytime over, Auntie M sends the kids away, and we learn the rest of the story. Auntie M is actually Mayhem, and May Parker’s death made April even more dangerous, and as she killed both supervillains and superheroes, the government finally okayed a process to bond a bunch of soldiers with symbiotes, in the hopes that they could be used against her. Unfortunately, they turned out to become a lethal army dedicated to wiping out humanity, leaving Mayhem as one of the few heroes who could stop them. But now, there’s a plan to send Mayhem back in time to stop her younger self from killing Spider-Girl. Does the plan have a chance to work? Maybe not if the process accidentally traps April inside a wall…
Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful art and story. Lots of excitement, great fight scenes, and plenty of the excellent retro Silver-Age-style teen angst that makes the Spider-Girl stories so fun. I don’t know if this is really the end of Marvel’s unexpectedly long-lasting Spider-Girl stories or if Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz can persuade Marvel and readers to give her yet another chance. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that she’ll be back.
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