Paul Jenkins tells an interesting, if predictable, tale to tie-in with the Avengers publishing event that “ended” their forty year run in 2004. Of course it was only to replace them with The New Avengers. Affiliated series such as the Fantastic Four and Iron Man ran parallel but not necessarily interconnected story-arcs to accompany the Big Show.

Sometime Avenger Spider-Man is in the neighbourhood when a sultry lady calling herself the Queen attacks New York City, causing massive destruction and mind-controlling a number of civilians. She commandeers a building, taking the workers inside hostage. Captain America is quickly on the scene and seems to know a lot more about her and her insect based powers than he’s letting on.

Already suffering from some hidden aspect of her abilities, Spider-Man attacks only to be overwhelmed and then infected by the Queen’s kiss. He awakes as her prisoner, and although he escapes he realises that he is somehow mutating.

As Spidey slowly turns into an insectoid monster, Cap is forced to reveal secrets of America’s shameful political past that go all the way back to World War II, and the Queen’s ruthless intentions are revealed. New York and the World have never been closer to absolute disaster.

Pencilled by Michael Ryan, Humberto Ramos and Paco Medina (sample art) this is a stylish but essentially vacuous tale of monsters, monstrous acts and monstrous betrayals. There’s never any real tension and it’s very hard to escape the suspicion that Peter Parker’s subsequent metamorphosis was just a way to change his character in such a way as to bring him into line with his movie incarnation.