The Plot: In a real-life version of “the world’s most dangerous game,” Spider-Man and the X-Men are thrown out of an airplane and onto Krakoa Island, which we’re informed is “a prison island for mutants. The nation of Genosha imprisons its mutants, sends them here, and hunts and kills them for sport.” Spidey and the X-Men reunite on the island, only to confront some pretty nasty bastards.
The analysis: This is pretty much an all-action issue, as our heroes slowly try to come to terms with the threat that they’re facing. There are some clever moments (Spidey losing one boot, Spidey worrying about getting home without getting in trouble, the cute scene where Spidey is reunited with Kitty Pryde), but overall, this is pretty much a straight action issue. It’s engaging and cute fun, and Bendis shows fewer of his annoying ticks than usual, but this is clearly just one chapter in a larger story.
I do hope that Spider-Man doesn’t hang out with the X-Men for too long. One of the nice things about USM has been that Spidey is pretty much on his own as a hero, lost and confused in a world where it’s hard for him to tell the difference between his friends and his enemies. If Spidey gets too close to the X-Men, he loses some of his uniqueness. He’s part of a group, and gets confidence and strength from being one of many. I like Bendis’s Spider-Man best when he’s a loner and a loser, trying desperately to find his place in the world.
The conclusion: A light, fun, breezy comic book that certainly will read well when collected into the inevitable USM collections.