Comics : Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #45

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This story is part of an Arc: "Pursuit"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Henrique Investigates

This review was first published on: 2001.

Background...

Take a deep breath and prepare for a significant villain overlap: Peter's long-lost-and-recently-returned parents were revealed as nothing but Chameleon's constructs, programmed to approach the Parker family and find out Spider-Man's secret identity, to avenge himself and his childhood friend, Kraven the Hunter. As Peter revealed his alter-ego to his "parents", an inevitable combat took place, in which robo-dad tried to kill Pete, but was destroyed by robo-mom, who saved her "son" only to have her youth sucked by the Vulture and die. We were left with a young and catatonic Vulture being imprisoned, and an enraged Spider-Man vowing revenge against the Chameleon. (Too confusing? Check the Lifetheft review for more details).

In Detail...

"The Dream Before"
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #45
Apr 1994 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Pursuit"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  Tom Lyle
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Tom Lyle
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Articles: Aunt May Parker

This issue was brought to us by Howard Mackie, who mustn't have read Amazing 388. It starts with a 3-page flashback of the already mentioned ASM 388, where the Vulture is not mentioned, and Pete's "parents" die side by side, with robo-mom dying young, having supposedly sacrificed herself to kill robo-dad.

Then it moves outside the Chameleon's hideout in NJ, where Peter's watching the cops arriving, and then immediately leaves. In ASM 388, he stays there until the police leaves with the young Vulture.

Pete swings away decided to get rid of the Chameleon for good. Meanwhile, on a new hideout, the Chameleon also prepares to face Spider-Man one-on-one, in order to avenge Kraven, "the only one who treated the Chameleon as he deserved".

In ASM 388, after we left Spider-Man witnessing Vulture's arrest, we were transported to his place, already in the morning, where a calm but enraged Peter was watching his Aunt sleep, and talking with MJ. Here, we have an enraged but absolutely not calm Peter arguing with MJ, at an unspecified time, about whether he should or shouldn't tell Aunt May about his parents. Then he leaves as Spider-Man to think for a while, and MJ is left thinking he always hides or runs from his life behind the mask.

When does this happen, you ask? Still in the night of the robot's demise? A few days later? I don't know, and probably neither does the author, because it doesn't fit anywhere.

Next, Spider-Man is at the graveyard, under fierce rain, watching his parents' graves. He tells how for years he prayed that their death was just a nightmare, that someday they walked through the door, and everything returned to normal. Now, after that wish was fulfilled, he can't bear the pain of losing them again. Then he screams "Why did you leave me?". This was, in my opinion, the best scene in the book. Of course I still have no idea when this happens, only that it's during nightime.

Meanwhile, the Chameleon (in disguise) hires Frank Cortese's services. He is to send some goons to the house where he was early on, where they'll find guns and should wait for their target. Which is obviously Spider-Man, but of course he ommits that slight detail, otherwise he wouldn't get too much cooperation.

We're brought back to Spidey, who is beating every thug he finds, in order to find the whereabouts of the Chameleon. He's being extremely violent and he's near the thin line which splits people like him from vigilantes.

Now here's a continuity glitch: Spidey visits Connor Trevane (NYPD Detective). It's still night, so he's asleep. He says he should arrest Spidey because he heard Spidey hasn't given the city a rest. Well, if it was still the night when it all started, he shouldn't know about anything cause he was sleeping. If it wasn't, what was Peter doing during the days we weren't shown, and why doesn't May Parker seem worried about her brother-in-law and his wife, who lived in her house, being missing. Let's just assume that it's still the night when it all started, because it's the situation which fits poorly (while the alternative simply doesn't fit). Imagine someone made a call to Trevane during this very long night (which, if you recall, started before Peter arriving at the Chameleon's hideout in ASM 388, and ended in the last two pages of ASM 388. This whole story happens in between, apparently), and he, as the good cop he is, and knowing Spider-Man for some time, hears he is on a rampage and then goes back to sleep.

Well, Spidey asks about the Chameleon. Trevane tells him where he was seen, which is the same place where he was early on this issue when Trevane was supposedly asleep. Let's just assume again that he was seen there a few days earlier, and decided to return there because hideouts known by the police just pump your adrenaline up. Spider-Man swings away, with the threat that if he hurts anyone, Trevane will hunt him down.

Spidey arrives to the house, near the Central Park, and the mercenaries pop out chasing him into the park stunned for knowing their target was Spider-Man. Their leader underrates Spidey while he takes out all of them in a couple of minutes. Later, the Chameleon arrives at his trashed hideaway and has a nice grafitti on the wall: "This is just the beginning, Chameleon!", with a cute Spider drawn as a signature. He picks up a photo of him and Kraven, still in Russia, wondering what will he do to kill Spidey and avenge his friend.

At that moment, Peter arrives at May's, and tells her that the people who claimed to be his parents were imposters, who ran away when he found out. She says that if his real parents saw him, they'd be as proud of him as she is. He thinks they will be, as soon as he lays his hands on the Chameleon. Since May spent the night at his house, this is probably the morning of the next day, after ASM 388's prologue.

Overall Rating...

This issue's plot is completely incoherent. With a different structure, this story could have made sense. Like this, it's just a sloppy mess. A very poor start. 1.5 webs, just because there are some good spots.