Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #314

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2006.


Jonathon Caesar, a wealthy industrialist, recently kidnaped Mary Jane because he was obsessed with her. Although he was arrested and imprisoned, she is still at the forefront of his mind. He's just come to the conclusion that if he can't make her life Heaven, he'll make it go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

In Detail...

"Down And Out In Forest Hills"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #314
Apr 1989 : SMURF 314.500 : SM Title
Summary: Peter and Mary Jane Evicted, Christmas Issue
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Todd McFarlane
Inker:  Todd McFarlane
Cover Art:  Todd McFarlane
Staff Only
 Reprinted In: Marvel Holiday Special 2004 (TPB)
 Reprinted In: Legends Vol. 2: Todd McFarlane (TPB)
Articles: Watson, Anna (BTS), Aunt May Parker, Flash Thompson, Jameson, J. Jonah, Caesar, Jonathan (BTS), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Mercado, Joy, Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

December 24. Peter , Mary Jane, and May return to Bedford Towers to find their furniture on the sidewalk in front of the building. Mr. Kinderman, Caesar's high-priced sleazy lawyer, gives them their eviction notice. Despite their protests, Caesar is within his legal rights, as the contracts they signed were non-binding. Kinderman informs them that they can probably get their investment back with a few years of litigation.

With their savings tied up in the condo, Peter and Mary Jane have nowhere to live. May offers to let them store their furniture in her attic and live with her until they can find another place. Peter accepts the storage offer, but tells May they already have another place picked out. Mary Jane is surprised by this statement, but goes along with it.

After movers have been contacted to carry the furniture to Forrest Hills (at twice the normal rate) MJ asks Peter exactly where they're going to live. He admits that he doesn't know. The reason he blurted that out was to avoid putting himself into a position that may compromise his independence. "Oh," MJ replies, "You want to prove you're a grown-up, so we're out on the streets on Christmas Eve!" A nearby mugging interrupts the conversation. After catching the thief, Peter heads to the Daily Bugle to find some freelance work and MJ goes to talk to her lawyer.

They meet up at the Bugle where instead of an assignment, Jonah's throwing a Christmas party (because it's deductible). MJ informs Peter that they may have to sue to get their money back and mingles with the Bugle staff. Peter uses this time to look for friends that could spare a room, finding none that wouldn't be too much of a burden on the host.

Peter finally talks to Flash Thompson. Having lost his apartment recently, he moved into the back room of the gym he works in. He offers to move into the YMCA to give Peter and MJ a temporary place to stay. Peter accepts but feels like slime.

At the J.C. Herdlings department store in Queens, the manager Howell Thurston III has arranged a special security firm to transport the receipts to a private vault since the banks are closed. He is the prototypical "Scrooge" character, concerned primarily with money. He is unconcerned that he bullies his personal assistant and hasn't paid him overtime in 23 years. Unlike Bob Crachet, Mr. Clark has decided to fight back by hijacking the armored car with the Christmas profits.

Peter returns to Queens and stops off at the grave site of Uncle Ben. He quickly hears police sirens and reluctantly changes to Spider-Man. He quickly finds the hijacked armored car that has taken a shortcut through the cemetery. He intervenes and quickly catches all the thieves and leaves them for the police.

As he changes back, he finds Aunt May visiting Ben's grave. She tells him that she visits him every year at this time, but never told him because she didn't want to make him feel bad around the holidays. Peter realizes that moving back in with May - temporarily - would make her happy, so he accepts her offer.

In General...

Personally if I had to make the choice of moving back home or not having a place to live, there wouldn't be much of a choice. As much as I value my independence, I value food, shelter, and a hot shower more than my independence. Especially if (a) I had a wife (b) I had a wife that was agreeable to the living arrangement. If (b) proved to be false, then that'd be a different kind of story.

The fact that Peter didn't want to move back in with Aunt May is one thing, but to reject the offer outright is rediculous. If he had said "Let me check around first" and later came to that conclusion, I would've been right there with him. It required him to go through every major supporting cast member to realize that the first option was the best.

The "Scrooge" subplot is unnecessary. "Howell Thurston III" is just a bad name for a character since everyone knows where it originated. Yes, the same problems exist in modern-day America as in Charles Dicken's time. Periodically it's a good to remind people of that. However this effort just comes across as fluff.

Overall Rating...

2.5 webs. Michelinie and McFarlane do a good job with a bad idea, but the whole issue can be summarized as follows: "Jonathon Caesar evicts Peter and Mary Jane from their condo. They decide to temporarily move in with Aunt May."


Flash's apartment was destroyed in Spectacular Spider-Man #148 during the Inferno crossover.