Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #338

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Return of The Sinister Six"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Doctor Octopus has re-formed the Sinister Six, and is planning to take over the world by threatening to poison the planet.

Mary Jane is being stalked by a sinister stalker, and believes it may be Jonathan Caesar, the man who kidnapped her before.

In Detail...

"Death From Above"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #338
Sep 1990 : SMURF 338.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 5 of "The Return of The Sinister Six"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Erik Larsen
Inker:  Mike Machlan
Cover Art:  Erik Larsen
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 Reprinted In: Complete Spider-Man (UK) #9
 Reprinted In: Return of The Sinister Six (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Electro, Hobgoblin IV (Macendale), Caesar, Jonathan, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Mysterio I (Beck), Sandman, The Sinister Six, Vulture I (Adrian Toomes)

At the Cordco launch facility, Doctor Octopus spies on the facility from underwater in the experimental amphib unit the Six stole in the previous issue. Ock gloats that the world will soon tremble before the Sinister Six. Sandman voices his concern that if they do have to make good on their threats, millions of people could die. Ock verbally slaps him down, citing that he doesn't care what Sandman thinks. Electro says he's worried that Sandman's misplaced morality could mean trouble. But Ock assures him that he's considered all contingencies, and Sandman will help them one way or another.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man keeps a vigil over the facility, ever since he discovered part of the security schematics for Cordco that Electro stole in the previous issue. He decides to head home, but first he goes to check on Aunt May, who is becoming more and more withdrawn since she lost her fiance, Nathan. At May's house, he sees her sitting on the porch looking very depressed. He changes into Peter Parker, and goes to chat to May. May says she feels guilty for almost wanting Nathan to die because he was in so much pain. Peter asks her would she want him to feel guilty if he felt the same way if she was in pain. May says no, as he'd just feel that way out of love. Then she realizes she has nothing to feel guilty about, and hugs Peter.

On his way home, Peter is nearly crushed by some building masonry. If not for his spider sense, he would have been hit by it. He leaps up onto the roof, to find whoever did it gone. He also sees that the building masonry had been chiseled. At their apartment, Peter tells MJ what happened. MJ says she suspects Jonathan Caesar. But Peter thinks dropping rocks on people's heads seems a little crude for Caesar. MJ thinks they should report it to the Police, but Peter says they don't have proof. All they can do is be careful.

At Doc Ock's New Jersey warehouse, the Six prepare for their assault on the Cordco facility. Ock warns the Hobgoblin to be careful with canisters, as the poison inside them is delicate and deadly. The dangerous nature of the poison intrigues the Hobgoblin, and he places one of the little canisters in his carrier bag. MJ says goodbye to Peter at the bus stop, and then heads off to a store, where we see her ask to see a .38 special gun. At the Midtown hospital, Jonathan Caesar accosts Hal McGee, MJ's director at Secret Hospital, and tells him to write a note to MJ asking her to meet him at the studio, and sign his name. Hal refuses, so Caesar sticks a syringe into a one of the roses he's carrying and threatens to inject it into Hal's IV drip. Hal tries to call for help, but Caesar assures him that all his nurses are busy. The benefit of being rich and powerful, and having influence. Hal reluctantly agrees to write the note. Caesar then takes he note, and injects the mixture into Hal's IV drip, saying he cannot allow him to share their little secret. Hal dies.

At the Cordco facility on Long Island, Peter and a large audience await the launch of the rocket. Suddenly an explosion rocks the facility, as the Vulture and Hobgoblin attack. The amphib unit smashes thru the fences, as Electro and Sandman emerges, and take out the security guards. Doc Ock emerges with Mysterio, and gives each of the members of the Six their instructions. Then he orders them to go and conquer. Spider-Man watches in shock, as he sees his old enemies reunited to form the Sinister Six again. With the Hobgoblin taking Kraven's place, of course. Spider-Man swings in and attacks Electro, delivering a swift kick to his face. The Vulture and Hobgoblin spot him, and swoop in to attack. At the rocket launch site, the two security guards are startled by a giant ferocious dragon. Suddenly their heads are slammed together by Mysterio, as it turns out the dragon was just one of his illusions. Ock carries the poison dispersion device in his tentacles, and heads toward the rocket, ordering Sandman to keep watch.

Spider-Man knocks the Hobgoblin off his glider, and then uses the glider to smack Electro in the face. One of Electro's stray lightning bolts hits the Vulture. Ock emerges from the rocket, declaring that the poison dispersion device is in place. Spider-Man is stunned to hear this, and swings into Ock, delivering a kick. Suddenly his webline dissolves, as Mysterio appears. His chemical mists act like acid on Spidey's web formula. As he falls, he lands into sand. Which forms into Sandman, who grabs Spidey, telling him to give up and not make it any tougher on himself. Spider-Man says he thought Sandman had gone straight, as he punches him in the head. Suddenly Spidey is ensnared in Ock's tentacles. Ock declares he's waited a long time for this. And asks Spider-Man where would he like his body sent, once he's removed Spidey's head for his trophy room. Suddenly Sandman hits Ock with his sand, causing him to release Spider-Man. Sandman says he's had enough. First Ock forces him out of retirement, threatened to kill the folks he lives with if he didn't co-operate. But he's not going to stand by and watch him murder someone in cold blood. If Ock wants Spider-Man then he'll have to go thru him, Sandman says.

Ock says he's disappointed, but he anticipated such treachery. And taking inspiration from a battle Sandman once had with the Hulk, Ock prepared for it. He wields a gun and shoots Sandman with it. Sandman turns into glass. Ock tells the others to break him, but Spider-Man swoops in and stops them. However, he can't go after Ock, who left for the launch room. In the launch room, the technicians refuse to initiate the coded launch sequence. Ock says that is a pity, so he'll just have to convince them one at a time. He wraps a tentacle around one of the technician's necks, and snaps it. "Next??" he asks, as the others stare in terrified horror. One of the female technicians agrees to do it, in order to save the others.

Outside at the rocket, Spidey is furiously battling the rest of the Six. Suddenly the rocket engines ignite. They all flee, as Spider-Man grabs Sandman's glass body. The rocket takes off into space, as Spider-Man falls helplessly to his knees. He realizes he's failed, because Ock said something about poison on the rocket. Suddenly the Hobgoblin appears behind him, and sprays him in the face with the little poison canister he pocketed earlier. Spider-Man falls to the ground clutching his neck.

In General...

This issue is the best one so far in this storyline. Doc Ock is as ruthless as ever. Trying to rip Spider-Man's head off, turning Sandman into glass, snapping the technician's neck. What a great villain. He really shined in this issue. It was great to see all of the Sinister Six work together as a team again. Even if Sandman was reluctant about it. His standing up to Ock was a great moment.

The Mary Jane stalker plot is reaching a climax, too. Who dropped the masonry on Peter?? It doesn't seem like Jonathan Caesar, as he's taking a different approach to get to MJ by having her meet him at the movie studio. Very interesting angle. The tender moment between Peter and May was touching, too. When Peter relieved May of her guilt.

Overall Rating...

Four webs for this issue. Lots of action and drama. Great stuff all around.