Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #339

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

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...

The Sinister Six have attacked a space shuttle launch site, and Doc Ock has just launched a deadly poison into space aboard the shuttle, so he can blackmail the world into making him and the rest of the Six, the planet's rulers. The Hobgoblin took a sample of that poison and has just sprayed Spider- Man with it.

The psychotic stalker Jonathan Caesar, who kidnapped MJ before, has returned. He forced MJ's director, Hal McGee, into writing her a note getting her to meet him in the movie studio, then he murdered Hal so he could not warn MJ of the deception.

In Detail...

"The Killing Cure"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #339
Sep 1990 : SMURF 339.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 6 of "The Return of The Sinister Six"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Erik Larsen
Inker:  John Romita, Sr., Keith Williams, Mike Machlan, Randy Emberlin
Cover Art:  Erik Larsen
Staff Only
Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Complete Spider-Man (UK) #10
 Reprinted In: Return of The Sinister Six (TPB)
Articles: 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)

The Vulture, Hobgoblin, Mysterio, and Electro are all standing around Spider- Man, who is still clutching his throat, but is very much alive. The Hobgoblin is frustrated as to why he is still alive. Suddenly Doctor Octopus arrives, and claims he wanted to keep his secret a little longer. The others are puzzled by this remark, as Ock presses a button on a little remote he took from his pocket. The Vulture asks what he's doing. Ock explains that he's activating the poison dispersion device he put aboard the shuttle. He then explains that it's not actually a poison, and he would never be stupid enough to carry out such a threat as killing the entire planet, because there is no profit in ruling the dead. Ock says that what he placed aboard the shuttle is actually a clever and diabolical cure for cocaine addiction. Once it is diffused into the atmosphere, it will make cocaine addiction a thing of the past. After breathing it in, any attempts to take drugs will result in extreme convulsions. And the only antidote is burundite. Fortunately, the others stole the world's only supply of burundite for him. And with so many rich and powerful individuals slaves to cocaine, and willing to do anything to remain so, he is certain he can parlay his supply of burundite to indeed rule the world......ALONE!

The others realize they've been tricked and used. They attack Ock, but he easily deflects Electro's power blasts and Hobgoblin's pumpkin bombs with his tentacles, while he calmly lights a cigarette. He states he can do it all day, a length of time the others don't have, as Police cars are approaching. The others leave, swearing they wont forget this. Spider-Man swings in and tells Ock that he doesn't have to worry about the Police. Ock tells him he should worry about the device he used to turn the Sandman into glass. And it's the only thing that will restore his humanity. Ock then tosses it into the Long island river. Spidey shoots a spider-tracer onto it before it hits the water. Then he shoots another one onto Ock's back before he descends into his amphib unit and escapes. After retrieving the device from the bottom of the river, Spidey changes Sandman back to normal, and explains to the Police that he is innocent, and was working with Spider-Man. He helped save lives. Spidey then proceeds to tell the Police what has happened, citing that it's not a pretty story.

Spider-Man swings back to his apartment, where MJ is on her way out to meet Hal McGee, who she got a note from, asking to meet her at the movie studio. Peter gets a call from Dr Swann at the university, saying they've analysed the gas canister they found at Cordco, and they have a big problem. Peter says he's on his way. Just after they leave, the get a message on their answering machine from MJ's friend Suzie, who says that Hal McGee died at the hospital last night. At the university, Dr Swann tells Peter that the earth is in great peril. Ock's cure is dissolving the Ozone layer faster than all the aerosol sprays in the world. Ock was so focused on the primary effect that he didn't see the ultimate result could be precisely the same as that bogus poison-the death of every creature on the planet. Peter looks up the research on burundite, and learns that if it's placed in direct contact with Ock's cure, the antidote could deactivate it. The only problem is to get the antidote, they have to find Doc Ock. Peter makes a phone call.

At the Midtown television studio, MJ arrives to meet Hal. Jonathan Caesar appears, and says Hal is busy being dead. Caesar says he has a jet waiting to whisk them away to an island paradise where no one will disturb them, ever! MJ asks what happens if she tells him to stick his jet where it won't get sunburned. Caesar pulls out a knife and says he'd have to do something that would make him very sad. At New Jersey, a helicopter flies above an industrial complex. The pilot tells him it was lucky that Peter Parker thought to call the Avengers to get a hold of him. Spidey thinks to himself that it was a ruse. He actually called Sandman, who told him where Ock's hideout was. Ock wasn't there, of course, but he's hoping that he didn't go too far that his spider sense cannot detect him. Finally, it buzzes over a private air field. Spider-Man tells the pilot that he doesn't want any back up, as they'd trip Ock's warning alarms before they got fifty yards. He has to do this alone. Back at the movie studio, Officer Goldman appears, and claims MJ is not alone and has nothing to fear. Caesar says he did not come her without muscle to back him up. Goldman reveals that muscle has become rather flaccid, as they are unconscious on the floor. Caesar calls Goldman a pea brained civil servant, and doesn't realise what he's getting himself into. Goldman claims he knows what he's getting MJ out of.....trouble. He then shoots Caesar dead in cold blood. MJ is shocked, as Goldman is a police officer. Goldman reveals that was a lie. He claims he's actually MJ's biggest fan.

Back at the air field, Spider-Man has located Ock in one of the plane hangars. He is pouring the processed burundite poweder into some kind of container. Spider-Man attempts to sneak in unnoticed, but Ock casually says he knows he's there. And is delighted, as they can now finish what was interrupted on Long island, Spider-Man's execution. Spider-Man tells Ock that he doesn't want a fight, he just wants the burundite. The cure is rotting a hole in the atmosphere, and they're all going to die if it isn't stopped. Ock doesn't believe him, and thinks it's just a ploy to get the burundite. Ock attacks Spider-Man. Spider-Man desperately tries to dodge the tentacles, even hurling a turbine cowl at Ock. But Ock deflects it easily. Spider-Man then attempts to get at Ock thru the chinks in his tentacles. But he only ends up thoroughly ensnared in Ock's four tentacles. With all of Ock's arms wrapped around Spidey, he realises Ock is not anchored to the floor. Spider-Man then shoots a webline, using the sudden pull to knock Ock off his feet. However, one of Ock's tentacles strikes a plane's fuselage, which is filled with fuel, and it explodes, knocking both Spidey and Ock back. Spidey's spider sense goes off, as he sees the flames heading towards the burundite.

Back at the movie studio, Goldman reveals that he is a file clerk for the Police department. He adores 'Secret hospital', and watches it in his little cubicle every day. So, when the Jonathan Caesar file crossed his desk, he began following her. He felt she was special and needed protection. He cites that he "protected" her from her abusive husband, her pig of a director, and the witch who slapped her at the deli. MJ realizes that was the masonry dropped on Peter, Hal's injury on set, and the hit and run victim at the deli. MJ tells him to stay back, as she has a gun. He says he knows she doesn't. He was across the street when she was in that gun shop, and he knows it takes months to get a carry permit in this city. MJ tells him she doesn't want his protection, and that he's the one who needs help. Goldman says he's disappointed. He thought MJ would appreciate him. He says it doesn't matter, he still has the re-runs, and points his gun at MJ.

At the air field hangar, Ock is groggy from the explosion, and realises he'd be an easy target for Spider-Man. But he suddenly spots Spider-Man heading for the burundite before the flames reach it. Ock intercepts Spider-Man's exit path. Spider-Man tells him to back off, as he's not going to stop him. Ock says he doesn't intend to try. Valuing that canister before him may be insulting, but it also lends credence to his tale. Ock says that he merely wishes to say that he looks forward to their next encounter. As Ock leaves in one of the jets, Spider-Man sees he's not getting any signal from the tracer. It must have been damaged in the fight. But he has the burundite, and that's all that matters. At the movie studio, MJ thinks she has to lure him closer, so she tells Goldman that when she's dead, they'll have to change the storyline on 'Secret hospital'. She asks him would he like to know what it is. He says yes enthusiastically. MJ leans in to whisper it to him, then sprays him in the face with her hairspray, and then smacks him in the face with her handbag, knocking him out. MJ wonders does she really want to be an actress??

At Cordco Inc, they have a prototype satellite ready to distribute the burundite mist. Thor arrives, and takes the satellite into space. Back on earth, they await the results. Then at last they see it is working. The accelerated deterioration is stopping. Some damage was done, but it's over. Thor asks why Spider-Man is hiding his glee. Spider-Man says he is happy they're safe, but they had the solution to one of the most insidious blights in history. The cure was worse than the disease, but he can't help wondering "what if?". That night, he returns home to his apartment where he finds MJ waiting. They both say to each other at the same time, "Honey, you won't believe the day I've had". They smile and hug each other.

In General...

This issue was a fantastic climax to the two major plotlines that spanned the last several issues. First off, they revelation of Ock's betrayl was not a total surprise, as he mentioned it a couple of issue ago. But the revelation of his real sinister agenda was great. A pity his plan had a flaw with the negative side effect of his cure, because it was a really clever way to get a sinister ruling over the world. Watching Ock easily fend off the rest of the Six's attacks was awesome. He calmly deflects their attacks while smoking a cigarette. What a suave villain. Gotta' love him. Ock letting Spider-Man go at the end was also great, as it showed Ock is no fool. He may want to kill Spider-Man, but he's not prepared to sacrifice himself or the entire planet to do it. As he put it, there is no profit in that.

As for MJ, stalkers, stalkers everywhere. Boy, does she attract the wrong kind of guy. Again, it was not a total surprise to find out Officer Goldman was her other staler, as he was acting really wierd in issue #335, when he visited her in her apartment. It was nice to see Caesar get what he deserved, not that murder is justified. Though I had to applaud MJ for the question she asked herself after it was all over, does she really want to be an actress?? But it was great to see MJ take care of herself, and not always rely on Peter to save the day.

Overall Rating...

A fantastic ending to this storyline. Particular praise for Doctor Octopus and Mary Jane, who really shined in this story.

Four webs for this issue.