Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #135

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This story is part of an Arc: "Return of the Sin-Eater"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Henrique Investigates

This review was first published on: 2002.

Background...

Pertinent events at the time: Spidey was recently married, and even more recently buried alive by Kraven in Kraven's Last Hunt. Venom was yet to show, so Spidey still wears the Black Costume (note, not the symbiote, the regular one).

Also, long time supporting character N.Y.P.D. Captain Jean DeWolff had been murdered some time ago, in Spectacular Spider-Man #107. Working with Sargeant Stan Carter to find the serial-killer who targeted "sinners", a masked man who called himself Sin-Eater, Spider-Man seeked vengeance and justice for a dead friend. When he finally unmasked the villain, he found Carter's face. Blind with fury for being betrayed, and for Jean's death, he beat Carter senseless, and was stopped by DareDevil short from killing him. After that, he almost let an angry mob kill Carter when he was being taken into custody. DareDevil's desperate call for him made him come to his senses.

The Death of Jean DeWolff is known as one of the top stories in Spider-Man's history. Here, Peter David chose to revisit Stan Carter (aka Sin-Eater) and once again he weaved a great tale.

In Detail...

"Sin-Thesis"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #135
Feb 1988 : SM Title
Summary: Electro, Stan Carter
Arc: Part 2 of "Return of the Sin-Eater"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  Peter David
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Sal Buscema
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Articles: Electro, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Sin-Eater

Picking up where we were left off, Spider-Man is trying to get up after getting his clock cleaned by Max Dillon in last issue, while the crowd gets close to him. (Continuity glitch: where are the cops?) Mixed feelings abound in the crowd, but it seems that those who want to unmask/hurt Spidey are winning, until the most unlikely individual comes to the rescue: the stuttering and limp Stan Carter sends away the crowd, weilding a toy shotgun. As Spidey leaves, still having trouble grappling to walls, two police cars arrive, and Carter surrenders (Continuity glitch, part 2: I thought they were already there...)

Peter arrives home angry at himself for holding back when he could've KO'ed Dillon with one single punch. He's red as a lobster (from Electro's shock), and MJ doesn't find that funny.

As the precint, Sgt. Tork asks Carter why did he load a toy weapon. While the Sin-Eater persona displays more of it's cruelty and aggressivness, Carter manages to ignore it, and says it's for protection (although I fail to realise how can a loaded toy shotgun can be more effective in protecting than an unloaded one). Scott Rosenberg, the self-appointed agent barges in and demands Carter being freed. Tork agrees to it, and Rosenberg shuns off the reporters. He calls a cab for Carter, and Carter shuns him off. Meanwhile Peter is having nightmares about killing Electro, killing Carter, or getting killed by Electro.

Carter tries to get a job. The cops don't want him back, security companies don't want to hire him, he can't even get a job as a mini-mall clerk. Then Rosenberg drops by again, and Carter concedes in writing a book and going to some talk-shows, with the agreeance of the Sin-Eater. However, he refuses the help of a ghost-writer. "I already have my ghost."

A few days later, MJ is modelling in a talk show, and Peter is the audience. Max Dillon is at home watching, and he fancies MJ. Cool. After the stilist for whom MJ was working leaves, the show's next guest is Stan Carter. Peter gets mad and goes to change his clothes. Regis, the host, asks Carter about being a psichotic murderer. Carter remains silent, but Sin-Eater's response is hillarious. Regis apologises, and changes the subject to Carter's book, "The Death of Jean DeWolff". Spidey drops in calling him a liar, and Electro sees it as the perfect chance to humilliate him in national TV.

Spidey and Carter have a very vocal argument, where Carter reveals he and Jean were lovers. Spidey has no reaction, and then Max Dillon arrives. He challenges Spidey for a fight, and Spidey doesn't reply. Dillon leaves laughing leaving a downcast Spidey behind.

In General...

This story continues at maximum pace. It's hard to imagine that any story could be a worthy successor to the original Sin Eater saga, but this fantastic tale achieves just that.

Overall Rating...

Five webs - no less.