Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #234

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This story is part of an Arc: "Blood Brothers"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Filling Gaps

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

The return of Ben Reilly meant either he or Peter was the spider-clone, and one of them was the original. After tests by Ben's friend, Seward Trainer, it was determined that Peter was the clone, and he chose to hang up his webs and commit to having a family with Mary Jane. Ben is now the man behind the mask, but the discovery in the smokestack where the original clone was dumped of a skeleton wearing a torn costume casts doubt on everything all over again.

To top it off, in part one of this storyline, Ben's new love interest Jessica, who's father was the burglar who killed Uncle Ben, managed to get a photo of Ben in costume with his mask off. What will this mean for the life Ben is trying to start?

Jonah had Peter fly back in to New York, to get a picture of Ben as Spider-man stealing the above-mentioned skeleton. A gang of cybernetic thugs jumped Peter and a pregnant MJ out in the street, beating the recently-depowered Pete to an inch of his life. Ben meanwhile had his apartment ransacked, and his place of work, The Daily Grind coffee shop, burned to the ground.

Ben tracked Seward Trainer by placing a tracer on some crates of equipment at his old lab which were shipped out. He ran afoul of the new cyberneticly-enhanced Hobgoblin, who's own motives in this are as unclear as ever.

In Detail...

"Leap Of Faith"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #234
May 1996 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "Blood Brothers"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Todd DeZago
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  John Stanisci
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Articles: Ben Reilly, Hobgoblin IV (Macendale), Carradine, Jessica, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Molten Man, Professor Mendel Stromm

Ben has been placed in his bloody costume, shredded by Hobby, in Pete & MJ's hotel bed. Ben moans about how he's screwed up everything, and failed at being both Spidey and Ben Reilly. Pete tries to talk him out of it, saying stuff happens. Pete also points out that whoever is behind it all has to know both of their secret identities. Ben says Pete was right all along, that it was Seward behind everything.

Cut to Seward yelling that he won't be a part of the plan any longer, that Ben was never supposed to come to harm. He's yelling at the green-cloaked, cybernetic guy (from ASM #411), who I still think hasn't been named. Green cloak says they never had such an agreement, and that Trainer will continue his research to reverse his condition or he'll give Ben some info on Trainer that Ben'll find "quite shocking". Hobgoblin says the plan is being carried out to specifications, both Peter Parker and Spider-man beaten and incapacitated. Green Cloak asks if Spider-man appeared during the attack on Peter Parker. Hobby says no, and did he expect him to? Green Cloak says no, not at all.

Peter apologizes for being right about Seward Trainer, and that he and Ben should both get to the bottom of it. MJ tells him she knows how much it must hurt to be betrayed. Ben moans that he accused Jessica. MJ says to apologize to her, that if she cares for him, she'll listen. Peter says they should confront Seward. Ben says he can't and swings away, to the apartment of Jessica Carradine. He comes in her window saying sorry for accusing her and being wrong, and that he cares for her. Jessica says she's had enough hate in her life for Spidey and that she's willing to put the past behind her. They embrace, and Ben says he's sorry..but also asks if she'll burn the negatives of him in costume? This sets Jessica off, she says he'll say anything just to get the pictures, and to get out before she calls the cops. Good job Ben.

At the Long Island home of Liz and Normie Allen, Liz is checking some facts and figures of Oscorp Industries, as she's now a silent partner after the death of her husband Harry Osborne. She notices the company is investing a ton of capital into a lesser subsidiary. She calls her brother Mark Raxton, aka The Molten Man, who now seemingly runs Oscorp and tells him of all the Oscorp money being funneled to a little research company called Multivex.

Ben comes back to talk to Peter, but Mary Jane says Peter has run off to Multivex to find his own answers. Cut to Peter lockpicking his way in, unplugging some security cameras, and trying to pose as an employee. From schematics he looked up, he tries to find Trainer's office. Then he's caught by the Cell-12 goons again, who subdue him. This time, one of them says, they have been instructed to deal with him accordingly if he came back snooping around. Before they can do that Ben busts in and shoots them with impact webbing. Peter webs some of the Cell-12 guys with webshooters he brought. Ben finishes taking them out. Hobgoblin zooms in on his glider, asking if they're back for more abuse. Ben sends Peter to find Seward, and takes on Hobgoblin. Their fight leads them outside. Peter is chasing Seward who won't stop, and he chases him out on the roof.

Ben knocks Hobby off his glider, which heads straight for an explosive fuel tank near Peter and Seward. Peter jumps onto it without thinking, and steers it away. Ben is pummeling Hobby, but realizes he has to save Peter who's falling off the glider. He does, but in the time it takes to do it, Hobby and Seward make their escape. Ben congratulates Peter for sacrificing what he wanted to stop the glider. He says he has all the responsiblity with none of the powers, and that what he did took guts. Peter says they still don't know who's behind it all, and they're back to square one.

In General...

Pete and Ben are back to square one, and essentially so are we as readers. We know from this issue that Hobby and Cell-12 are working for the green-cloaked guy (what's his name again, anyway? They haven't bothered to identify him whatsoever), as is Seward. The only real revelation is that Oscorp money is being suspiciously funneled into Multivex. Ben didn't do much this issue except complain. Yeah, we know he's lost his girl, apartment and job, but it seems like hardly anything compared to any one of Peter's worst days as Spidey. Stop whining, Ben!!

Overall Rating...

Another running-in-place installment for this arc. The Sal Buscema art is nice to look at however, as always. Hopefully, we're over the hump with this and the last issue--some more significant stuff needs to start happening and soon.