Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #236

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This story is part of an Arc: "Free Will"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Ben is off fighting Dragon Man and minions of the Roxxon Corporation after attempting to help Will-o'-the-Wisp free himself from Roxxon's control (all last issue). Meanwhile, Peter Parker (we all know it, but I'll say it anyway: the REAL Spider-man) has been experiencing painful spasms the last few weeks, culminating in his collapse in Spider-Man #70... Which is where this issue picks up to conclude this two-part arc.

In Detail...

"Free Will"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #236
Jul 1996 : SM Title
Summary: Will 'O Wisp, Dragon Man, Peter in hospital
Arc: Part 2 of "Free Will"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Todd DeZago
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  John Stanisci
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Articles: Ben Reilly, The Looter, Mary Jane Watson-Parker

Peter is fighting for his life against a mysterious illness that looks like the first stages of clone degeneration (I don't remember Kaine going through this, though), but Ben can't offer any help to the situation because he's off fighting his own battle against Dragon Man.

The entire issue is pretty much reduced to Ben battling this monster before tracking down the people responsible for the whole situation, the Roxxon Corporation. Ben gets Dragon Man to turn against his would-be captors, and with the help of Will-o'-the-Wisp, manages to save the day. Meanwhile, Peter's condition seems to be getting worse ...

In General...

The art was up to par, but somehow the story just didn't cut it. It was one of those issues that you read, put down, and then forget about. By no means was it bad ... it just wasn't all that great, either.

One interesting scene, however, was the appearance of a shadowy figure lurking just behind the scenes. It wasn't Gaunt, so does that mean it was his boss? Or maybe another player, such as someone who works for Fortunato (see: Spider-man # 70 for details on this new would-be crimelord). It appears that even though Marvel has put the final resolution of the Clone Saga on the back burners for the moment, they are still willing to toss us a clue here and there.

Overall Rating...

Two and a half webs. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. And really ... Was there more of a demand for the return of Dragon Man than there was for the return of Peter Parker as the one true Spider-man???