Comics : Web of Spider-Man #43

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This story is part of an Arc: "Cult Of Love"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: World Wide Web of Spidey

This review was first published on: 2005.

In Detail...

"Autodafe"
Web of Spider-Man #43
Oct 1988 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "Cult Of Love"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  Peter David
Pencils:  Alex Saviuk
Inker:  Keith Williams
Cover Art:  Alex Saviuk
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson-Parker

Pete is angry at Flash and the reverend for taking Betty but the rev asks him if he's ever don anything wrong for the greater good (hmmm, good point – 'Well no… I mean, maybe assault and battery… and illegal entry', Pete thinks).

The reverend is trying to deprogram Betty, while May pops into MJ's and Pete's. MJ is in the shower and Pete is at Flash's. May sees MJ's lingerie shoot pics!

Teacher has told Brother Guy to search for Betty at the list of places she originally gave them about where she might stay. He also says to keep an eye on Bruce, who could have been pushed over the edge by the deprogrammers' raid. The cult launch an attack on Flash's flat. Pete gets the rev to safety but one of the cult members holds a knife to Flash's throat, preventing Pete from doing anything too rash.

At the cult's HQ, Bruce has set a fire in the basement. In MJ's flat, May is shocked at the pictures when MJ says they're for a catalogue. She tells MJ if she hurts Pete then she'll have to dock (deck) her! MJ burns the pictures and negatives. She obviously didn't fancy a rumble with Aunt May.

Back at the cult's HQ and Pete and Flash are tied up. Bruce wants to kill them and gets a gun from Teacher's office. Meanwhile, the flames begin to take hold. Kate and Ben have managed to track where the cult are with a bit of help from the reverend and one of Ben's sources and they set off to go there, after calling the police.

Betty is much more herself after the reverend's deprogramming efforts. As the fire burns, Pete helps her and Flash escape. After a quick change to Spidey, he intercepts Bruce and then deals with Teacher, who also has a gun. Bruce and Teacher get trapped in the burning building.

Pete, Betty and Flash are outside when Kate and Ben turns up. Kate goes to find Tracey but realises it isn't her sister.

In General...

There's a nice air of comedy throughout this arc that keeps the story from being too dark too. Pete's 'tacky' lamp in part one is a funny side and his thoughts about assault and battery maybe being illegal is hilarious – probably the funniest line in a Spidey book in a decade, at least. May telling Mary-Jane she'd dock (deck) her if she hurt Pete was a great side too.

MJ is finally used well – perhaps for the first time since the wedding almost a year ago issues wise. She's not just a damsel in distress but instead has her own subplot that uses Pete without keeping him away from the main plot.

The end is also good. It's not a happily ever after one and, as Kate reminds us, not every thing has a happy ending.

Overall Rating...

The best use of the supporting cast in some time and a good amount of comedy to prevent things being too heavy. Peter David's writing is strong, though slightly stereotypical but this doesn't detract.