After having his life torn apart, Peter Parker is starting to get back on his feet. He's moved into an apartment with Randy Robertson, and is determined to track down his wife, Mary Jane, although everyone in Peter's life is convinced that she perished in the tragic plane crash months ago. But will the contents of the mysterious box delivered to May Parker's house at the end of the issue convince Peter that his wife is truly gone?
The issue opens with the promise that The Box brought into the Parkers' lives by the airline will change Peter's life forever. We'll see.
At his new apartment with Randy Robertson, Peter is sewing himself a new costume when his roommate announces that he has invited a few friends over. Peter comes out to join the party, but quickly remembers that he has to go see his Aunt May. Shortly after he leaves, Joe Robertson shows up looking for Peter, and he and Randy leave the party to find him.
On his way to Forest Hills, Spidey stumbles across a carjacking. He saves the car's driver from being run over by a bus, and discovers that the man's child is still in the backseat of the car. His daughter is all the man has left after his wife's recent death, and he hasn't even told the girl yet. Meanwhile in Forest Hills, most of Peter's friends have gathered to help him deal with the contents of The Box. Back at the carjacking, Spidey makes short work of the two crooks, and the man is reunited with his daughter. The man breaks the news of her mother's death to the girl, with Spidey looking on from the shadows. The girl told her father how badly she wanted her mother go get better, even though the doctors said she couldn't, and her father explained that "sometimes, no matter how hard we want things to be a certain way, they just don't turn out like that." The words ring true for Spider-Man, as well.
Peter finally arrives at Aunt May's house, and is surprised to see all of his friends there. Aunt May tells him about The Box, and he gets angry. His friends try to get him to accept that Mary Jane is dead, but he insists that "She's alive. It's the only possibility," and he leaves the room, The Box untouched. Aunt May follows him into the kitchen, The Box with her, as his friends all file out the door. She reminds Peter of how, after his parents died, he was certain that they were alive, and how it took him some time to stop denying it. And she explained how The Box had to be opened. Peter opens The Box, looks inside, and finally accepts that Mary Jane is dead.
This one was a classic for twenty-one and a half pages. Great art by JRJR (not to mention the spectacular Erik Larsen cover), and a nice story by Mackie. The scene with the man explaining his wife's death to his daughter was very touching, and suspense was being built up very well for the opening of The Box.
And then, when Peter finally opens The Box, we don't even find out what is in it. I cannot describe what a disappointment this is. After Peter denying his wife's death for so long, what could possibly be in that Box that could convince him so quickly? We'll probably never know.
Cut off the last page, and this one is near perfect. Unfortunately, that last page wrecks everything. Two webs, for great art and a mostly good story, except for one major flaw.