Two issues ago, Spidey tangled with Fusion, a nasty villain who possesses the powers of seemingly every superhuman in the Marvel Universe. Spidey got beat up by him pretty bad, and then Fusion killed three hundred people with a bomb. So last issue, Spidey went to avenge those people, but got trounced even worse by Fusion, and wound up with a broken neck.
We find Spider-Man as his broken body is being dragged across the ground by Fusion, and the wall-crawler comes to the realization that he will never walk again. Spidey blacks out, and when he comes to, he's in Fusion's lair. Fusion explains to him that the bomb that killed those three hundred people would never have detonate if Spidey had not tried to stop it, and that it's the web-slinger's fault that those people are dead. Spidey lays on the floor, helpless, trying to will himself to move, but not being able to overcome the despair of never walking again.
Fusion continues to berate Spidey, blaming him for the death of his son. Spidey suggests that the blame for the child's death could perhaps lie with the father, and Fusion tosses the helpless web-slinger against the wall and walks away. Spidey lays on the floor, trying to fight, when suddenly, he can move his fingers again. He climbs to his feet and confronts a shocked Fusion. It turns out that Spidey has discovered Fusion's secret: that he doesn't actually possess all of the power that he seems to - rather, he has a gift of persuasion that enables him to make people believe anything he wants, including making Spider-Man believe that his neck was broken.
Fusion attacks Spidey, using various superpowers, but now that Spidey knows Fusion's secret, he can fight back. Spidey manages to get ahold of the device Fusion uses to enhance his powers, and when Fusion tries to detonate it while in the wall-crawler's hands, Spidey tosses it away where it explodes and starts Fusion's hideout crumbling. Fusion flees to the street and Spidey pursues and when Fusion attacks with all the might of the Incredible Hulk, Spidey takes the punch in the chest and isn't even fazed. But just when Spidey's about to finish him off, Fusion commands a nearby motorist to crash his vehicle. Spidey jumps to the rescue, saving the driver, but allowing Fusion to escape.
And so Spidey looks back on his day, thinking about how Fusion used his son's death as an excuse to kill, whereas Peter Parker used his Uncle Ben's death as a reason to try to save lives. And so Spidey makes his way home, remembering to feed Barkley on the way.
I can't remember the last time I had such a difficult time waiting for a Spider-Man comic. The month between last issue and this issue seemed to take forever. But despite so much build-up, and such high expectations for this issue, it didn't let me down at all.
Paul Jenkins has crafted a masterpiece with this storyline. I've eagerly anticipated every issue, and haven't been disappointed at all. He's created a very interesting villain in Fusion, and I hope we seem him again sometime. It was also fascinating to see someone with an iron will like Spider-Man's trying to overcome what they think is a broken back, and to see what's going through his head as he tries to deal with it.
And Mark Buckingham continues to do his usual terrific job. I particularly loved the 12 and 16 panel pages, as I felt that the storytelling on them was phenomenal.
This issue gets a well-deserved five webs, bringing the Fusion storyline to a grand total of a perfect 15 webs! In my opinion, this was one of the best Spider-Man stories ever.