Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #76

Background

This issue begins with a flashback, to seven years before at ESU. Professor William Fields is working late with his family waiting when dark, shadowy strangers bust in and demand his 'research'. He slips his wife a little black book (!), and sends them out the window. A minute later, explosions jump from the building. The mysterious evil figure emerges from the smoke, looks into the little kid's eyes and says, "I will reclaim that which should be mine!". The building disappears into more explosions.

Story 'Shoc'

  Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #76
Summary: First Jill Stacy, First S.H.O.C., First Crown
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Art: John Romita, Jr.

Flash back to the present, where Peter and Mary Jane (showing quite a bit of cleavage), wake up on the run for school. MJ is going back to school, and Peter is trying to get on to Dr. Lanning's project. (Dr. Lanning, it seems, is picking up on Dr. Fields's research.) Peter has time to swing by the Bugle and talk to Betty about it before showing up at the campus. When he does, he meets a kid named Neil, who Peter is supposed to be tutoring. They both head over to the research lab, where they find Dr. Lanning conducting a very ominous looking experiment. As they enter, of course, they are met by a dark, evil looking figure, calling himself Crown.

Neil and Peter run away, and Parker shoves the kid in a closet, locking him in with a broom. He takes out a few of Crown's cronies (crownies!), and jumps into his tights. It seems like Crown is still after the research of Dr. Fields, and will stop at nothing, not even murder, to obtain it. Just when it seems like the dark villain is going to peel back a Spider-cap, another dark figure enters the room. A black and purple-armored man who Crown calls SHOC. He tries to shut down the out-of-control experiment as Crown, using his powers to extend his arms into huge fists, grabs Spidey and SHOC. A few webs in the eyes makes Crown let them go, and SHOC creates a rift of energy, using his suit to interface with the generator of the experiment. Spider-Man throws Crown and company into the rift, and SHOC closes the 'door' on them.

Afterwards, Peter lets a very perturbed Neil out of the janitorial closet where he's been all along (???), and meets MJ outside on campus. Mary Jane has a surprise for Peter, however, and introduces him to Gwen Stacy's cousin, Jill Stacy!

General Comments

I was uncertain about this issue. There were things I liked, and things I didn't like. But all in all, it was pretty good. It seems like they're letting the loose threads of the 'Revelations' story-line dangle in the wind for awhile (probably until they can figure out how to tie them up), and the Parker's are getting on with their lives.

The introduction to the issue seemed overly-formula, and it wasn't hard for me to figure out who SHOC's real identity is, and how it all fits in. Still, quite a bit of action that Peter just seemed to 'fall into', without really trying.

Overall Rating

I'll be pessimistic and give it two. Nothing out of the ordinary happening in this book, and it seemed like the whole thing is just filler. Just like after Ben was implemented as Spider-Man, the creative teams have to make a couple of self-contained adventures to fill the gap between major story lines, but I think they could have done a better job on the story, instead of relying on the 'Spider-Man Mad Libs' plot devices.