Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #79

Background

We begin in the in Caribbean, where the scantily-clad scientist Andrea Janson (you gotta love brainy chicks in bikinis), is attempting to help Michael Morbius from his current, blood-lusting state. Morbius is entombed in a machine that is supposedly going to cure him. However, the dark, powerful, and mysterious Crown appears, and gives Dr. Janson a rather involved kiss. "Hail Hydra, he should serve us well." Janson says referring to Morbius.

Story 'After The Fall'

  Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #79
Summary: Morbius, S.H.O.C., Hydra, Crown
Arc: Part 1 of 'The Crown Saga' (1-2)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Art: John Romita, Jr.

Spider-Man #79 continues to build on stories from previous issues. Hydra has been making their presence known in New York, and Spidey - among other things - has been searching for the cursed Living Vampire Morbius. Another newcomer, SHOC, has also been in on things. This episode brings all those elements together in a surprising way.

Our favorite vampire is in hot water! He's taken to Fortunato, where Dr. Janson is given some facilities to unlock the secrets of his powers through his blood. Crown is sent off to pick up the son of Dr. Fields (the big-shot scientist guy whose notes everybody's been after lately).

Switch to a swinging Spidey, who gets nailed by some unseen force, causing him to plummet, entangled in his own webbing. But the newcomer, SHOC, saves him with a fly-by. He doesn't stick around very long, and drops Peter off at the next available rooftop. He has just enough time to hurry to ESU to meet MJ and a very cold Betty Brant.

Betty's been bumming out lately. She's torn up about Flash Thompson (they have a history, but Flash has his drinking problem). When she tried to talk to Peter about it last issue, he ditched her because he saw Morbius through the coffee-shop window. She forgives him after Peter apologizes, and Mary Jane gives her a little shove. They then run into Neal Akin, who is being tutored by Peter for Dr. Lanning's research team. As the Parkers and friends agree to go grab a cup of joe, Peter sees Paul Stacy, the late Gwen Stacy's cousin, who is tutoring Peter for Dr. Lanning's project. "So what does that make him to me?" Neal asks Peter. Paul is rather cold and snobby-looking with his little goatee and reflecto-glasses.

After a while at the local diner, the girls split. Betty's off to Latveria, where she chasing a big story given to her by J. Jonah Jameson (watch Spider-Man Unlimited #16 for details!) The boys leave shortly afterwards, and as they walk, Peter doubles over from a sudden pain. (Spidey was bitten by Morbius in Issue #77) The sky gets real dark. No, I mean REAL DARK. Neal takes off and Peter stumbles down an alley, going to change into the reds-and-blues. But before he can, a woman approaches him. She introduces herself as Abby Levin. They both watch in horror as black ooze falls from the sky and materializes into Hydra soldiers. They pounce on the two, but Peter comes out swinging. When the Hydra point their weapons, Neal appears, and turns into SHOC! (Oh, I am so surprised).

Well, after SHOC pummels on the soldiers and stretching his body in all different directions, Crown shows up in a black shower from the sky. (How do they do that?) They exchange the "you-killed-my-father/Now-I'll-kill-you" type of super-hero stuff, and then Crown picks up Peter (still in his secret ID), and threatens his life with big pointy Crown-fingers. SHOC powers down, and Crown sucks them al up into the sky and back to Hydra's headquarters. Peter wakes up in a prison cell deep below Hydra headquarters. The guards joke about his "cell-mate", and he turns around to see blood-red eyes. Chains break, and Morbius emerges from the shadows.

General Comments

Is this just a villain revival with Morbius, with a SHOC sidekick? Still, there's space for this story to grow.

Overall Rating

Let's give a conservative three webs, and see where this heads to.