Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #88

Background

It's a cold New York night, and the ol'boys in blue are occupied with cutting down another of Spidey's presents - a crook bundled up in a mass of webbing and left hanging from a light post. The badges get Detective Snipes to cut him down, joking as they go, but the laughing ends when they discover the man inside the webs isn't breathing anymore. It would be kind of hard to breathe when your mouth and nose were full of webbing!

Story 'Who Did Joey Z?'

Peter shows up at the scene with JJJ and Ben Urich to investigate. Norman Osborn also shows, spouting what a threat Spider-Man is, how he should be apprehended, blah blah blah. Then tension between Norman and Peter thickens, and Pete says he'll walk home. As he does, he sees the Green Goblin, standing atop a building, silhouetted against the night sky. Peter bounds up the stairs, changing into his webs on the way, only to find a single pumpkin-bomb grinning at him from the ledge. He chucks it, where it explodes in the air. While Spidey screams at the sky, the police show up (nervous, of course), and Spidey barely escapes their trigger fingers.

The next morning at the Daily Grind, Peter and MJ are talking about the recent events when Peter again spies the mysterious Goblin form, but when Peter chases it down, it disappears in the snow. Peter decides to confront Norman in his offices at Osborn Industries, where Norman, behind the safety of security cameras, tells Peter he wants him ruined, his family ruined. Peter leaves, only to return as Spider-Man, snatching Osborn out of an elevator and up to the top of the Osborn Industries building. Norman continues with the mind games by leaping off the ledge, only to have Spider-Man save him. The cops, however, don't see it as a rescue and begin shooting. Spidey flees, only to get another glimpse of the 'green shadow' of the goblin.

Spidey first swings by the midtown precinct where Joey Z was left, and gives Detective Snipes a webbing sampling, to prove that Spider-Man wasn't responsible. He then swings over to the home of Arthur Stacy, Captain George Stacy's brother, and asks for help. "Let's see what we can do, young man." Stacy says, "I've been wanting to speak to you for some time."

General Comments

It finally seems like we're through with the obligatory 'Peter's return in the webs' stories, and progressing on to more important things. Spidey's always been hunted by someone, and quite often the NYPD and the public, but never like this before. On some accounts, it's fun and exciting, but on other grounds, the whole thing is extremely old and overdone. You'd think after Spidey's saved so many butts and averted disaster on so many occasions, the entire freaking city wouldn't be so quick to brand him a killer.

The regular crew has done another great job on the production of the story, John Jr. proving once again that you don't have to draw in that cartoon manga style to make a great-looking book. The cover, with Spidey holding that pumpkin bomb in the snow has great contrast, and not just the colors.

This story is just the beginning for the 'Spider Hunt' extravaganza, and considering everything that follows, it, I'd have to say this was the strongest story out of them all. This may one of the disadvantages of reviewing a comic after reading beyond it, but I thought there was a bunch of stuff established here that wasn't used at all during the Spider Hunt storyline. The visit to Mr. Stacy, a pretty important even considering all the guilt Peter's been carrying around, and his total aversion to the Stacy family in general, wasn't even mentioned beyond the last page of this issue. And also the webbing sample, what ever came of that? Perhaps these things will reveal themselves in the future, but it seems to me that if you're going to put obvious, important elements like that into a leader story, you'd better follow it up right away. (whew!) Okay, I'm stepping off my box right now.

Overall Rating

Great start to an otherwise mediocre story line. Good interaction between Peter and Norman (the goblin you love to hate), and cool 'winter' feel to the whole story. However, there wasn't anything amazing or outstanding to credit this book with anything greater than three webs. Maybe someday the Spider-Crew will learn to use all those loose ends they keep leaving everywhere.