Spider-Hunt is over, but does that mean the web-slinger is safe? Far from it! Spidey plunges head-long into the negative zone, goes up against the living bomb-blast Blastaar, and gains the mysterious costume of Dusk - just in time for Identity Crisis!
As if they hadn't already learned, MJ and Peter try to have a peaceful night out at a restaurant. However, a huge, black vortex has opened right in the middle of Yancy Street, and it's sucking in whatever it can! Spidey swings into action. Spidey tries to save three city kids, but to no avail. They get sucked in, and Spidey's about to leap in after them, when he's stopped by SHOC! The anomaly is similar to his own powers, so he thought he'd check it out. SHOC gives Peter part of his dark force (in the form of an armband), and tells him he'll pull Spidey out when he's got the kids.
With a leap into the darkness, Spidey goes flying through the negative zone! He lands relatively harmlessly on the negative version of Earth, right in the middle of a massive war, and he sees the kids being led away by some soldiers. While Spidey (now decked out in black and white, thanks to the negative zone), fights to catch up with the kids, he runs into Dusk, and urges Spider-Man to fight against the Imperial troops. Spider-Man and Dusk fight side to side, until a laser blast rips through Dusk. The rebel troops decide that the day is lost, and take Dusk's fallen form back to the rebel HQ.
There, the injured Dusk explains the Spider-Man that he's only a captain of the original Dusk's army (the main guy it seems was shoved through the vortex and never seen again). The captain offers Spider-Man the Dusk costume if Spidey vows to lead the rebellion against the Imperial Fortress (where, of course, the Earth kids are being held). Spider-Man must also find the real Dusk and return the costume to him. Spidey agrees and goes charging into battle as Dusk!
Of course, upon entering the Imperial Fortress, Spider-Dusk goes up against Blastaar (who just happens to be the leader of the Imperial Troops). Vowing vengeance against his old foe (Dusk, not Spidey), the living bomb-blast goes tearing after our hero. Seems like Blastaar wants to take his army through the vortex and invade Earth! Well, Spider-Man makes the most of Dusk's ability to blend with shadows, and dogs the villain enough to trick him into destroying the place's cooling system. In a huge fireball, the whole fortress goes up!
After that, it's a quick squeeze on SHOC's armband and Spidey returns to the regular world with three kids, a cat, and a new costume in tow! Dusk is born!
Actually, as much as I dislike convoluted 'alternate dimension' stories, I really liked this Identity Issue prelude. The negative zone was given a good feeling, and you got a sense of the troubles on the other world. I liked the idea that several people have assumed the Dusk identity, and I also like the foreshadowing about the true Dusk existing in Spider-Man's world. Some people think that the Dusk identity is undefined, but I think that's exactly what makes this character cool. The dark look and nature of his powers make him mysterious.
If all the other Identities of Spidey's are this cool, I think we're in store for a surprisingly-interesting story-arc!
I have to reserve five webs for extremely incredible issues, but this one delivered in all other categories. J.R. Jr is always stupendous, and Howard Mackie gave us a very believable (as far as comics go) story, with plenty of open-ends to keep us interested. I'm happy to see that the Spider-crew has moved beyond re-instating Peter as the true Spider-Man, and are plowing forward with the stories!