It's Christmas Eve, but poor Spidey just can't get into the spirit of the season. As such, he has taken to swinging around the Big Apple. That and a rather pointless cameo by Hydro-Man will get you a $1.99 comic book.
Spider-Man is faced with a rather common dilemma: trying to find one last gift on Christmas Eve. Of course, with the ransom on his head, several of New York's upstanding citizens want Spidey under their tree and, as he swings overhead, see fit to fire a few shots at him. Easily surviving that brouhaha, Spider-Man lets his mind wander, thinking about how long it took him to come up with a gift for Aunt Anna (a book on sign language, owing to her growing relationship with Hope Hibbert, the Parker's 9-year-old neighbor who happens to be deaf).
A quick swing by the Daily Bugle finds Spidey wondering what on earth Norman Osborn did to J. Jonah Jameson to beat him down so much. Spidey also remembers selling the box of Monster Comics that he found in the attic a few issues ago to finance a trip for MJ's Christmas present. His thoughts are finally interrupted by an excessively paranoid Hydro-Man, who bursts into a spray of water as a pre-emptive strike against the two harmless citizens he thought were stalking him. Spider-Man, of course, swings right into the aquatic Mr. Bench, who takes the time only to slam the Web-Swinger through the front window of a department store and flee the scene.
Spidery apparently loses Hydro-Man's trail, and is quickly ruminating once again, only this time he is finally thinking about the problem at hand. It seems that his partner at work, Billy Walters, gave him a Christmas present and Peter hadn't considering getting him one. Since he'd grown rather fond of Billy over the last few months, this is more than enough to set off the famous Parker guilt. Eventually, however, Spider-Man finally comes up with the right gift. Since Billy is one of the few people left in the city who likes Spider-Man instead of trying to shoot him, he decides to drop by Billy's apartment to let him shoot a few rolls of pictures together. That done, Peter can finally return home and enjoy Christmas Eve with his family.
Awwwww, how nice... Not much of a story here, I'm afraid, something made painfully apparent by Hydro-Man's unnecessary cameo. (Gimme an "F", gimme an "I", gimme an "L-L-E-R!" What's it spell? FILLER!) While it is nice to have an issue where Spidey's life isn't coming apart at the seems for a change, this one isn't anything to write home about. The art follows the same style as Wieringo's, and is appealing in a cartoonish sort of way. I just kept getting distracted by the fact that everyone's hands and feet seemed to be too big for their bodies. (Hydro-Man must wear size 23 boots). The best thing about this issue is the bond developing between Peter and Billy. Pete needs a guy friend to kick back and have a beer with once in awhile, and hopefully Billy will stick around for awhile.
Peter's new bud and one last attack of the Christmas Spirit keep this issue from scoring a single web. I'll be nice and give it two.