Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #159

Background

The major villains in the Marvel Universe have agreed to work together and exchange enemies in order to defeat them once and for all.

"The Core" has thus far assigned Graviton, Trapster, and Titania to battle Spider-Man. Graviton easily defeated Spider-Man but left him alive. Trapster and Titania were defeated due to a new series of powers Spider-Man received in a lab experiment at ESU.

In the previous chapter, Magneto decided to test Spider-Man personally to determine if he is a mutant. He soon realized that was not the case.

Spider-Man wishes these new powers would simply go away. He grows increasingly agitated at the prospect of accidentally killing someone with powers he neither understands nor controls.

Story 'These Shattered Senses'

  Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #159
Summary: Acts of Vengeance, Brothers Grimm
Arc: Part 5 of 'Cosmic Spider-Man/Acts of Vengeance' (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10)
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Inker: Mike Esposito
Cover Art: Sal Buscema
Articles: Doctor Doom

The Wizard arrives in Los Angeles and breaks Percy and Barton Grimes - better known as the Brothers Grim - our of jail in exchange for their agreement to kill Spider-Man.

The next day in Manhattan Spider-Man finds his mind wandering as he reflects on the last few days. As his mind wanders, he begins floating in mid-air courtesy of his new power of flight (discovered in ASM #327). He panics and begins to fall toward the river. Webbing a tower of a nearby bridge, he swings to safety. After he regains his composure, he notices a floating spy camera. When he tries to web the camera, it detonates on contact.

It is quickly revealed that the camera was designed by Doom in order to monitor Spider-Man's new powers. Just then the Wizard contacts Doom to inform him that the Brothers Grimm have joined their alliance. Doom recommends that they search for Spider-Man in the lower midtown area of Manhattan.

In Washington, D.C. Joe Robertson's lawyer Cynthia Bernhammer and Stuart McPhee arrive at the White House. McPhee's intends to use his position as a White House advisor to award Joe a presidential pardon for his crime. While he meets with the president, away from prying eyes, Cynthia looks fondly at an autographed picture of Nick Katzenberg. They have been apparently dating, but in secret.

Back in New York, specifically Empire State University, Spider-Man watches the Con Ed crew repair the damage caused by Dr. Lubisch's experiment. He sees Jonah walking around campus and reluctantly decides to change back to Peter and find out why Jonah's on campus. As it turns out, Jonah offers Peter a job at a new publication (at a reduced salary of course) to compete with Fireheart. This is essentially "publisher payback" for stealing the Bugle from him. Before Peter can answer, his spider-sense goes off and has to leave, promising Jonah he'll give him an answer soon.

He changes back to Spider-Man and soon discovers that the source of this alarm is Madison Square Garden - due to the fact that it's now floating in mid- air. Initially thinking Graviton is back for a rematch, he notices that the Wizard's anti-gravity pods are attached to the foundation. He swings toward the Garden intent on saving those immediately affected by its new elevation. Thinking that he'll have to face the Wizard, he is momentarily confused when the Brothers Grimm make their introduction and attack him.

While Spider-Man simultaneously dodges their attack and saves the last two people from the Garden, the Brothers Grimm detonate the anti-gravity pods, causing the Garden to plummet toward the street. Spider-Man webs the foundation (and apparently transforms his webbing into some material capable of supporting the building yet remaining aloft), stopping it 25 feet off the ground. Amazed at Spider-Man's new abilities (that the Wizard failed to mention) and realizing they're out of their league, the Brothers Grimm attempt to retreat but are quickly knocked unconscious.

Spider-Man senses another floating camera recording him and instinctively tries to grab it with a web-line. It too destructs on impact.

In his laboratory Doom reviews the data collected from his latest probe and realizes that Spider-Man has become imbued with a powerful energy field. This energy field - by right - should be his.

General Comments

Doom's moving closer to his ultimate goal of acquiring Spider-Man's new power for himself. For anyone that's read Marvel comics for a while, this comes as no surprise; it's what he does. The question is what's he going to do next?

The fact that Cynthia Bernhammer is attracted to Nick Katzenberg (and the reverse) is quite disturbing. The less we say about that the better.

Overall Rating

2.5 webs. Whiz. Bang. Boom. Done. Those are the four words that I would use to describe this issue. It's not poorly done, no one is out of character, it just seems like filler.

In all honesty the fact that he created a substance as strong as adamantium yet lighter than air doesn't really bother me. Ok maybe a little bit, but he's a scientific genius. I can assume he can whip up a temporary substance with those properties.

The only story element missing is: what happened to Madison Square Garden after Spider-Man stopped its descent? I can guess but it would really be nice to hear Spider-Man say "once I lowered it to the ground" or something along those lines.

It seems that Conway is going through the motions: Here's the villain of the month. Peter is having problems adapting to these powers. Villains attack. Spider-Man catches them using his new powers.

Again this is not a bad issue, it just doesn't feel like it's necessary in this storyline.

Footnote

The original Brother Grimm (singular) appeared in Spider-Woman #3. The Brothers Grimm (plural) that appeared in this issue made their debut in Iron Man (Volume 1) #88.

Spider-Man last fought the Wizard in Amazing Spider-Man #213.