At the end of the Child Within storyline (see Spectacular Spider-Man #183), Vermin was once again in the care of Dr. Kafka, who hoped to find a cure for his condition. This story arc examines their progress.
It’s night in the city. Spidey’s doing his webslinging thing while MJ is waiting up for him in their bedroom. She hears a noise, thinks it’s Peter, and walks out into the living room – which Peter has somehow filled with dozens of bouquets of flowers (didn’t he do the same last issue?). Anyway, MJ says it’s a good way to start as an apology for their fight earlier that night (now I know he DID do that last issue already. Let me check… yep, it’s there on page ??). They share a romantic kiss on the rooftop.
Cut to Vermin, who is going crazy in his cell. He overexerts himself, however, and quickly changes back to Edward. Of course, Dr. Kafka is watching all this because it’s taking place in her lab/office at NYU. The two talk, and Dr. Kafka says that Vermin has been manifesting less frequently and for shorter periods of time. Edward says he feels sorry for Vermin, because he protected him when he weak. Now it feels like he’s murdering him.
Meanwhile, Peter and MJ are still in make-up mode (or is that make-out mode?), playing around on the bed. We tastefully fade out from there and move over to Edward. He is sleeping in his bed, but suddenly hears a voice in his head that says “Come now.” He screams out and Dr. Kafka comes rushing in (what exactly are the arrangements at her office anyway?) Edward almost transforms into Vermin again, but Dr. Kafka calms him down.
Across town, Peter is awake as well. He has a gut feeling that something bad is going on. So he suits up and goes for more webslinging (if this really is the same night as the Black Crow/Puma donnybrook that is a whole lot of swinging through the city for one night).
Meanwhile, the Mutates (these are the guys who were calling to Vermin earlier) decide if he won’t come to him, they’ll just go to him. A whole crowd of them bust out of the sewer, scaring a nearby drunk. It’s hard to describe what the Mutates look like, because each one has a different appearance. They’re all different colors, but their bodies are mostly squat and grotesque, and their faces have exaggerated fangs and evil little eyes. Anyway, shortly afterwards they bust into Dr. Kafka’s office and grab both Edward and Dr. Kafka and take them to their underground hideout.
You knew Vermin wouldn’t just go away without a fight. I’m glad that DeMatteis decides to return to this villain, because his story was so intriguing and I wanted to see what happened next.
This is a very deep psychological drama - not the usual superhero beat ‘em up affair. There isn’t even the obligatory fight scene inserted anywhere! Still, it’s a natural outgrowth of previous stories and subplots, so that’s okay once in a while.