Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #8

Background

Two issues ago, Doctor Octopus declared that he would make Spider-Man publicly reveal his identity. Last issue, Doc Ock tricked Spidey into thinking he was robbing a museum while he was actually kidnapping Hayyan Zarour, the Palestinian Foreign Minister, to further his plans...

Story Details

After Doctor Octopus' kidnapping of the Palestinian Foreign Minister, the Middle East has fallen into turmoil. The whole world waits to see what Octopus will demand, including the Amazing Spider-Man. Doc Ock finally calls into a radio show, where he makes his single, simple demand: at noon on Saturday, Octopus wants Spider-Man to walk into Times Square and take off his mask for the whole world to see. After terminating the phone conversation, Zarour speaks up, and tells Octavius that he is a fool to risk a war in the Middle East only to see Spider-Man unmask himself. Doc Ock simply tells Zarour to be quiet.

On a television show, politicians, military officials, and the leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards, have gathered to discuss the situation. They discuss various stances on super-heroes and the mindset of Doctor Octopus, but what it all boils down to is that everything rests on Spider-Man. Spider-Man, meanwhile, out of costume and looking for advice from his Aunt May in Forest Hills. Peter wonders whether being Spider-Man causes more harm than good, and he frets over what to do come Saturday at noon.

Back at Octavius' workshop, Zarour has started talking again. He asks why Doc Ock hates Spider-Man so much, and Octavius replies that he hates him because, despite the fact that Octopus is stronger and smarter than Spidey, the wall- crawler is still seen as his equal. But Zarour insists that Doctor Octopus is afraid of Spider-Man. Octavius flies into a rage, but gathers control of himself, declaring that no one will break him.

Later that night, Spider-Man meets Detective Neil Garrett in Central Park. Spidey's hoping that Garrett has some clue about where Octavius could be, but he's out of luck. A moment later, Spidey notices a helicopter in the sky and assumes that Garrett has led the NYPD to him. But then Spidey turns around and sees a whole battalion of camouflaged soldiers along with one man in a trenchcoat. Mr. Trenchcoat tells Spidey that Zarour's safety is of the utmost importance, and that they know the general vicinity of where Octavius took him. After a closer look, Detective Garrett realizes that the soldiers aren't Palestinian, but rather Israeli Secret Service. Confused, Spidey asks why the Israelis would help to save the Palestinian Foreign Minister when their two countries hate each other, and Mr. Trenchcoat says that while the two nations have their differences, they don't want war. Trenchcoat says that due to security reasons they cannot explain how they've been tracking Zarour, but he does tell Spidey and Garrett that they lost the signal on the tracking device in an underpass in Brooklyn. Trenchcoat shows Spidey the location on a map and asks if that spot has any relevance. Spidey appears lost in thought...

Later that night, Peter drops by Mary Jane's house. MJ tells Peter about all the bad things that are happening as a result of Zarour's kidnapping, and she goes on to say that the governments will blame the whole thing on Spider-Man. MJ asks him what he's going to do, and Peter replies that he's going to do the only thing he can...

General Comments

The "Countdown" storyline picks up more steam with this issue, as Paul Jenkins has put Spidey between a rock and a hard place, while Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher continue to produce simply gorgeous art. The tension is really building in this story, and I can't wait to see what happens.

One minor complaint: the dates and times that had been appearing periodically throughout this title are absent in this issue. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but they seem rather important in a storyline called "Countdown", I think. In issue #7, Doc Ock kidnapped Zarour on a Thursday morning, so I guess it's safe to assume that this issue takes place Thursday afternoon and night.

Overall Rating

"Countdown" just keeps getting better. Four and a half webs.