|Cover Art:||Mark Beachum|
Spidey swings off to hunt the Black Fox but in the shadows is a mysterious figure identified as Chance. He reveals to whoever his boss is that he killed Andre and is now going to go after Spider-Man. He bets double-or-nothing his $10k fee for killing Andre to whoever he's talking to that he can take Spidey out in 24 hours.
Spidey catches up with the Black Fox who tells him Andre was his friend and it wasn't him who murdered him. As they struggle, Chance strikes. He has 360 degree vision in his costume so Spidey's attempts to sneak up on him don't work. Meanwhile, the Black Fox escapes. Chance also escapes when Spidey saves a resident.
As Spidey goes home and tries to get some sleep, MJ pops round and Pete fills her in on his eviction problem. Meanwhile, the Black Fox is trying to hawk the jewel to another buyer. The buyer appears to double-cross him though by secretly phoning Chance (whose identity is some sort of businessman called Mr Powell) to tell him the Fox's whereabouts.
While out swinging, Spidey comes across the tracer signal he placed on Fox and intercepts Chance attacking him. Spidey puts a beating on Chance and destroys his costume. The Fox has escaped though and this time has ditched Spider-Man's tracer. Pete does go to the buyer's office though and sell the notebook for $3000. He pays off Nathan's medical bills anonymously (much to the puzzlement but pleasure of Aunt May). We see the Fox returned the jewel and claimed the reward money before setting off on some sort of cruise. Meanwhile, MJ has renovated Pete's flat completely and he is allowed to stay.
This two-parter continues the theme of Spidey not quite being the whiter-than- white hero. While not having the impact of issues 11-13 - David Michelinie's writing isn't quite as sharp as Peter David's - it is still nonetheless part of a continued improvement in the title.
The main contention, of course, is the notebook. Technically it doesn't belong to anyone so Spider-Man hasn't done anything wrong. But he did pick it up from the golden building only after he realised what the Kingpin was up to (see issue 6). It is his agonising over this though that has brought a more realistic feel to the books.
Is re-thinking of what he does with bad guys is also interesting. In recent issues he's been shown that storming in fists-first doesn't solve anything but in this one he's seen that by being compassionate and thinking things through (as he did with the Black Fox in Am 265) things don't always work out either.
The Black Fox's elusive nature isn't a bad thing and I'm sure he'll be back.
Pete's relationship with MJ is also beginning to be examined more closely throughout the three books and her helping him out at his flat is just a continuation of this. Having said that, on the not-so-good side of things, Chance is a pretty poor villain and Spidey doesn't have any trouble defeating him. He could have been anyone and in truth was probably just a page-filler to make this a two-part story instead of just one.
A decent story in the larger picture of things but the appearance of Chance - a weak villain - lets things down.