Web of Spider-Man #24

Background

Pete and Aunt May are on a trip with a seniors' society to Atlantic City but, as we saw at the very end of the last issue, The Vulture is also in town.

Story 'High $takes$'

We are in a casino and Aunt May is telling Pete how worried she is about Nathan's gambling. He has been out of the books since Spectacular 113 when he allowed a SWAT team to shoot a young burglar - much to Aunt May's disgust. Nathan has seemingly lost a lot of money and is desperate to win it back.

Pete, meanwhile is wearing the most ridiculous white suit you have ever seen. This is pure Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and worse. It's so bad it's good.

Anyway, back with the story. Pete feeds a few coins into a slot machine but loses his money. He thinks about using his 'emergency' money before his brain kick in and he walks away. He then offers to take Aunt May out on the boardwalk for ice cream.

Up on the roof (not the song) and the Vulture is putting a proposal to the casino owner (who has a tennis court there). Vultch has invented some dice that can be controlled. The price: one meeeeleeeon dollars (cue Dr Evil's little finger and laugh). Anyway, the owner isn't interested and sends The Vulture packing.

As Pete and May are strolling on the Boardwalk, Pete gets a blast from his Spidey-sense. As he is still keen to give up his life as Spider-Man, though (see issues of Amazing from the same time-period) and ignores them.

Aahh... but he doesn't really, because after all with great power comes great responsibility. He scales the building out of sight of Aunt May and manages to save someone who has just been thrown or jumped off the top. Pete's foot is grabbed as he scales the building however (still wearing that suit) and he begins to fall. As in Web Of 18, his Spidey-sense failed to alert him to the presence.

Back on the ground and Pete takes some pics of Aunt May before we cut to the Vulture, who is trying to raise money so that he can have a good funeral when he dies(!).

Back at the casino and May and Pete are taking in a show. The Vulture swoops in though into a different part of the casino. Pete's sense goes off and, in an effort to investigate without it looking too obvious, he volunteers for a trick as part of the show. There are two boxes on stage and smoke fills them both. Pete is in one and is supposed to transfer into the other as the trick. Pete just disappears though, leaving everyone - the magician especially - baffled.

As Spidey, he investigates where his sense is leading him. Guess who he runs into ... yep that's right ... good ol' Donald Trump. Actually, that's a lie. It is, of course, the Vulture. The Vulture is bashing up the casino after the owner didn't want to buy his trick dice. He and Spidey get into a rumble and, despite some of the most ridiculous dialogue to ever reach print (Vulture: "I am the harbinger of death! I do not bow to ground slugs such as you"), the Hobgoblin suddenly jumps in!

This is his first appearance in Web. Apparently the casino's owner is in an alliance with The Rose (which does tie in with the recent stories in Amazing). He scares off The Vulture, who doesn't fancy a scrap, pretty sharpish and then turns his attention to Spidey. Before he can battle him though, one of the casino guys tells him he is needed back in NYC. He rushes off, leaving Spider- Man more puzzled than ever.

There is a short scene between the Hobgoblin and Rose somewhere in Atlantic City where Rose essentially says the appearance of Spidey was coincidental and that he doesn't know about their operations in Atlantic City.

General Comments

Whoa! First of all - the Hobgoblin?! One minute Spidey and The Vulture are merrily battling away spurting some of the worst dialogue in comic history and the next, Hobby has burst in. Great stuff!

The change of pace is fantastic. The Vulture and Spider-Man fighting was fairly seen-it-all-before-type stuff and you could just see it petering out into a standard self-contained issue. But suddenly the whole complexion changes.

We now know both Rose and Hobgoblin were also in Atlantic City, making them prime candidates for the 'Who pushed Pete onto the rail lines/off the casino' mystery. It also advances the whole crime-war story from the other books.

Whoever it was that pushed Pete must also know he's Spidey (not many people can scale a casino), so if it is Hobgoblin or Rose then one of them must know his identity. Even if it's not then we still have a pretty cool mystery on our hands.

The Vulture was portrayed as pretty weak and his reason for wanting money (his own death) is pretty dumb. When he comes back, the writer's could really do with a re-think of what his motives are now.

Overall Rating

In the end, despite some distinct 'filler' material, this is a pretty good issue. An excellent, unexpected twist aids a story that was going nowhere and ultimately makes it a pretty good read. And if that's not enough then surely you should buy the comic just for Pete's white suit at the start!

Footnote

Incidentally, if you do want to know who or what pushed Spidey, check out Amazing Spider-Man 291