Web of Spider-Man #49

Story 'Corner Business'

We start with Spidey busting a drug dealer. He webs him up and toys with him before telling him he's through and should leave town. The dealer asks Spidey what he'd ever done to him and we slide into flashback time…

Earlier that day, Mary Jane spots her friend Lorraine on the street talking to the dealer – Winston. Back in Lorraine's apartment and she admits to MJ that she's on speed. MJ phones Pete at the Bugle after Lorraine collapses and he rushes to her apartment.

Lorraine doesn't want to go to a hospital and MJ begs Pete to do something about Winston. He goes to Kate with an idea for a day in the life of a dealer picture feature where he will tail Winston. Kate agrees.

As Spidey, Pete does it and, after confiscating Winston's stash, he continues to follow him while he picks up more. Everywhere Winston goes to try and get a new supply, Spidey is there too.

Meanwhile, MJ is trying unsuccessfully to get her friend into a rehab clinic. Everywhere is full or too expensive though. Mary Jane leaves Lorraine at her apartment.

Spidey trails Winston back to his 'boss' in a large warehouse. He takes everyone out, before snapping his last picture. Kate is gushing at his pics and says she may have misjudged him.

Back with MJ. Lorraine had gone from her apartment and was found down an alley in a bad state. She's had a nasty trip and is in a bad way in hospital. As she and Pete walk off, the panel focuses in on another guy leaning on a lamppost…

General Comments

This is pretty much an updated version of the old Harry-on-drugs storyline that got smilin' Stan into trouble but you can tell this ain't Stan Lee territory any longer, though. For a start, when Spider-Man busts the dealer at the beginning, he actually pulls out a bag of (what look like) cocaine and empties it into the breeze!

The story does have a degree of power to it and the final panel is a lovely, full-circle way of ending things though. The biggest problem though is the black/white nature it gives the issue of drugs. All drugs are bad. All dealers are bad. All addicts are unhappy and unfortunate.

Things aren't that simple in real life – there are shades of grey and the lines can be blurred between victim and villain. I like the odd issue-led tales that brings bigger issues to the books but it is difficult to examine all sides of a story in a book that has just over 20 pages of story.

Despite the serious nature, there's still time for some nice throwaway lines too. MJ accidentally calling Kate the ice queen in the heat of the moment is a nice touch. Kate weighing up how dangerous it would be to follow a pusher and then sending Pete out anyway also has a good edge to it.

Overall Rating

The plusses here far outweigh the negatives.