Peter Parker took a freelance photography job, which turned out to be a set up by the villain Arcade. Peter has been drugged by Arcade, and told he'll have to face 99 villains before he can rescue some innocents from a hidden bomb. At the end of last issue, Peter found himself on a passenger jet in the air, empty except for himself and some baddies.
The issue opens with Peter in a tattered costume, flailing in midair from the wreckage of a destroyed airliner. He recaps the events of last issue in captions, saying he'll play Arcade's game until he figures out who's behind the whole plot.
Back fifteen minutes ago, in story time, Spider-man is facing Mysterio, Sandman, Hydro Man and Shocker on the plane. Talking in caption still about his spider-sense, Peter dispatches Shocker with a punch. Sandman tries to suffocate him with sand, but Spidey finds a way to break free. Hydro Man takes his shot next, and tries to suck all the moisture out of Spider-man's body. Spidey dodges a blast from Shocker, which takes Hydro Man out.
Mysterio is last, and he tells Spider-man not to do anything rash, that the plane isn't a normal one, and "when you stop believing it can fly, the whole thing will go down..". He knocks out Mysterio anyway, and finds the cockpit of the plane empty. Peter tears his way out of the cockpit, out of the plane, and finds himself in freefall.
As he falls, he wonders who could organize so many villains. "They need a boss. A general. A Kingpin."
This brief issue continues the story, but doesn't give readers any further answers as to the mastermind behind the plot. This issue's art layouts lack some of the tightness of last issue--consequently, it's often hard to make out what happening panel to panel, especially during Spider-man's fight in the plane (Marco Rudy's updated take on the Shocker costume didn't particularly wow me, but I am of the mind that Shocker's original costume is comic book perfection). This issue's thematic conceit, art-wise, of Spider-man dispatching his enemies in a series of instructional diagrams is cutesy, but it comes off just a little too incoherent for this reader. I do however appreciate Rudy's attempts at pushing the boundries of the art here, and look forward to what he's got in store for future issues.
Writer Matt Kindt's writing of Peter's internal dialogue this issue is well done, though he writes Peter as maybe showing a little too much concern for his enemies. It's really hard to tell where the illusions Peter is experiencing end and where reality begins, though this is no doubt intentional.
This issue seems to accomplish what it sets out to achieve, and continues Spider-man's mind-bending battle. But it is a tale that's getting perhaps a bit too abstract, with some experimental art layouts that are getting tough to follow, but it's an intriguing story just the same. Hopefully the narrative gets moved along a little further next issue, though.
By my count, Spidey's faced eleven villains so far. We've got a long, long way to go before Spidey gets to ninety-nine.