Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #298

 Posted: 2006


A recently married Peter and Mary Jane are living in Peter's cramped apartment on Chelsea Street.

Story 'Chance Encounter!'

While at the Daily Bugle, Peter checks his home answering machine. MJ has left a message indicating that they may have a chance to get a condo at Bedford Towers, a very expensive building on the West Side. Peter is happy that he and MJ (mostly MJ) can afford to move into a nice place, but feels awkward living somewhere so far above his means.

Joy Mercado strikes up a conversation with him about covering a secret foreign arms shipment coming in tomorrow night at the docks. She is unable to cover it, but will split any money from that story provided Peter takes some decent pictures as well as notes. He quickly agrees.

When he returns to his cramped apartment, he realizes how selfish he's being considering MJ has made more of a sacrifice moving in with him (to allow him to continue to enter and leave as Spider-Man) than any financial concerns he might have. He decides to do something spontaneous for her. When she arrives home that night, she is greeted by Peter wearing red underwear, a black bow tie, and a bad French accent. She is unfortunately not alone. She has brought one of her work friends – Sandy – home to meet Peter. He turns as red as his underwear and runs into the bathroom to cover up. The remainder of their evening is considerably less eventful.

Chance is hired by Carlton Drake (an associate of a former client) to steal the incoming arms shipment from the docks tomorrow night.

Peter arrives on the docks as Spider-Man and observes the US military standing guard over the unloading process. Chance arrives and seizes control of the pier, summoning the submarine Drake had loaned him for weapons transport. The soldiers begin loading the submarine as ordered. Webbing his camera to the wall, Spider-Man prepares to fight Chance, but stops himself. He wonders if he could double his paycheck by following the submarine back to Chance's financiers and get pictures of Spider-Man getting the weapons back. Provided nothing goes wrong, this plan should work. As if on cue, something goes wrong.

An unexpected blackout (which occurs in X-Factor, Volume 1 #25 along with the explanation for it) causes one soldier to panic and goes for his weapon. Chance spots him with the infrared scanner built into his helmet and shoots him with a wrist-mounted laser.

Realizing his failure to act may add another death to his conscience, Spider- Man attacks Chance without reserve. Chance becomes more than a bit concerned when it becomes clear that his weapons system is no match for Spider-Man's agility. Combined with the sound of approaching sirens, Chance knows when to fold. He creates a distraction by destroying the base of a crane supporting a pallet of weapons to allow him to escape. After tagging him with a spider- tracer, Spider-Man catches the crane and diverts the weapons into the Hudson River to avoid accidentally firing or exploding. When the paramedics arrive they stabilize the injured soldier and send him to the hospital.

When Chance returns to Drake to collect his payment, Drake double-crosses him and knocks him unconscious.

At home Peter is beating himself up over his behavior. He nearly cost someone their life because he was greedy. MJ reminds him that she didn't marry him for his money, but for him. Peter promises to get past his financial insecurities.

Elsewhere in a dilapidated building in the South Bronx, a mysterious figure plots his revenge against Spider-Man.

General Comments

The presence of Chance and Peter's momentary lapse in judgement (trying to double his money instead of stopping Chance outright) was a good parallel.

Peter's underlying motivation is clear. When he was single, he was always broke. Constantly making the "do I pay my bills or buy groceries" decision. He's aware the money MJ makes as a supermodel is theirs. However he feels inadequate because of their salary disparity. It's not simply that she makes more than him, it's that she makes so much more than him. This leaves him wondering if he's riding her coattails. It should be known that MJ never puts Peter down in any capacity; he does that all by himself.

Overall Rating

Good story, solid artwork by the then-newcomer Todd McFarlane, and Venom is on the way. What's not to like?

 Posted: 2006