Peter Parker and Harry Osborn come from different worlds. However, they've been through a lot together, and adversity has forged a deep and enduring friendship. In the second story of this anthology issue, Zeb Wells gives us his insight into that friendship.
Peter Parker is late for Harry Osborn's birthday party - he's not even returning Harry's calls. Lily is angry at Peter, although Harry thinks that his friend must have a reasonable excuse. As excuses go, it's a doozy - Pete is in the middle of a fight with the Trapster.
After dispatching the villain, Peter quickly changes back to his civvies only to discover than an errant shot from the Trapster has glued his mask to the top of his head. Thinking fast, Peter conceals the mask beneath a bandana and hurries off to find his friend.
The party is taking place at a particularly swanky joint, and Peter far from fits in. He is mocked by Harry's other friends and business colleagues, one of which Harry is trying to toady up to, in order to secure investment in the Coffee Bean. When Peter catches some of the guests laughing at Harry behind his back, and making references to Norman Osborn and Harry's own mental state, Peter flips.
After soaking a particularly obnoxious party goer, Peter storms out. Harry confronts him, and Pete apologises for his actions. Harry, realising that Peter is the only true friend in the entire place, ditches the party and heads out for a night on the town with his old buddy.
Zeb Wells has crafted an inoffensive little story that seeks to remind us of the closeness of Harry and Peter's friendship. The status of their relationship has been ambiguous since the start of Brand New Day in issue #546. We still don't know how Harry came back from the dead, how Peter learned of it, and what his reactions were when he did. Unfortunately, with no understanding of these key points, we probably don't care about Harry and Peter as much as Wells thinks we should.
That is one of the avoidable flaws in the post-#546 world, and works to the detriment of the story. While I can understand the desire of the creative team to 'hit the ground running' and tell stories that distance themselves from Straczynski's tenure, leaving so many things unexplained for so long was a mistake. We should really know all about Harry by now. It's frustrating that we don't.
On the whole, the story has just enough charm to overcome these misgivings. There's some amusing moments, and the understated references to Norman Osborn piqued my interest. How widely known is it that he is the Green Goblin? We'll have to wait and see on that one.
A diverting but largely ephemeral piece, dragged down by continuing secrecy around Harry's return. Two and a half webs.