Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #5 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2007

Story Details

Don't you hate when you wake up and find yourself imprisoned and faced with giant other-worldly lizard creatures?

It's a typical day at the Parker household in Queens, until something starts tugging at Peter. Excusing himself from Aunt May, he figures on it being Dr. Strange as he sees the Eye of Agamoto in a mirror he passes before flying out the window and into the city. Changing on the way, Spider-Man is greeted by Wong on the roof of the Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange tells Spidey that he was summoned with the last of his magic power, which was stolen by Morbius the Living Vampire through a mystical talisman. He informs him that without his mystic powers, dimensional passageways he was charged with guarding remain vulnerable to penetration and leading to the end of mankind. Spidey is all up to help, but wonders; why him? Strange informs him that his spider- sense may be biological and mystical in nature, and if focused properly with the aid of a special bracelet will allow Spidey to track Morbius wherever he is.

Meanwhile in a warehouse, Morbius readies his next spell with his newfound power as associate Dr. Hammond pleads with him to reconsider. Morbius hears none of it, and using the talisman and a page from the original Darkhold book, he begins an incantation. But, something goes wrong.

At the Sanctum, Strange, in a new outfit, tries focusing techniques to help Spidey get the hang of his jacked-up spider-sense when suddenly the world goes wonky. The floor grabs and chokes Spidey while lizard creatures attack Strange. Spidey and Strange fight back, Strange showing he's had some fighting skills...which have been allowed to dull over the years. Realizing he's out of his league, Strange calls upon mystic blades given to him by the Ancient One that respond only to mental commands and spears their attackers while they finish clean-up duty.

The heroes beat a hasty retreat outside and continue on the search for Morbius. As they travel, they see the lizard creatures attacking people in the streets. Of course, Spidey can't allow them to come to harm and takes a detour to save a family, much against Strange's wishes but he can't fault Spidey's heart. Unfortunately, it's their undoing as they're taken by surprise and knocked out. When Spidey wakes up in the scene described at the start, his mind is suddenly clear and he finds Morbius. He breaks free, subdues his guard, and frees Strange.

Fighting their way out, they take off for Morbius' lair where he too is engaged with the lizard creatures. Strange points Spidey to the talisman, which is promptly smashed returning Strange's power to him and thus order to the world. Strange proceeds to lecture Morbius on what he's done, when Morbius tells him it was all to try and cure Hammond, his friend, of Lou Gherig's Disease through mystical means. Morbius went to Strange for help, but was turned away, hence his actions.

Strange realizes he's made an error, but informs them he can't heal Hammond through mystical means because the result would be someone perfectly healthy would contract it in his place as a means of universal balance. Strange offers to use his contacts in the conventional medical field to try and help. Morbius accepts and Spidey takes his leave. Just another average day in New York.

General Comments

The best Spidey stories are ones where Spidey makes quips that lead to some kind of audible response from a reader, be it a giggle or chuckle. This is one of them. Along with excellent artwork by Clayton Henry, Kevin Grevioux offers a nice tale in the classic team-up fashion loaded with some excellent jokes. The story also added some depth to Dr. Strange beyond the mystical stuff, rounding out his skills with combat training and tapping into his often neglected medical side. Sometimes, writers tend to get so focused on the predominant aspect of a character they tend to rely solely on it making the character lose dimensions gradually. Dr. Strange's new duds were also pretty nifty, even though it was the most simplistic of re-designs. It was also good to see the story resolved outside of the typical slug-em-out fashion, and with a bit more brains and heart behind it.

The only drawback was some of the faces came out very sketchy at times, particularly in the beginning with Peter and Aunt May, losing some of their detail and depth.

Overall Rating

4 Webs. Good action, funny quips, and a decent story resolved outside of fisticuffs. An enjoyable solid read all around.

 Posted: 2007