Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #38

 Posted: 23 Jul 2023
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)


May Parker was a patient at Restwell Nursing Home, which was being run by Mysterio. He was posing as Dr. Ludwig Rinehart once again, robbing patients of their belongings after their deaths. He was cooperating with the burglar that killed Ben to get a rumored treasure hidden in the Parker’s home. Mysterio faked May’s death but was eventually defeated and the burglar suffered a heart attack after learning that Peter was Spider-Man.

Afterward, Spidey battled the Lizard and Iguana but there were complications.

Story 'Curse of the Living Vampire!'

In Riverhead, Long Island, three teenagers were out riding their bicycles in the evening. Mark tried to get Jenny to join him alone in the cemetery and she laughed him off. A nerdy looking kid named Freddy called Mark “infantile” and Mark pushed him away. Mark and Jenny rode off while Freddy sulked behind them but froze when he saw something flying toward the others. Morbius knocked Jenny from her bicycle and warned Mark to stay away. As Mark sat in terror, Freddy jumped at Morbius and was slammed aside. Despite his ribs possibly being broken, he tried to crawl to Jenny but before he arrived Morbius left, refusing to kill the girl.

Peter arrived at Restwell Nursing Home with flowers for May and was greeted by Anna Watson. May of course started to fuss over Peter, wondering if he’s eating enough and staying warm. He said the Daily Globe kept him fed and they appreciated a good photojournalist. She asked if he was neglecting his school work and he said school had only started before he realized she’d passed out. Anna said she’d stay with May and Peter left, bumping into Mary Jane on the way out. She said he looked exhausted and he said he was running on his usual three hours of sleep. He offered to get her a soda and she declined, saying she had to get to work on a commercial after seeing May.

Peter changed his mood by changing to Spidey and swinging across town to the Daily Globe to get his paycheck. As he left, a figure in a hat and trench coat watched him leave. He was unhappy to see the web head and planned to never lose to him again. After entering the subway, he jumped onto the tracks, scaring the other commuters. However he glided along the tracks on electrical bolts, on his way to a meeting with his future partners

At the Globe, Spidey tried to change in a broom closet and tripped on a mop and bucket. He hid on the ceiling as an Irish accented janitor wondered who made the mess. She was going to tell Mr. Bushkin that some copyboy had been up to mischief.

In Barney Bushkin’s office, Peter apologized for not being around. Bushkin was more than happy with the photos of Black Cat, the Lizard, Kingpin, Mysterio and Doctor Octopus he had brought. Peter said he was lucky and Bushkin said luck had nothing to do with it, he was talented. He said that Jameson might not appreciate Peter’s work but he did and gave him a bonus. Peter was amazed at the check he had been given and thought about Mays’s medication, his rent, textbooks, a new lens for his camera and maybe a movie. He was so lost in thought that he ignored April Maye, who was trying to get his attention.

Peter arrived at Empire State University and met with his classmates, Marcy Kane, Chip Martin, Steve Hopkins and Philip Chang. Marcy immediately got on Peter’s case, saying she was surprised that he was brave enough to show up to class. One of the others told her she was being unfair, they had all been scared when Swarm attacked the university. She said he was wasting his time, talent and tax payers money by being a part time scholar. She walked away and Chip told him that they were both outcast by Marcy Jane. Peter had lack of focus and Chip was just weird. Chip said there was a Halloween party at his dad’s place and invited everyone. Class then began and Peter officially started graduate school.

During an experiment, he accidentally knocked over a beaker of chemicals and flew into a rage. Throwing another beaker into a wall, he cursed that a afternoons worth of work was ruined. Dr. Connors came to check on him and Peter snapped at him to leave him alone. Peter apologized and left to get some rest, leaving Connors to think of how unusual he was acting. As he left, Peter was embarrassed by how he acted and noticed how his skin itched. He decided it was just nerves and stress. He ran into Philip, who reminded him of the party.

Later that night, Peter and Philip arrived at Chip’s mansion. Phil mentioned that Chip’s father was a state senator. The police were already there to warn that a girl had been attacked and drained of her blood. At that moment there was a scream from upstairs and it sounded like Marcy. Morbius appeared with Marcy, warning everyone to stay away. Steve and Philip ran to save her but were swatted away. As Peter ran off to change, he heard Chip starring off into space muttering to himself. Spidey arrived in time to save Phil and Marcy (who he suddenly realized was kind of cute) and reassured Phil that he’d stopped Morbius before. Morbius tackled Spidey and knocked them out a window as Chip’s parents worried about the change coming over their son.

Outside Spider-Man told Morbius that he should be looking to cure himself and the vampire replied that he had tried for months. There was no hope and if he suffered so would Spider-Man. Inside, the sheriff asked what was wrong with Chip as he muttered about pain, anger, fear, hope and terror. They had used tranquilizers on their son previously but he seemed to be beyond hope. Morbius’s appearance had set off a chain reaction in Chip’s mind but it was his job as a father to help. Ravens suddenly appeared and Mr. Martin explained that they came from his son’s subconscious and to cover their eyes.

Outside in the storm, the fight turned against Spider-Man and Morbius was about to feed on him when they were struck by lightning. Spidey watched as Morbius’s color returned and realized he was cured. He didn’t know how much credit to give to the lighting or to his radioactive blood. He was just glad that the unconscious man was cured. He missed the drama down below, as Chip took off in his father’s car.

General Comments

My biggest observation is that while Morbius is presented as the villain, he doesn’t show up much. It’s kind of sad that Chip Martin was a more interesting character than the better known character.

The rest is pretty standard fare. May and Peter worry about each other and his relationship with MJ is a mess. Not much has changed since 1979.

Overall Rating

Pretty dull story.

 Posted: 23 Jul 2023
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)