Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #136

 Posted: 2002


Pertinent events at the time: Spidey was recently married, and even more recently buried alive by Kraven in Kraven's Last Hunt. Venom was yet to show, so Spidey still wears the Black Costume (note, not the symbiote, the regular one).

Also, long time supporting character N.Y.P.D. Captain Jean DeWolff had been murdered some time ago, in Spectacular Spider-Man #107. Working with Sargeant Stan Carter to find the serial-killer who targeted "sinners", a masked man who called himself Sin-Eater, Spider-Man seeked vengeance and justice for a dead friend. When he finally unmasked the villain, he found Carter's face. Blind with fury for being betrayed, and for Jean's death, he beat Carter senseless, and was stopped by DareDevil short from killing him. After that, he almost let an angry mob kill Carter when he was being taken into custody. DareDevil's desperate call for him made him come to his senses.

The Death of Jean DeWolff is known as one of the top stories in Spider-Man's history. Here, Peter David chose to revisit Stan Carter (aka Sin-Eater) and once again he weaved a great tale.

Story 'Sin-Ister'

  Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #136
Summary: Death of Stan Carter (Sin-Eater)
Arc: Part 3 of 'Return of the Sin-Eater' (1-2-3)
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Cover Art: Sal Buscema

Full front page at the Bugle (and any other Paper) calling him a coward. A funny scene with MJ and the NY Globe. Peter tells her that he was the one responsible for Carter's injuries. MJ is appaled. She tells him to go talk to Carter, and to do like Rocky did (yes, yes, Spidey learning from Stallone) and let Electro hit him enough for him to get mad. Suddenly, the lights in all the city go out, and Spidey goes for a swing.

At Carter's, Stan is trying to write the beggining of his book, when in a great scene, the Sin-Eater persona finally wins over him.

Spidey is informed that Electro is at the power station, and is responsible for the blackout. There, Electro (now in costume) demands 10 millions to free the city.

Spidey goes to Carter. The room is dark. He stays at the window, and they talk. Carter tells him he's got to exorcise his own demons, nobody can do that for him. Spidey decides to go to the Power Station to exorcise one of them. Carter sees him leaving, gets the Sin-Eater mask, and decides to do the same.

At the Station, Spidey challenges Electro to a man-to-man fight. Electro punches Spidey repeatedly, and Spidey doesn't dodge. Outside, the Sin-Eater captures a boy and puts the shotgun against his head. Inside, Spidey dodges a punch and punches back. Tork tries to convince Carter to let the kid go, but Carter says Sin-Eater has to have his moment, and he can't live until that happens. Inside, Electro realises that a fist fight isn't exactly his stong point, and starts zapping away. Spidey eventually captures Electro, KO'ing him with a right cross. Outside, Carter says that the Sin-Eater thinks he can beat the cops, although he thinks otherwise. There's only one way to find out: he shoves the kid away and points the shotgun at the cops. They all shoot him at once (at least six shots). Sin-Eater falls. Tork tells them to stop. Spidey leaves with a bag of webbing containing Electro, and sees Carter lying on the ground. The Sin-Eater persona vanishes asking "Carter, you idiot, what have you done?" Spidey asks him the same (only without the "idiot" part and on a first name basis. Carter answers that the Sin-Eater is dead, and now he can live. He dies. Tork examines the shotgun as Spidey says that Stan had lost it to the point where he thought him and the Sin-Eater were 2 different people. Tork reveals Carter had the last laugh: he didn't load Sin-Eater's gun...

General Comments

When stories are good, words lack to describe them. I don't really know what more to say. If I had any gripes with it, I'm be numbering them right now. I don't. So all I can say is: Peter David's run on Spectacular Spider-Man was superb.

Just want to add a small note: in this story it was established that Spidey sticked to walls thanks to static electricity. In the future, some writers tended to forget this, and worst of all, Electro tended to forget this. Too bad, because he needs all the advantage he can get.

Overall Rating

Surprising, breath-taking, one of my favourites of all-time. An excellent story. 5 webs. It could be no other way.

 Posted: 2002