Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #211

 Posted: 2001

Story 'Face Value!'

This issue starts with Spidey taking out a gang with a bit more violence than we're used to. He threatens to break some teeth if he isn't told where the Chameleon is, but they only know that he put a high price on his head. He tells them to spread the word that he'll catch that worm, and leaves them webbed hanging from a lightpost.

At an apartment in the top floors of the Polaski Towers, belonging to the retired Detective Terry Martin, the Chameleon (who took his place) is having a fit of rage while watching the news. The fit of rage culminates when shoots the TV after hearing one of the webbed guys from the previous fight scene calling him "worm". He's indignant that Spidey killed his best friend and has the nerve to insult him (not quite so - check out Kraven's Last Hunt for the real story). The landlord knocks on the door, claiming that the tenants are complaining about the noise, and is sent away believing he's going to get a Demi Moore autograph (no kidding). Knowing that it's just a matter of time until Spidey finds his new hideout, he regrets Kraven isn't there to guide him, and decides to hire an assassin to stall Pete until the next stage of his plan (to which he refers as "our plan").

Spider-Man is home, swiching his webshooters, and MJ is trying to convince him to rest, or at least to open up with her, and she says she and May are hurt too, but Pete tells her she knows nothing about pain, and she should go dance and leave him alone. He swings away and leaves a very sad MJ behind.

Meanwhile, "former Detective Terry Martin" called a representative of the Tailor Group, an association specialized in hunting Super-Beings, to hire them to hunt Spider-Man, claiming he's tired to see him escaping the police. They watch an holographic projection of Tracer, an armored man with weapons projected for each mission. He's the one who'll be doing the hunting.

Spidey is swinging past the Bugle, thinking about how MJ and Aunt May are hiding their pain, but he can't hide his for losing his parents for the second time. He wants to kill the Chameleon, even if it means destroying the whole town. JJJ watches him passing by, and thinks how ironic it is, that for years he sacrificed the Bugle's reputation to attack Spidey, and now that he decided to give him a break, he acts like a madman on a rampage.

At Terry Martin's appartment, the Chameleon uses the owner's PC to prepare a massive prisoner escape.

Spidey leaves a scene where he left another gang of criminals rolled up in a yarn of web, thinking that if he doesn't hold himself, he'll end up killing someone. A policeman yells at him, telling him to go fight super-villains away from the streets, while the thugs are carried into ambulances. Spidey thinks about clogging the officer's mouth with web, but he immediately cuts that line of thinking. A few seconds later, his Spider-Sense alerts him to an array of incoming laser shots. The Tracer has arrived, and he's getting instructions from a blonde woman named Kerry who's watching the fight through a camera in his helmet (and she hears his thoughts, so he probably contacts her by telepathy). He then throws some homing gas capsules against Pete.

Meanwhile, MJ wants to talk with someone, and remembers her only resort: the Black Cat. Unfortunately, the answering machine informs her that Felicia isn't home, so she's left completely alone.

The gas clouded Peter senses, and he ends up dizzy in a steel net with the Tracer aiming a gun at him. At the Polaski Towers, the Chameleon is not feeling well, and he leaves to next hideout aware that the Tracer is at least buying him some time to proceed with the next step of the (again, "our") plan. He wishes Kraven would be in his place.

Peter recovers from the gas and shoots some web against the Tracer's eyes. He rips the net and tears off the previously mentioned gun from the Tracer's armor, and whacks him with it. He fires heavy artillery, and the both fall through the roof they're in. With the bottom half of his mask torn, he decides to end the fight fast before innocents get hurt. Kerry tells the Tracer she's detecting system malfunctions, and orders him to fall back, but he refuses. He attacks Pete with an electric cable, Pete gets shocked a bit, and then punches him through a wall. "Systems collapsed". Tracer is out. He "thinks" to Kerry he was prepared to fight another Spider-Man, not a crazed brute like this one. Spidey points him the gun and threatens him. He asks if the Chameleon hired him, and he answers that he doesn't work for the likes of super-beings, while he "thinks" for help. Spidey reminds him that the Chameleon can assume any identity, and asks him to confirm in his database the name of the guy who hired him. So he does, and he finds that the real Terry Martin is dead. He directs Spidey to Martin's appartment and is picked up by a shuttle, to dive in the realm where Marvel sinks their disposable characters, Character Limbo.

At the Polaski Towers, Spidey crashes through a window, to find an empty appartment and some writing on the wall: "It's not the beginning nor the end, but the end of the beginning!"... Spidey then replies "It's not the end of the beginning nor the beginning of the end, but the beginning of the end of the end of the beginning's end!" I was just kidding on that last part.

Peter arrives home. MJ asks a few questions, but says to forget about those, and and asks only for a hug. Pete says he only came for another mask, and takes off.

Overall Rating

Reasonable issue, did what it was supposed to. Three and a half webs.

 Posted: 2001