Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #3 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2006
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Dark Side Of The Moon'

Man-Wolf is on the loose and going a bit mental in the park. He thrashes a pedestrian aside, hurls a tree and tosses a car.

Lance Bannon is watching on, taking pictures for the Bugle. Nearby, at ESU, Peter is helping Curt Connors with an experiment to

help cure cancer. His spider sense goes off, though, and he tells Connors he has to go.

As Spidey, he swings into action and is surprised to see Man-Wolf as he thought he had died back in ASM #190. Wolf climbs a

building and hurls a huge chunk of concrete down towards the ground and watching crowd below. Spide snags it but loses track of


Man-Wolf converts back to John Jameson and finds his old girlfriend - Kristine Saunders. She thought John was dead and is so

shocked to see him that she faints.

At the Bugle, Jonah throws Bannon out when he brings in the Man-Wolf pictures. JJJ has resigned himself to the fact his son is

dead and can't bring himself to believe the photos. Spidey is going for a swing and his spider sense draws him to Kristine's

apartment where he finds John. He swings straight through a window (which I hope he's going to pay for) and John says he's glad

to see him.

John says he's not sure what happened when he fell off the bridge. He says the Moonstone that turns him into Man-Wolf must have

transported him somewhere. Spidey's just about to suggest he goes to see Curt Connors when Jonah walks in. Spider-Man jumps out

a different window (either that or the one he broke mysteriously fixed itself) to avoid Jonah's shouting. JJJ hugs his son and

is genuinely overawed to see him.

Soon after at ESU, Kristine, Jonah, John and Spidey have gone to see Curt Connors. Connors explains how his cancer expermient

works and suggests it could be used to cure John. John is locked in a titanium vault where he turns into Man-Wolf and is

monitored by Connors to see if there could perhaps be a cure.

Connors discovers that the moonstone's roots are woven throughout John's body. He says he can operate but that they will have to

find a way to sedate John/Man-Wolf for long enough. John begs him to do it but Jonah is quietly convinced it is a Spider-Man

plot. John is re-locked in the vault but, when he begins to change into Man- Wolf and cries out in pain, Jonah releases him.

Man-Wolf begins his rampage, hurling Spider-Man aside, but he pauses when he sees Kristine. Spidey doesn't catch this, however,

and continues to brawl with Wolf. He eventually knocks him out but thinks he has broken his hand in the process.

He straps Wolf down to a table so Curt can operate. He tells Jonah to sit down and shut up, then helps Curt out by helping to

hoist the magnetic beam Curt is using to cure Wolf. The beam catches the moonstone and, at first, it looks as if it has cured

him. All of a sudden, however, John reverts back into Man-Wolf and is off on another rampage until Jonah grabs him and tells him

he has got to snap out of it. Man-Wolf again turns back into John, before reverting and batting him across the room. He then

faints. Curt says the effects of the magnetism were delayed but that John is now cured of being Man-Wolf. The moonstone bounces

out of his body and crumbles into dust.

General Comments

This story was just a bit padded - especially in the last quarter where John was himself, then the Man-Wolf, then himself again,

and so on. Jonah's role also seems a bit contrived to the point of being out of character. He knows John is the Man-Wolf, he

knows he can be dangerous, yet he opens the metal door to release him seemingly for no other reason than the fact Spider-Man is

there. Of course he has a grudge against Spider-Man but you would think that any right-thinking person would see beyond that if

their own children were involved.

That said, there's nothing too bad in this. John is cured of being Man-Wolf - at least until the next writer comes along and

needs him as a villain again, while Spidey and Curt Connors show their working relationship is a healthy one. The only real

point of contention was how Spider-Man would know what Curt was studying? After all, it was PETER who was working with him at

the start and, at this stage, Curt doesn't know Peter/Spidey are the same person. Wouldn't Curt wonder how Spidey knows what

he's up to?

Overall Rating

A solid-enough story that's just a bit stretched out to fill the longer page count in an annual.

 Posted: 2006
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)