Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #4

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)


Last issue, the Venom symbiote reattached itself to Eddie Brock to once again form Venom, but when Spidey and Venom tangled, the symbiote revealed its true plan -- it left Brock and pounced upon a new host: Spider-Man...

Story Details

It seems that Spider-Man has been battling the control of the Venom symbiote both physically and mentally for some time, as they've created a fairly lengthy path of destruction. The cavalry arrives in the form of the Human Torch, but Spidey insists that the Torch wait and let Spidey defeat the symbiote his way. So the wall-crawler grabs a pair of pair of electrical bus bars, knocking both himself and the symbiote unconscious. Meanwhile, Eddie Brock is back at church, where he tells the priest that he's afraid he no longer has a soul. Brock goes on to thank the priest for being such a comfort to him, but he decides to leave the church.

Over at the Fantastic Four's headquarters, Spider-Man has regained consciousness, where he is being examined by Mr. Fantastic, while the Invisible Woman uses a force field to contain the symbiote, which is still attached to Spidey. Sue complains that she's having trouble keeping the symbiote under control, and Reed implores her to try to hold it a while longer. Reed explains that it is now far more difficult to separate the symbiote from its host, and then goes on to say that the symbiote has evolved. Meanwhile, at Peter's apartment, Flash's nurse, Helga, complains to Aunt May that Peter is not there to look after Flash as he promised to be.

Back in Reed Richards' lab, Reed asks Spidey about the psychic connection he shares with the Venom symbiote. Spidey explains that it has something to do with his spider-sense. This leads Reed to conclude that Spidey's spider-sense works off of adrenaline, and that the symbiote is attached to him because of that adrenaline. Reed creates an adrenaline blocking serum and injects it into the wall-crawler. Spidey has brief, vague hallucinations about the symbiote's origin as the serum takes effect and the symbiote begins to starve. The symbiote lashes out, breaking free of Sue's force field, and smashing a hole through the wall to escape. Meanwhile, Detective Neil Garrett sits in a diner and reads a letter he received from Eddie Brock. Brock just wanted to say that he respects the police and regrets how things worked out between him and them, and that he blames Spider-Man for the way things turned out.

Spider-Man, meanwhile, is drawn by his psychic link out to a rusty old ship in the harbor. But when he goes inside the ship, he finds Eddie Brock but no sign of the symbiote. Brock says that he thinks the symbiote is gone for good this time. He goes on to say that after being used by that suit for so long, he no longer feels like Eddie Brock, and that he doesn't even hate Spidey anymore. Nonetheless, the web-slinger tells Brock that he's going to jail, but Brock just laughs. When Spidey asks him what's so funny, Brock says that he has cancer...

General Comments

Over the first three issues of this title, it had occurred to me that Eddie Brock was looking somewhat sickly, and now this issue we find out why. This is a twist that wasn't totally unexpected, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. Eddie Brock and Venom are very interesting characters when handled well, and it's unfortunate that they have so rarely been put to good use. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next issue will bring.

As for the rest of the story, Paul Jenkins' script is again top-notch, although having the Human Torch flying by while Spidey was fighting for his life seemed just a little bit coincidental. And the art by Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher continues to excel.

I liked this issue as much as I've liked any issue of Spectacular so far, but this one was brought down by a couple of irritating spelling and punctuation errors. These don't affect the story at all, but it's just mind-boggling and embarrassing that they should appear in a mass publication. It says "To Be Continuded" on the last page, for crying out loud. John Miesegaes, is this your department?

Overall Rating

Four webs. Another very good issue, aside from the typos. It looks like Jenkins is gearing up for something big...

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)