Many years ago, after losing his arm in a war, Doctor Curt Connors devoted himself to the study of reptile genetics in the hope of learning a way to use their regeneration abilities to grow back his lost arm. When Connors injected himself with an experimental formula, it did grow back his missing arm, but only before turning him into a giant angry reptile man called the Lizard. Since then, the Lizard and Spider-Man have fought dozens of times, and recently, Connors' wife died of cancer...
This issue opens with Doctor Connors at his psychiatrist's office where she is trying to help Curt get over his wife's death. Connors is not receptive, and when his doctor suggests that he may suffer from a mental illness, Curt storms out. Meanwhile, in Queens, Peter Parker's softball team is engaged in a tight game. But with some savvy managing by co-managers Peter Parker and Randy Robertson and excellent execution at the plate by Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Pete's team manages to squeeze pinch-runner Big John Anderson home to score a vital run. Just after that triumphant occasion, Curt Connors arrives at the diamond. Curt and Peter have a heart to heart where they discuss how Curt misses his wife and his strained relationship with his son, and Curt goes on to explain that he's in town to apply for a research grant from the Montalbetti Foundation to study cancer.
When Connors arrives at the Montalbetti Foundation, he runs into a man named Richardson, who is Curt's only competition for the grant. After having a brief, strained conversation with Montalbetti, Connors meets with the board members who are surprised that Curt doesn't know that Richardson has already been awarded the grant, and they go on to explain that they sent notification to Curt over three weeks ago. Connors is furious, and he storms out and calls Peter, raving. After hanging up, Connors begins to lose control and the Lizard starts to come out.
Recognizing that reptilian tone in Connors' voice, Peter changes into his Spidey togs and hops out the window to look for him. Meanwhile, at the Richardson Institute, a crazed Curt Connors bursts in. After a brief argument, the scene shifts outside where Richardson is heard yelling, and then a moment later, the building explodes and the Lizard leaps away. Attracted by the explosion, Spider-Man swings down and he and the Lizard briefly tussle before the Lizard turns back into Curt Connors who exclaims, "...you have to believe me... it wasn't my fault!"
I've never been a big fan or the Lizard, and with the way that this story started out, I was thinking, "Oh look... Curt Connors can't control his Lizard persona. Again." So I was less than enthused. But I should've known better, for Paul Jenkins once again comes to the rescue by injecting something of a mystery element into this issue. Why didn't Connors get the notification that the Montalbetti Foundation sent? And was the Lizard responsible for the destruction of the Richardson Institute? I'm intrigued by this story, and I'm looking forward to the next part. Although if it turns out to be Calypso manipulating the Lizard here, I'm really not gonna be happy.
As for the art, penciler Daimon Scott and inker Rob Campanella take over with this issue and do a nice job. Although they're not Ramos and Faucher, their style is similar and quite enjoyable. I particularly liked their rendering of the Lizard and the way Connors kept getting those creepy yellow lizard-eyes.
I must complain about a couple continuity problems, though. First, on the first page it says that Connors is from Louisiana, and I was always of the impression that he was from Florida. But that's no big deal. What is a big deal, though, is this: Curt Connors knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man? That's news to me. When did that happen?
Bonus marks for the softball scene. I laughed out loud at "homicide squeeze". Three and a half webs.