Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #12

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


Last issue, Curt Connors returned to New York in search of a research grant. But when the grant is awarded to another scientist named Richardson, Connors begins to lose control. Connors goes to confront Richardson at his laboratory, but things get out of hand: Richardson is badly hurt, the lab explodes, and Connors' alter ego, the Lizard, is leaving the scene. When Spider-Man catches up with the Lizard, he coaxes the reptile back into the form of Curt Connors, who insists that the explosion wasn't his fault...

Story Details

Peter Parker has taken Curt Connors back to his apartment in an attempt to keep him under control. Peter feeds Curt some sedatives to keep his Lizard persona dormant, and asks Curt to explain what happened at Richardson's lab. Curt explains that he did go there to put a scare into Richardson. Once he arrived, the two scientists started arguing, and before long, they were fighting. During the melee, Curt knocked some chemicals into a Bunsen burner, which started a chain reaction that led to the fire in the lab. Curt said that after that happened, he simply got scared, turned into the Lizard, and ran. Peter asks Curt if he has the Lizard under control, and Curt admits that he's not sure. With that, Peter decides to take Curt somewhere safe, and on their way out the door, Curt drops the sedatives that he only pretended to take.

Some time later, Peter leads Curt into the sewers, to an old abandoned vault. Curt allows Peter to lock him inside where he'll be safe from anyone looking for the Lizard, and where Connors will be trapped should he turn into the Lizard again. Meanwhile, at the Daily Bugle, Joe Robertson has brought a security guard in to meet J. Jonah Jameson. The security guard, Bob Saunders, has brought a videotape from one of his security cameras. It seems that the camera caught the conclusion of the scuffle between Spider-Man and the Lizard the night before, and at the end of the tape, it shows the Lizard turning back into human form. This is news to Jonah and Robbie, since it shows that the Lizard is more than just a giant lizard-man... he's a person who transforms into a giant lizard-man. Now they want to know who the Lizard really is, but since the tape doesn't show his face, Robbie wants to ask the one man who is certain to know - Spider-Man.

The next day, after going shopping for Curt's supplies with Mary Jane in the afternoon, Peter changes into his Spidey gear and meets Detective Neil Garrett. Garrett's reading the latest edition of the Daily Bugle, which has run the story on the Lizard's human form and his apparent connection to Spider-Man. This story has piqued Garrett's interest, so with some minor details changed and without naming any names, Spidey tells Garrett how the explosion at the lab wasn't the Lizard's fault. Spidey goes on to suggest that Garrett look into how Richardson's financial affairs were arranged before the fire, insinuating that Richardson set the whole thing up.

Back in the sewers, Spider-Man has returned to check in with Curt Connors. After Spidey tells him about the newspaper story, Connors gets agitated and loses control of his Lizard persona. He changes about halfway into the Lizard before collapsing forward into the muck. But as soon as Spidey turns his back, the Lizard's tail lashes out repeatedly, knocking the wall-crawler to the ground. As his consciousness fades, Spidey realizes that the Lizard was in fact behind the incident at the lab, and this new incarnation of the Lizard, half-human, half-reptile, all-sinister, looms over him...

General Comments

After a promising beginning last issue, this story takes a step back here. The mystery that had me so intrigued of who was manipulating the Lizard has been removed, as it turns out that it was the Lizard all along. And so, this has in fact just turned into another "Oh no, Doctor Connors has lost control of his Lizard persona!" story. I expect better from Paul Jenkins, but maybe he's got something up his sleeve for the next issue.

This issue is saved by the art of Daimon Scott and Rob Campanella, which is even better than last issue. This new-look Lizard is downright creepy, and the image of Doc Connors transforming and sprouting a new arm was particularly memorable.

And another continuity problem: I was of the impression that the Lizard's identity was public knowledge. Curt Connors was on trial for the Lizard's crimes in ASM Annual #27, but maybe that was kept secret from the public or something. Who knows.

Overall Rating

A disappointing issue with nice art. Hopefully the next part will be better. Two and half webs.

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