Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #68

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Tombstone Territory'

  Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #68
Summary: Joe Robertson Origin
Arc: Part 3 of 'Friends And Enemies' (1-2-3)
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Writer: Gerry Conway
Pencils: Alex Saviuk
Inker: Keith Williams
Cover Art: Alex Saviuk

Nick Katzenberg watches a meeting between Robbie and Spider-Man. Robbie says Tombstone has contacted him and wants to meet. He asks Spidey to look after his family while he goes to the police. Spider-Man puts a tracer on Robbie and swings off.

Katzenberg follows Joe to what turns out to be Hammerhead's private mansion. Through the window, Katzenberg sees a very battered Hammerhead. Robbie goes into the room and Tombstone shows up, saying he's taking over the city. Tombstone says he thanks Robbie for shooting him. Because of the gas in that chamber, he is stronger than ever. He says their debts are clear.

Spidey shows up and they fight but Tombstone is practically unbreakable. They fight more and Spidey webs him to a wall. Hammerhead has broken free and fires a lot of shots at him. It has little effect but then one of the bullets his an ammunition store and there's a huge explosion. Tombstone is apparently killed, though it's unclear what happens to Hammerhead.

Katzenberg's camera is ruined too.

General Comments

This three-part arc shows why Gerry Conway is so good when he's at his best. The range of characters used and the amount of plots he keeps dangling is fantastic. The biggest outcome, of course, is that Harry once again knows that Peter is Spider-Man. It's the single biggest event to happen in the 67-issues of the Web Of... title.

The significance of it is huge in the longer term. I even quite like the way it came about. The Green Goblin as a hero - no. But Harry getting taught a lesson by Spider-Man, who he knows to be Pete, works very well indeed.

Conway's other characters are used well, too. Tombstone and Hammerhead are two of his mainstays. Robbie and Jonah come over well. Betty has a new look and Katzenberg is once again a slimeball. It's all built very steadily and any of the three issues stand on their own well, though they do read better as a trilogy.

Part three reads really nicely as the entire story is told from the POV of Katzenberg. It's a bold idea that actually comes across really cleverly. It looks as if the Pete/Robbie relationship has been restored also.

The biggest question now, of course, is what happens next. What now for Harry as the Green Goblin? What happened to Tombstone and Hammerhead?

This is Conway's greatest strength: the ability to give stories closure but keep something back for the future. Harry knowing Pete's identity is an exciting prospect.

Overall Rating

Lots and lots of plusses but the biggest upside is the opportunities from now on.

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)