Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #315

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This story is part of an Arc: "Return of Venom"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

After their eviction from Bedford Towers, Peter and Mary Jane move in with Aunt May in Queens until they can find another place to live.

In Detail...

"A Matter Of Life And Debt!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #315
May 1989 : SMURF 315.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Return of Venom"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Todd McFarlane
Inker:  Todd McFarlane
Cover Art:  Todd McFarlane
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man vs. Venom (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Hydro-Man, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Nathan Lubensky, Venom

Peter takes pictures of himself as Spider-Man stopping Hydro-Man from robbing a construction site. As he makes his way to Aunt May's house to develop the pictures, he recalls the events that led to this point in time. Mary Jane's abduction, the discovery that their landlord Jonathon Caesar was responsible, and the subsequent eviction from their condo by the jilted admirer. The current obstacle involves using their remainder savings to pay legal costs to fight their eviction and recoup the money invested in the condo.

After he develops the film, he agrees to go with MJ to Manhattan to drop off his photos at the Daily Bugle while she participates in a fashion show. On the way out he notices Nathan Lubensky going through May's purse. Peter realizes something is wrong but says nothing.

Later after he gets paid for his photos, Peter (as Spider-Man) swings past the Queensboro bridge and notices Nathan at a nearby ATM. He's screaming at the machine for preventing him taking more than $500 per day. Peter changes and confronts Nathan. He tells him he knows he took May's bank card and demands to know what's happening.

Nathan admits - indirectly - that he has a gambling problem. Recently he amassed a huge debt to a loan shark who is demanding $5,000 of it now as a sign of good faith. Nathan had planned to use the money from the house account to and pay it back later. Peter allows him to keep the money but takes the card from him. He uses the money from the photos to replace the money Nathan took. When they return to Queens, Peter discovers MJ didn't get the modeling gig.

Later that night, Nathan ventures out once again. This time he has a guardian spider keeping tabs on him. He meets some "representatives" of the loan shark that threaten him when he doesn't have the money owed. When Nathan exhausts his bag of tricks (which consist of common household items) to defend himself, Spider-Man appears and makes quick work of the three assailants, webbing them to a basketball goal. He quickly leaves, reappearing as Peter. He (rather his automatic camera) has taken pictures of the entire ordeal and promises to take them to the district attorney's if they threaten Nathan again.

As they walk home, Peter gets Nathan to promise to quit gambling. However the next day at the newstand he is unable to resist purchasing a dozen lottery tickets.

While all of this is happening, Venom escapes from the Vault out in Colorado and makes his way toward New York for a showdown with Spider-Man.

In General...

The main story followed the basic introduction, explanation, and resolution with a believable ending. Anyone with an addiction is not going to be able to go "cold turkey" even if they have a good reason to quit.

I particularly like the common household items Nathan used to combat the shark's enforcers. I support all efforts to remind people that a disabled individual is not entirely helpless. Had he been able to beat all of them with a can of "Raid" it would have been ludicrous. He held his own as best he could until Peter decided that he needed to step in. That sounds odd, but it should be taken in the best possible context.

Overall Rating...

3 webs. Most of this is due to the Venom interludes scattered throughout the comic. The main story was a standard plot with a few nice surprises.

Footnote...

The last time Nathan had a run-in with the loan shark's men was in Amazing Spider-Man #271. He was severely beaten and hospitalized.