Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #8

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This story is part of an Arc: "Morbius, Empathoid, Glory Grant"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2005.

In Detail...

"...And Only One Shall Survive!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #8
Jul 1977 : SMURF 170.700 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Morbius, Empathoid, Glory Grant"
Editor:  Archie Goodwin
Writer:  Archie Goodwin
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Mike Esposito
Cover Art:  Paul Gulacy
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 Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1
Articles: Empathoid, Flash Thompson, Glory Grant, Morbius, Sha Shan

From their building-side perch, Spidey and Glory Grant see the struggle taking place between Morbius and the Empathoid, one which the latter loses as he is forced to chase the fleeing pair. Still without his web shooters, Spidey clambers down some adjacent building and sends Glory to safety as he gets a hit in on Morbius.

Meanwhile, Flash Thompson investigates the mystery of Sha-Shan, breaking into the building in which he had seen her. Finding her in a room, he is also confronted by the man who had been watching him and Sha-Shan admits that "this man--Achmed--is my...husband." Flash leaves, crestfallen.

Meanwhile Spidey's hit -- and Morbius' unanswered hunger pangs -- cause the Empathoid to seek a new host. Spider-Man cannot resist and soon learns the origin of the creature. When Morbius took the palm bands from the Living Eraser (in Marvel Two-In-One #15) he found himself on a world devoid of life. Awakened by Morbius' emotions, the Empathoid reveals himself to be an android created by the former occupants of this world who had all long since died. He then bonds himself to Morbius and forces him to take them both back to earth.

Dawn is about to break; Morbius feeds upon a criminal and Spider-Man returns home to prepare for the battle with Morbius that the Empathoid will force him to engage in the next night. Pete fixes his web shooters and gets some rest.

Later that night, the two combatants find each other at the Manhattan entrance to the Holland Tunnel. Spider-Man hitchhikes on a truck heading to the other side of the tunnel as Morbius follows above. As the Empathoid continues to egg him on in order to feed on more emotions, Spider-Man leads the chase to a packed football stadium, where the emotion of the crowds stuns the Empathoid. Morbius, however, continues his attack but Spidey uses a flip around the goal post to stun Morbius and allow his master plan to work, that being an emotional overload that causes the Empathoid to leave his body and shut down. Their fight over, the two enemies leave one another, perhaps to tangle another day.

In General...

The story just isn't as interesting with the Empathoid as the main culprit. It's a bit strange to think of Spidey as having been possessed by this spirit all day long. I'm certain there were other emotions that the Empathoid could have fed upon during the day, but most of the day is skipped. Spidey just doesn't always lend himself well to this type of extra-dimensional intrigue.

Spidey lets on that he knows Morbius' hostage as "Glory" a few times both this issue and the one preceding it. I'm not certain if he is supposed to know her from other titles. If not, it's a slip of the tongue from Pete.

The Flash Thompson subplot takes an interesting turn and the captions promise us that despite the revelation of this issue the story is not over. As he begins to break into the house, Flash mentions how crazy the idea is...You oughtta be seeing a shrink...just like your roommate. This must be Harry Osborn, who had a long history of mental instability.

The art -- with Sal Buscema now joined by Mike Esposito -- is not quite as sharp as last issue, but still good.

Overall Rating...

Good but not great ending to the two-part Morbius saga.

Footnote...

According to our friends at the Marvel Chronology Project, Spidey appears in this issue right after issue 7. He then takes on the Silver Samurai with Black Widow in Marvel Team-Up 57, lends a hand to Nova in Nova 12 who returns the favor in part two to the story in Amazing Spider-Man 171. Spider-Man and the Ghost Rider tackle the Trapster in Marvel Team- Up 58. Spidey then guest-stars in Human Fly 1. Amazing Spider-Man 181 comes next chronologically even though it was published almost a year later. After this comes the beginning of the great Claremont/Byrne run on Marvel Team-Up, with Spidey teaming with Yellowjacket and the Wasp against Equinox in Marvel Team-Up 59 & 60. The Human Torch and Ms. Marvel help out against the Super-Skrull in Marvel Team-Up 61 & 62. Then it all comes back to the next issue in this series, number 9.

The letters page debuts a new title, Spectacular Spider-Mail.

Interesting ads include Sky Heroes with Spider-Man, Captain America, Superman and Batman...it's always fun to see one company's characters in the other company's books. There are also house ads for the black and white magazine titles, Crazy and for The Defenders, featuring Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Hulk and Hellcat. Plus Iron Man takes on "Waterman" in "Rust Be My Destiny," the lastes Hostess Cakes ad.

The Bullpen Bulletins talk more about Captain Britain's impending Marvel U.S. debut in upcoming issues of Marvel Team-Up by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, two issues of a classic run on that title. Also mentioned are the summer annuals, including Iron Man teaming up with the Champions and the Avengers Annual featuring the team joining up with Warlock and Captain Marvel to battle Thanos.