Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #160

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This story is part of an Arc: "Cosmic Spider-Man/Acts of Vengeance"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 / Part 9 / Part 10

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

The major villains in the Marvel Universe have agreed to work together and exchange enemies in order to defeat them once and for all.

"The Core" has become increasingly interested with Spider-Man since he manifested a new series of powers.

Magneto squared off against him in an effort to determine if the source of his new powers was mutation. He intended to recruit him for the inevitable war between mutants and humanity. This didn't go as planned.

Dr. Doom also has a secret agenda - he plans to capture the power that Spider-Man wields for his own purposes.

In Detail...

"The Fear And The Fury"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #160
Jan 1990 : SMURF 328.600 : SM Title
Summary: Acts of Vengance, T.E.S.S.-One & Dr. Doom
Arc: Part 8 of "Cosmic Spider-Man/Acts of Vengeance"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Sal Buscema
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Articles: Doctor Doom, Hydro-Man, Jameson, J. Jonah, Nick Katzenberg, Kingpin, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Rhino, The Shocker

Doom salvages an abandoned government android, T.E.S.S.-One (Total Elimination of Super Soldiers). It was originally created during the early days of World War II as a contingency if the Super Soldier Program ever created a renegade soldier. When Captain America disappeared during WWII, it was put into storage and its existence was denied for decades. Doom plans to use this android in his plan to steal Spider-Man's new powers.

In Times Square, Spider-Man quickly stops the combined threat of Shocker, Hydro-Man, and the Rhino using his new powers. When the crowd begins to look at him in a concerned manner, he takes an exaggerated bow in an effort to calm them down. This does not have the desired effect as people begin to throw rocks and other debris at him, forcing him to leave quickly. Nick Katzenberg stands in a nearby alley taking pictures of the incident.

Nick makes his way to Jonah Jameson's penthouse. Jonah is ranting about his loss of the Bugle to Thomas Fireheart to his wife Marla and Cynthia Bernhammer. This rant was prompted by televised anti-superhero protests. Nick arrives and offers to sell his photographs of the Spider-Man/Hydro- Man/Shocker/Rhino battle at Times Square. Jameson is always happy to buy incrimination photos of Spider-Man. He promises Nick a job at his new publication. This comes with one stipulation: Nick gets to be the sole photographer assigned to Spider-Man, not Peter Parker.

At a state-of-the-art laboratory in midtown Manhattan, Doom completes the repairs to T.E.S.S.-One just as the Kingpin and their nameless benefactor pay him a visit. They came to express tactful concern over Doom's obsession with Spider-Man's new powers. Doom tells them it is only to ensure that he is eliminated and demonstrates the restored (and improved) android. They seem to be pleased with everything, except the fact that the android is completely controlled by Doom.

Spider-Man returns to his apartment and quickly gets into a pointless argument with MJ over the crowd's reaction at Times Square. He leaves and instantly wonders what possessed him to pick a fight with her. He is about to turn around and apologize when his enhanced spider-sense goes off, forcing him to grab onto a nearby building until the pain subsides. He quickly discovers the source as T.E.S.S.-One attacks him.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that indicates the android is causing the destruction and Spider-Man is trying to save their lives, the crowd turns against him. Fed up with being harassed even more than normal, he welcomes this new challenge as a way to blow off some steam.

T.E.S.S.-One goes into a power dive toward him. Spider-Man braces himself and hits the android full force, driving it into the Queensboro bridge. When he arrives he stands in awe as the robot absorbs the bridge to repair the damage.

The android completes repairs then grabs nearby cars (with drivers still inside) and begins to throw them at Spider-Man. Despite the fact he catches the cars and safely lowers them to the ground, the drivers are either ungrateful or think he's trying to kill them.

His anger finally reaches a boiling point and just wants to end the fight. As he begins channeling his new power, he screams out "I've got your menace right here!" and destroys the android with an incredible burst of energy.

His anger abated he realizes that not only are his gloves damaged beyond repair, but also his reputation as the crowd falls dead silent. They all look at him in complete and utter terror. He tries to apologize but it does no good.

Many hours later, Doom retrieves the remains of the robot. According to his readouts, it managed to absorb some of the energy blast generated by Spider- Man. It is insufficient to allow the self-repair program to activate, but it is enough to allow Doom to proceed to the next phase of his plan.

In General...

Finally a good issue of Spectacular during this storyline. Peter finally gets so angry he loses control and pays the price. Now we're getting into some interesting subject matter.

Doom's planning for his ascension to greatness by stealing some of Spider- Man's new powers that were absorbed by the android. It promises to be a fascinating conclusion. However the payoff will not happen in this title, it occurs in the next chapter (Web #61).

Once again we are reminded that there is some attraction between Bernhammer and Katzenberg. Nick apparently paid a visit to her house and had a home- cooked meal. Considering the highly flirtatious way they were acting, I'm afraid to think about the events following the meal. I had to think about that and now so do you.

Overall Rating...

3.5 webs. The only oversight in the whole issue is how the android ended up in the ocean in the beginning of the story. No footnotes, no exposition, nothing. I can assume it happened at some other point in the Acts of Vengeance storyline. And even if it didn't, it doesn't affect the story.

We are finally allowed to see some real emotion and consequences instead of going through the motions. Even though it ends poorly for our hero, it helps to understand the toll the burden of unlimited power would take on anyone.

Footnote...

Jonah lost the Daily Bugle to Thomas Fireheart in Spectacular Spider-Man #157

Jonah hired Cynthia Bernhammer to represent Joe Robertson during his trial for a misprision of felony. She is currently involved in his appeal.