We are straight into the midst of battle as Peter trades blows with the new Venom. Pete admits it isn't the first time he's fought for his life in the school showers which seemingly alludes to awful prison-type soap game. Or maybe not. The new Venom has told Pete he is now Angelo, presumably while they were fighting. Meanwhile, outside in the reunion, some guy is trying to chat MJ up by claiming he's Spider-Man. His chat-up line is shot down, though, when Spidey and Venom burst through the wall.
The fight moves outside and Venom ends up being hit by a truck, while Spidey simultaneously saves a puppy from the crash. (Yuk!) Venom picks up the truck and hurls it through the air. Spidey launches himself through the windscreen to grab the driver and leap to safety out the back doors ... which is pretty cool to say the least.
Venom is up on a roof and Spidey gives chase. Angelo has learned the invisibility trick pretty quickly though and pops up behind Spider-Man landing a massive punch which, goes right through him. However, it's not Spider-Man. It's somebody else dressed up as Spider-Man, trying to cash in on the $5m reward.
The fake Spidey's assistant is also up on the roof with his camera. He distracts Venom, while Spider-Man batters Angelo. Angelo wants to give in and there's an internal struggle between him and the symbiote.
The symbiote abandons Angelo mid-swing and he crashes to his death, Spider-Man unable to save him as he is out of webbing (I guess this takes place before Spectacular v2 20). Elsewhere, Eddie Brock has slit his wrists.
At the Bugle, Peter is determined to get the $5m bounty removed from the Bugle. He asks to speak to Jonah alone and shows him some photos he claims proves John Jameson is Spider-Man. He says he and John had a deal going back in the day so Pete could take his picture.
Jonah clearly believes Peter and sends him away with half-a-million pounds from the anonymous donor saying he can't now print the pictures. Pete doesn't know what to do with the money but ends up leaving it – in the name of Adrian (as in the Vulture) – for the woman from the diner in issue seven.
At the police station, Peter gets a call on his mobile. It is apparently the mastermind behind May's kidnapping and everything else that has gone on recently. He is stuck to a pole high above NYC and tells Pete they'll have to meet for lunch tomorrow.
Whew. Another good ending. We now know the kidnapper can hang upside down and also stick to walls, which only adds to the intrigue.
As for this issue ... I liked it without being bowled over by it. I love the way the symbiote ditched Angelo mid-swing and that it is now free to return as someone else at any time. Eddie Brock's apparent suicide was glossed over a bit too quickly for my liking but I'm not necessarily that bothered that he's gone. Still, there's nothing to say that the symbiote didn't find him in time and save him...
The other big development here was Jonah 'finding out' his son is/was Spider- Man. It leaves a new dynamic – what does Jonah write about Spidey from now on, for instance? Having said that, I'm not sure I buy that he just believed it quite so easily – especially enough to hand over half-a-million! In Amazing Spider-Man #190, Jonah saw Spider-Man 'push' Man-Wolf (John) to his apparent death. Convincing him that was some big ploy would take an awful lot of doing.
Something just doesn't ring quite right about the scenario Mark Millar paints there.
In the plus column, Pete leaving that money anonymously for the Vulture's grandson's mother is a really nice touch. After everything Byrne and Mackie put Pete through (making him sleep rough and so on) the character could easily be forgiven for taking the money and using it to pay off his and MJ's debts. This just shows what Pete actually means as a character though. As for the art, Frank Cho, who's the guest artist, does a pretty good job in place of the Dodsons. I'm not sure about his Peter though. To me, it just doesn't look like the Peter who's been drawn so many times before. Also, he has drawn MJ's, erm, 'bits' as if she's competing with a Dodson-drawn Black Cat. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Good but not as great as it could have been. Spidey as John and the $5m reward was tidied up just a bit too quickly. Still, the identity of the mastermind is one of the most eagerly-awaited moments in Spider-Man history in years, so it's not all bad.