The cops rush in on Spidey but he leaps out of the gap in the wall straight into the mysterious flying blonde man that kicked some arse last time out who doesn't look anything like Ethan at all. The flying man flies Spidey to the top of a building and calls him 'Peter'. Pete squares with him that he knows it's Ethan. Spidey suddenly remembers he's lost his wallet and zips off to see what he can do about it.
The Absorbing Man and the blonde girl have traced Peter/Spidey by his wallet back to the May's house, which was destroyed during the Skin Deep arc of ASM. They leave none-the-wiser.
Spidey's gone upstate and is talking to Hank from the Avengers … well formally from the Avengers before the whole reboot thing. He tells him he's lost his wallet. He tells him he's left a spidey-tracer in his wallet but that it only works when he's within 100 yards of it. Hank's astonished at Spidey's technical know-how in being able to create the devices when he was in his teens. Hank says he'll calibrate his helmet according to the devices and get every ant in NYC looking for the signal.
Back with the AM and his blonde girl. They're driving while on the phone to the Owl who tells them to go to Murdock's. As they're on the way The Punisher snipers AM through the windscreen from atop a bridge. AM uses the metal from the bullet to turn himself into a bullet-type substance. Punisher hurls a grenade towards them but Ethan, in a new suit with a huge 'E' on the front, intercepts it. It explodes, burning his suit off while AM and the blonde speed off.
Back at the Bugle, the mysterious blonde from issue one says hello again to Peter. Turns out she is called Laurie Lynton and went to school with him but was a lot, er, bigger boned in those days. She's now working for The Pulse. As he's talking to her, Ethan comes along and Pete drags him off for a chat.
Ethan asks Peter to train him but Pete says Ethan is too old to be his sidekick. Clark, er, Ethan explains about life growing up in Iowa. His parents had been driving home one evening when a big metal ball thing crashed from space with him inside. They raised him as their own to help out on the farm where he was much stronger than anyone else. As he was eventually leaving the farm when he was older, his father told him: “with power there must also come great responsibility”.
Peter agrees to train Ethan.
Well, this is another issue where nothing happens. Ethan knows Pete is Spider- Man. Pete knows Ethan is Superman or Ethanman or whatever he's going to be called and that's pretty much it.
I did like the spider-tracer reference as an acknowledgment back to the old days but I'm pretty sure there was no 100 yard limit to them back then. I also liked the little things in this issue – the fact that May's house is still a wreck, Hank Pym is a recluse who is no longer in the Avengers and that Laurie works for The Pulse. It just brings together other aspects from the Marvel universe and seems much more inclusive than the other Spidey titles right now.
That said, aside from the lack of anything going on, the blantant piss-take of Superman, right down to his origin, is just ridiculous. Perhaps it's supposed to be some sort of ironic take, it's difficult to know. Maybe Ethan's origin/powers aren't quite what they seem. Either way, I don't really know why we need Superman in a Spider-Man book.
I also think the Absorbing Man is a pretty dull villain of the peace. I wish creators could come up with some new bad guy once in a while.
Finally, wouldn't Peter question the fact that Ethan's 'dad' allegedly said the exact thing to him as Pete's Uncle Ben said to him all those years ago? It would certainly freak me out…
Not dreadful but I get the feeling this will come across better in a TPB than it does in singles. I like the way Hudlin links the universe together but think the Superman stuff is on shaky ground.