Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #2

Background

Peter's back in action (how did that happen, you ask - well, I don't know!), and fighting alongside the Asgardian Avenger Thor against some evil manifestation of the Dark Gods. Curious? This story is continued on from Thor (Vol. 2) #8. Read on.

Story 'Plaything Of The Gods'

  Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #2
Summary: Thor guest-star
Arc: Part 2 of 'Plaything of The Gods' (1-2)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Art: John Romita, Jr.
Reprinted In: Spider-Man Universe #7

We pick up the tale with Aunt May (groan) worrying about her nephew Peter. A helpful policeman tries to calm her down and get her to safety as a huge battle rages on. Turn the page, and we see Spider-Man (the real one) and Thor fighting two of the creature called 'Tokkots" from the Dark Gods. Seems these bad-boys from another dimension have stormed Asgard, imprisoned Odin, and are now committed to bring down the God of Thunder (Read the Mighty Thor to catch up on the details - it doesn't suck.)

Spidey has to help Thor control Mjolnir, his magical hammer, by securing a webline around it. Mjolnir's been acting strange, and hasn't really been a good hammer lately. Spidey's able to bring it around and ensnare the monsters while Thor resuces a helicopter crippled from the battle. Spidey whips up a bed of webbing to help Goldilocks cushion the chopper. Meanwhile, Hannah Fairmont, Jake Olsen's (Thor's new secret ID) fiancee offers to help the suffering Aunt May.

Back on the battlefield, the Tokkots twins (the creature created a duplicate of himself during the first part of this tale in Thor #8) attack again, this time trapping Hannah, Aunt May, and some policeman inside a ring of fire. Thor's got problems, because he can't find his hammer, and if he's separated from it for too long he returns to his human identity. Spidey decides to go for the gusto and save the innocents, only realizing his fragile Aunt's in trouble after leaping through the flames. Tokkots closes in on the webslinger, who's more than up to the challenge, until a familiar crack of lightning breaks up the skirmish. Now Thor's pissed, because he doesn't relent on Tokkots, blasting him repeatedly.

The battle seems of have taken a turn for the better, until Tokkots breaks through Spidey's webbing and grabs Peter around his neck, preparing to choke the life out of him. Just then, Peter's pager goes off (Jameson's paging him to get photos of the battle), and the sound causes Tokkots to totally freak. Petey shoves the pager in Tokkot's face, while he retreats, screeching. Distracted and disabled, Spider-Man delivers a solid left hook and prevails. Thor and Spidey meet back up, but Tokkots and his clone pop into a dimension door, disappearing.

At the end of the issue, we get a cool picture of Peter Parker and Jake Olsen shaking hands.

General Comments

OK, well, this issue was definitely a lot better than #1 of this new title, with a few exceptions. This was the second part of a cross-over story with Thor (Vol. 2) #8, and while I'm not a big fan of obligatory cross-over stories, I liked this one quite a bit. It's pretty feasible that the hammer-thrower and the web-slinger would respond to nearby trouble and join forces to overcome evil. The things that hurt the fit of this story are what's happened before it.

In Peter Parker #1, Pete was chasing the mystery Spider-Man replacement. In Amazing #2, we discover who that individual is, and that issue ends with Peter donning the mask and swinging into battle. Got that? Good.

On page 11 of this issue, top-right panel, The editor says that ..."These events take place BEFORE events in issue #2 of Amazing Spider-Man." Huh? What? That doesn't make any *&@#'ing sense... Is it a typo? Are they huffing glue? Isn't the whole reason Spider-Man went down to two books so that the continuity would be tighter and easier to control? Could I perhaps put another question in this paragraph?

Something like that, along with the annoying details in Amazing #2 (like where Peter jumps to rescue the replacement Spider-Man in front of a whole crowd of people watching the action, but managed to not be seen), ruin the flow of this story. You could have done a lot better by just leaving that details box out of the book altogether and leave it up to the reader. It's not a problem with this story, it just has a negative effect on it.

Oh, and for those of you who thought I forgot, I still HATE AUNT MAY!!! Would someone, ANYONE, please bust a cap in that old lady's butt? One of the rules of comic books (or at least it should be a rule) is don't bring a dead character back to life if they aren't going to evolve. They've ruined one of the best death scenes in any comics by retconning ASM#400, and for what? So she could pule around about her medication and make sure Peter buttons up his jacket? Give the poor old lady some depth, for Pete's sake (pun intended).

Overall Rating

Three webs is given to this story because it was a good, solid, story with a beginning and an ending. Picking up Thor (Vol. 2) #8 enhances the tale, but it isn't required, because enough explanation is given. While I'm always happy to see Peter back in the webs, the fuzzy continuity of the ongoing tale interrupts the flow of this individual story. Let's make sure all this stuff makes sense, okay? Thanks!