Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #196

Background

We start this issue right after Peter Parker has gotten a telegram telling him that his Aunt May has died in her nursing home. Unbeknownst to him, this is all a plot by the burglar who killed his uncle Ben and his long time foe, Mysterio, both of whom desire the treasure which is allegedly hidden in the Parker home.

Story 'Requiem'

Peter Parker in Spider-Man gear, having just received a telegram stating that his aunt May had died, starts out this issue swinging above the city as fast as he can toward May's nursing home, refusing to believe that she is really dead. Spider-Man convinces himself that it is all a mistake made by the staff at the nursing home. Eventually, his injured arm (injured by the black cat a few issues back) prevents him from continuing his web swinging, so he hops on top of a bus which takes him by the nursing home.

Switching into his Peter Parker clothes, he rushes inside where he learns that it was not a mistake, as he sees the body of his aunt (unbeknownst to him, she is still alive and he is being tricked by Mysterio, who runs a scam operation at said nursing home). Believing his Aunt to be dead, Peter Parker storms out of the nursing home into the rain, thinking of all the loved ones he has lost and wondering why he never seems to be able to save them.

Meanwhile, Robbie Robertson quits his job as city editor of the Bugle in protest of J. Jonah Jameson letting his hatred of Spider-Man compromise his journalistic integrity.

In another part of town, a shadowed figure orders two thugs to capture Spider- Man using a weapon he gives to them in a briefcase. More on this to come.

Back with Peter Parker, we find him at Empire State University, telling the secretary that he is going to be missing some classes, and telling his friends what has happened. After that, Peter wanders to a pier and thinks of what purpose his life can possibly have now that his Aunt May is gone. While there, he meets Robbie Robertson, who came there to think of his own problems. Robbie gives Peter a pep talk about how you always need to move on, raising Peter's spirits. Encouraged, Peter goes back to Aunt May's house in Queens, only to find it completley trashed. It is then that Peter remembers the name of the Doctor at Aunt May's nursing home, Dr. Ludwig Rinehart, the same name assumed as an alias years earlier by Mysterio!

Peter, realizing that there is more to the situation than it seems, injured arm and all, switches to his Spider-Man costume and rushes toward the nursing home to find out what was really going on with his Aunt. On the way, the two thugs from earlier spot him and fire thier weapon at him. Dazed, Spider-man falls to the ground where the thugs throw a net on him, and the bigger thug pounds on Spider-Man's injured arm until he loses consiousness. The two thugs then deliver Spider-Man to the one who hired them earlier in the issue... the Kingpin!

General Comments

This is a set up issue for the events to come, which climax in issue #200, but it is still a very touching, exciting, and suspensful read. The true story is in the following issues, but for a set up issue, this is very good, both at setting up the story, and yet at the same time being a part of it.

Overall Rating

Good writing, touching story. Solid 3.5 webs.