Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #299

Background

Spider-Man was unable to stop Chance from stealing some experimental weapons. As Chance was leaving, Spider-Man tagged him with a spider tracer with the intention of finding him later. Carlton Drake, the man who commissioned the heist, double crossed Chance and captured him for as yet unspecified reasons.

Story 'Survival Of The Hittist!'

Spider-Man spends most of the morning swinging over Manhattan trying to pick up a signal from the spider-tracer he planted on Chance. He eventually finds it originating from a tractor trailer and drops on top to check it out. His investigation is cut short when he's spotted. A nearby police officer is summoned and sides with the truck driver who informs him that he's delivering building supplies for Carlton Drake in New Jersey. Unable to back up his statements without potentially risking the lives of the motorists, Peter leaves.

He returns to his Chelsea apartment and finds a note from the "skylight repairman" taped to his skylight entrance instructing him to use the front door. Confused but compliant he picks up a bundle of emergency clothes from the alley. Upon entering he finds Mary Jane's cleaning lady hard at work. Pulling him aside she explains the situation. She left the note to prevent him from dropping in his "usual" way and scaring the cleaning lady. She also confesses that as a model she doesn't want to expose her skin to cleaning agents.

Peter understands but is preoccupied with finding Chance and the missing weapons. MJ suggests that they do something to take his mind off his problems. Later that evening she brings him to an exclusive, celebrity-filled party at the Spawning Club. (I mention the name because ... well I think you get the idea.) Peter is simply amazed at MJ's social circle. He admits to himself that while he doesn't feel comfortable in this high-glitz lifestyle, it's a fun place to visit.

The next day Peter tracks down Carlton Drake to his New Jersey stronghold. After he sneaks in, he locates Chance who provides him with some crucial information about his captors. Drake is the head of the Life Foundation, a group of wealthy survivalists that are building an exclusive community to attract like-minded individuals. They stole the experimental weapons to arm their personal army, but need Chance's advanced weaponry as a preventative measure in case their army tries to take over.

Spider-Man's efforts to free Chance from his restraints sound an alarm bringing in the army in question. A temporary truce allows them to fight their way out of the facility. Drake hears the fighting and escapes via helicopter. As payback for double-crossing him, Chance ignites the crates of ammunition and destroys the facility as he and Spider-Man fly to safety. As a final gesture of their truce, Chance offers Spider-Man a lift back to Manhattan.

At Peter's Chelsea Street apartment, Mary Jane has just returned from shopping to keep her mind off Peter's extended absence. When she enters the apartment, someone in a black and white Spider-Man costume is sitting in a darkened corner. But it's not Peter Parker.

General Comments

This reads as well today as in did when it came out. The survivalist angle is unusual but it makes sense when all is revealed. The Venom subplot has now moved into the foreground, setting up issue 300 very well. One is left to wonder exactly what happened between issues. In my opinion horror works best when the creators can craft a tense situation and encourage the reader to create their own nightmare. No one can create "the" scene that will terrify each member of their audience. If they can tap into the audience's subconscious minds and let them do most of the work, they will have an unlimited number of ways to scare people.

Overall Rating

This was a very good issue. Well thought out, well executed. It would have only received 3.5 webs, but the scene with Venom kicks it up a notch. (Apologies to Emeril)