Peter and Mary Jane have moved in with Aunt May after being evicted from their Bedford Towers condo courtesy of the owner Jonathon Caesar.
Venom has escaped the Vault, a high-security prison in Colorado, and has returned to New York. After an initial confrontation in a meat packing plant, Venom discovers a change of address form in Peter's clothes.
|Cover Art:||Todd McFarlane|
Peter forces himself to calm down from last night's battle with Venom and act normally to avoid worrying Aunt May. Peter has one consolation - Venom doesn't know where he lives. As he and Aunt May leave to go shopping, Eddie Brock is waiting for them on their front porch.
Brock is extremely polite to May, asking if he and Peter can discuss "business". She tells Peter to talk to his friend and that they'll go shopping later. As they walk out of earshot, Brock tells Peter how he found the change of address form. When asked why he didn't attack Peter or force him to reveal his secret identity, Brock states his prefrence to avoid hurting innocent people (when possible) and that if his dual identity were known, there would be too many people gunning for him; he wants that privilege all to himself. He tells Peter to meet him at the Seacrest estate in Montauk tomorrow at sunup. Brock promises that nobody else will get hurt, provided he plays by his rules.
Peter - as Spider-Man - stops by the Fantastic Four headquarters and receives a promise from the Thing to assist him tomorrow. Brock pays another visit to inform him that he is aware of his arrangement with the Fantastic Four. Either this stays between them or bad things start happening.
Peter finally admits what's happened today to Mary Jane. She begs him to get help and worry about them later. However Peter reminds her that it's not that simple. He reminds her of the complete loss of privacy, the lawsuits from people whose property he accidentally damaged, repercussions for May, and the fact that she'd be the first target for every enemy he's ever fought. She reluctantly agrees but requests he try to get some help.
Later that night, Spider-Man drops by on psychiatrist Dr. Charles Jefferson to get some insight into the situation. Not disclosing his identity, Spider- Man tells Jefferson the full story about the alien costume. Jefferson provides this insight: the alien is showing signs of a love-hate relationship. Despite the fact the alien hates him now, the core emotion is love.
The next morning he makes his way to Montauk to confront Venom. Venom wastes no time and begins to pummel him at every opportunity, taunting him as well. Finally when Venom almost drowns him, Peter has a revelation. He escapes from Venom and addresses the symbiote directly: if you want me, take me!
A surprise to both Peter and Eddie, the costume tries to leave Eddie. Since the symbiote has already bonded with Brock it can't completely sever it's bond. The attempt to go back to Peter results in a shock that renders all three of them unconscious. Peter awakens first and calls the Fantastic Four to pick up Brock.
Good setup and a nice big fight at the end. No more teasing, just a good Spider-Man / Venom brawl where Spidey has to outthink his opponent. The psychological explanation of the symbiote's behavior Peter receieved from Jefferson sounds plausible and the end result made perfect sense.
For my money the most frightening aspect of this story is the fact you have two mortal enemies facing each other in their underwear.
4.5 webs. No crossovers, subplots, or anything to distract from the main story. Michelinie and McFarlane deliver on this one.
Spider-Man first encountered Dr. Jefferson in Amazing Spider-Man #296
The Parker's Forest Hills home address is revealed in this issue on page 4 on the change of address slip Eddie Brock finds when Peter left his clothes behind in the previous issue. The address is 20 Ingram Street, Forest Hills, NY.