Peter Parker, in his official position as Tony Stark's protege, has travelled with Stark to Washington for a Commission's discussion on the proposed Superhuman Registration Act. After a closed-door session, the Titanium Man shows up to assassinate Tony Stark...
Spider-Man hitches a ride on Titanium Man, webs a line to the Washington Monument, and swings Titanium towards the Lincoln Memorial. Spider-Man lands and looks for Titanium Man, but is momentarily distracted by the statue of Lincoln. Spider-Man reads what is written below the statue, when his spider-sense flares and Titanium Man tackles him and throws him towards the water by the Washington Monument. Spider-Man glides upwards and above Titanium Man, and causes the two to crash down onto a building top.
Titanium Man grabs Spider-Man by the throat, and tells him that his empployer believes that when Tony Stark is dead, there will be no one to speak for superheroes, and that the US government will hunt people like Spider-man down and eradicate him. Titanium Man tells Spider-Man that he's been forced to become a mercenary since the fall of the Soviet Union, but was very excited at the prospect of this job, and all it could mean. Spider-Man extends the metal protrusions in his back and pierces Titanium Man's helmet, damaging his sensors. Spider-Man punches him a few times, and then Titanium Man flies off, and Spider-Man is unable to snag him with a webline.
The following day, Stark returns to the Committee. He shows them a recording from the previous day, when Titanium Man went on his expository rant to Spider-Man. Spider-Man shows up and talks to the committee, and tells them why he does what he does, and why he thinks unencumbered superheroes are necessary and helpful, because they do what others don't want to, and what governments may not want to touch. However, the Senate Committee tells him that his thoughts don't mean anything without being on the record, which would demand him unmasking himself and revealing his identity.
After the meeting, Stark meets Peter outside on the steps of the Senate. Tony tells Peter that they've managed to stave off the registration, and muddied the waters enough to slow the process down, barring anything which could turn public opinion around.
Peter starts to ask Stark about whether or not maybe it was a set-up, the fight with Titanium Man, because the reporters didn't know Stark was testifying, yet the Titanium Man did. Tony and Peter pass the Lincoln monument, and Tony tells Peter why he admires Lincoln, and how he thought that everything Lincoln did, and the Civil War he was President during, was necessary, even if it was bloody and terrible. The two walk off, with Tony telling Peter if he'd had anything to do with Titanium Man's appearance, he'd have told him.
Later that night, Iron Man meets up with Titanium Man in an abandoned, forest location. Iron Man pays Titanium Man for his services. Titanium Man warns Iron Man about what could happen if registration did work. And how would he feel if he had to resort to being a mercenary. Titanium Man flies off with his money.
Peter rests at home, after a long day, as Mary Jane showers. Peter puts on the news, and slowly falls asleep, as the news receives confirmation that there's been a disaster in Stamford, Connecticut...
Just like last issue, this is a well-written issue. The story is engaging and interesting, and the twist with Iron Man hiring Titanium Man is a very intriguing one. It makes Tony a tad more complex and multi-faceted, which is always a welcome modification. The fight scene was well choreographed. My gripe was that at times the script was almost too preachy and over-the-top, with it's exposition regarding the superhuman registration act, and the American Civil War. That being said, it was still an enjoyable and fast-moving read, with some intriguing points within.
Once again, the artwork was a disappointment. The actual action sequences were decent, but man, Kirkham just can't handle facial expressions at all. They're almost painful to look at and read. Peter and Mary Jane especially. I was also bothered by the totally arbitrary shower scene with Mary Jane... it wasn't necessary in the least.
Overall, it's an average issue with an average rating. If this book could get a good artist, and one who could actually stay on the title for a while, it'd be a great bonus. I already miss Deodato Jr., and although Garney was supposed to be the new ongoing artist, he's only pencilled one issue so far, and Kirkham has sloppily put together two issues. Here's hoping the art on the next issue improves.