Election Day in New York City is just hours around the corner, as various subplots started ramping up in part one of Character Assassination. Carlie Cooper has managed to trace the spider-tracers related to the spider-tracer killer to the apartment of Peter Parker and Vin Gonzalez, Peter Parker has been shot and so is now wounded, trying to have a shower at his apartment without Carlie seeing him in his tattered costume, and Harry Osborn has proposed to girlfriend Lily Hollister. Meanwhile, her father Bill Hollister is looking glumly at the polling numbers, as Crowne gets closer to catching up to Hollister, and possibly overtaking him in time for election day!
As newscasters recap the most recent political events and commentary on the upcoming mayoral election of New York City, Harry Osborn and Lily Hollister are on the Statue of Liberty, discussing his proposal. The conversation doesn't go well, as Lily isn't sure if it's too soon, and if he's ready considering his track records in the past. He's put off, hurt, and when her father calls her, she quickly bails, leaving Harry in the shadow of his past as the Goblin, or is it something more...
Meanwhile, back at the Gonzalez and Parker residence, Vin finds Carlie in his room, and wonders just why she's there, as he's returned for something he left in his room before leaving for his shift. She's shifty, having hid the bag of tracers, but is clearly very suspicious. As they're talking, Peter hears them mention that Menace is hitting a Hollister rally, so Peter, a bloody mess in the bathroom, scrambles to put back on his tattered costume, to go out and stop Menace.
Carlie is angry at Vin for keeping things from her, and confronts him about being the Spider-Tracer killer, due to the tracers in his apartment. She does this just as Vin's partner comes into the apartment.
As J. Jonah Jameson goes on tv to deliver some commentary on Spider-Man being crazy, Spidey swings into battle against Menace, but because he's already dealing with a recent gunshot from last issue, and hasn't had sufficient time to heal or get adequate treatment, he's sluggish and in bad shape, as he takes a beating. As he narrowly manages to save some lives, he ends up beneath a lot of wreckage.
Back at the Gonzalez/Parker residence, Carlie continues her accusations, as Vin's partner reveals that there's not just Vin involved in the spider-tracer conspiracy, but more cops, much to her shock.
Menace lays into Spider-Man, grabbing metal piping and wrapping him up in it, immobilizing him, as he weakly tries to fight back, as the gunshot and the successive beating and damage does its toll on him. Menace knocks him out and leaves him for the cops to pick up and arrest, and flies away. The cops quickly move in and get him strung up in holding gear, and announce that he is now officially under arrest.
Menace returns to Campaign Headquarters for Hollister for New York, and starts to undergo a physical change. Around the corner, five minutes later, Harry Osborn comes walking through the headquarters, opens the door to the room, and finds Lily Hollister inside, in the Menace costume and with the Menace Gauntlets on!
This arc is really a great ride thus far, it's got a lot of entertaining elements, as we see plot threads pulled together, revelations, and more questions even as we get slivers of answers. It's almost like an episode of Lost (albeit a lot more simplified, and nowhere near as complex, textured and, honestly, frakkin' awesome, although this is quite entertaining as well). I also like that once again we have JrJr on the title when there are revelations and plots to be pulled together, just like he was a part of with New Ways to Die.
There's a lot going on here, and it's quite well-done and put-together by Guggenheim. His arcs have, for the most part, been fast-paced and more action- oriented, and he really does a nice job writing Spider-Man's fight against Menace here. We also have some reveals and surprises here, and both were not what I was expecting, and so they actually managed to throw me off and surprise me, one more than the other (can you guess which one?).
The artwork by Romita remains fantastic as always, he's got a crisp, detailed style, and, quite frankly, I think his work is getting back to what I originally loved about his 90s work on Peter Parker: Spider-Man. I felt at times that he kind of lost himself during his run with JMS, that some things could have been better, and that the characters lost their weight and presence. His character work is much beefier, more solid now, and I for one prefer it.
A great new issue, I'm definitely wondering just what comes next, and with two more issues left, what other surprises will be revealed. And I'm also wondering just who actually WILL becoming the Mayor, as the election nears, because although Hollister would be the obvious story-telling choice, there's also the fact that his chief opponent is deeply tied with Norman Osborn. I'm excited to see just what comes next, and how the questions that are posed in this issue are dealt with and resolved. Recommended!