Electro, Chameleon, Sandman, Morbius--Spidey's had to battle with them all recently. Last time he faced off with the new Vulture in Amazing Spider-man (Vol. 1) #594, Spider-man beat him in Yankee Stadium, landing him in jail.
Outside Ryker’s Island Penitentiary, Electro sits musing on how the place is supposed to be top-of-the-line, designed by Reed Richards and built by Stark Industries, but “may as well be a cardboard box”. Electro gets himself inside, zaps out the lights and some guards. One cowering guard tells Electro he appreciated Electro’s recent Power To The People crusade, and to please not kill him. Electro says they may need an inside man in the prison, and lets him be. He finds the holding cell he’s looking for, containing Vulture. Electro tells him it’s time to fly.
Daytime, the city: Spidey’s battling it out with a dorky villain named Simple Simon, and gets a pie thrown in his face. After webbing him up, Simon reveals it was all a stunt perpetrated by a reality show, “To Be A Villain”, the producers of which bought the pies and the city permits. The news infuriates Spider-man, who says he’s going to City Hall to give them a piece of his mind.
Back at Ryker’s, back at night, Vulture flies off without giving Electro a lift, which pisses Dillon off. He notifies Sasha Kraven, telling her Vulture flew, expecting to be told to go after him. Sasha says Electro did well, and that it’s enough “that the Vulture is in play”. Vulture lands in what seems to be his old apartment, sees his reflection in a dingy mirror, and smashes it in rage.
Over at City Hall, Spidey webs JJJ’s telephone to his desk, and takes pictures of Jonah freaking out over it while Spidey himself hangs outside on a web. Meanwhile, New York’s crime families are distressed over Vulture being loose from prison. Vulture breaks in to a penthouse and abducts one of the bosses, bringing him back to his apartment lair. After vomiting his acid on and eating a rat, Vulture gets up close in the crime boss’ face, asking why he (The Vulture) was made. The Boss nervously goes into a flashback, showing how Vulture, known previously as Jimmy, used to be a trusted ‘cleaner’ for the mob. The Mob boss also reveals it was JJJ who made Vulture what he is.
Soon, Prof. Charles Goss, an ESU bio-chemist, makes the news accusing JJJ of his role in creating the Vulture. Goss himself is apprehended by the police. Spidey catches wind of the whole thing via a Times Square video screen, and smells a frame-up immediately. He resolves to clear JJJ, thinking that he needs a win after so many recent losses. He heads over to Gracie Mansion, where the Vulture at that moment breaks through the window, attacking JJJ. Spidey arrives, webbing Vulture and tossing him back out the window. Vulture shrugs Spidey off of him outside, flies back in and grabs Jonah, disappearing rapidly. Spidey chases after them down a long hallway, tracking them to the dark of the Mayor’s Office. He finds Vulture there, crouched over an unmoving Jonah.
Of the newer villains that have been created for Brand New Day, I do like the new Vulture (or Rulture, as he’s become known on certain Spidey internet message boards). We still know very little of how he came to be, so this issue goes a little further in establishing that. Somehow, Jonah’s supposedly involved, but there’s not enough here to see where that’s going. The outcome of the cliffhanger ending shouldn’t be in doubt, but it’s a good ending nonetheless.
Otherwise, I like how Mark Waid writes Electro in this issue—disgruntled at having to do the “grunt work” for Chameleon and the Kravens, and breaking into Ryker’s like it’s nothing. Working for the Kravens has made him more arrogant, and it’s a good, if minor, development for him. I just hate those lightning bolt facial tattoos on his face. Has any Spidey-villain had worse costume redesigns than Electro?
Decent set-up for the two-parter, with moody art and brisk story pacing from Waid.