Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #23 (Story 1)

Background

Atlantis Attacks was a massive crossover event that played out in nearly every Marvel annual in 1989. Basically, the Lemurians (longtime rivals of the Atlanteans) have returned and are set to rule the world with a little help from the Serpent Crown and their evil serpent god Set.

Story 'Abominations!'

This issue starts with Lord Ghaur and Llyra (the Big Bads of the entire storyline) busting the Abomination out of the Vault.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man is taking some pictures of warships in New York Harbor. Our hero immediately swings over to the Daily Bugle to try and sell them. M.J. is there waiting for him, however, to take him out for a surprise lunch date. We also get to see some supporting cast members that have fallen by the wayside over the years – Lance Bannon (rival photographer), Joy Mercado (reporter), and Kate Cushing (city editor). And hey, She-Hulk (in her guise as a lawyer) is there too! She’s having a heated disagreement with J. Jonah Jameson about an editorial he wrote about New York’s homeless population.

During lunch, Peter gets a tingle from his Spider-Sense when a white van goes by. Peter being Peter decides he should investigate, dumps M.J., and goes into super hero mode.

We follow the van only to see that it is transporting the Abomination to the Lemurian’s secret lab. It turns out that the Abomination is really Tyrannus (an old Hulk foe). In order to separate his mind from the monster’s body Lord Ghaur and Llyra have captured the original Abomination’s alter ego Emil Blonsky. Using some fancy scientific mumbo jumbo they succeed in the mind-body swap. Blonsky couldn’t handle the strain, however, because now the Abomination is a mindless killing machine. The Lemurians flee just as the Abomination busts out of his restraints and starts tearing the lab up. This is, of course, the moment Spidey and She-Hulk arrive on the scene.

The fight quickly moves outside. The Abomination throws some pavement at our heroes, but She-Hulk punches it into rubble. Unfortunately, before Spidey or Shulky can go on the offensive some innocent bystanders get in the way and have to be saved. The Abomination uses the distraction to his advantage by tearing apart a nearby wall and bringing an entire building down onto our heroes!

Who should randomly run up, though, but Flash Thompson! He arrives just in time to see the Abomination leap away in search of more destruction. Then, She-Hulk rises up from the debris. She tells Flash that she shielded Spidey’s body from the impact but our hero is still out cold. Flash tells She-Hulk which way the Abomination went and says he will stay there to watch over Spidey.

Meanwhile, Lord Ghaur is following She-Hulk’s movements via his supped up hover-round doohickey and decides she would make an excellent Bride of Set.

The Abomination somehow winds up landing near New York’s city hall building in southern Manhattan. He’s clubbing some cops with his bare fists (ouch, that’s gotta hurt!) when She-Hulk announces herself via a double-foot kick jump straight to the bad guy’s solar plexus.

Spidey eventually wakes up and Flash tells him to go south to meet up with She-Hulk and the Abomination. (Now, if I were in his shoes, I would have done the sensible thing and let the two gamma-irradiated freaks beat each other to a pulp. But no, Spidey does the hero thing and heads right back into the fray.) When he finally arrives on the scene, She-Hulk has just been knocked out by the Abomination. Before the villain can finish her off, however, Spidey shoots his eyes full of webbing to distract him.

Lord Ghaur takes this opportunity to brand the unconscious She-Hulk with the Mark of Set and then flies off.

She-Hulk wakes up moments later and once again joins the fight. The only difference is, this time she’s grabbed a gas tanker truck and smashes it into the Abomination! Spidey doesn’t think anything could survive the resulting explosion, but he is proven wrong. The Abomination is on fire but still standing. But before the heroes can make another move, he jumps off the bridge (oh yeah, the fight moved to the Brooklyn Bridge) and lands on a passing tugboat. Which also explodes! Spidey and She-Hulk wait for him to resurface, but he never does.

General Comments

This is basically a slugfest with the Abomination, guest starring She-Hulk, with a few plot tidbits thrown in. It does its job of drawing a new reader in and also getting them interested in the rest of the storyline. Plus, you get some early Rob Liefield art (and one of the few times he’s ever drawn Spider-Man)!

Overall Rating

One of the first comics I ever got when I was 11 years old. I still remember picking it up off the spinner rack at the drugstore. I’m so excited that I finally reviewed it!

Footnote

The Atlantis Attacks storyline is directly continued in Punisher Annual #2. For more Spidey-centered action check out my review of Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #9.