This annual explores the history of two of Spidey's famous ebony women; Glory Grant and Calypso. Seems like Glory returns from a holiday in the Caribbean with a little more than new clothes and photographs.
The story opens up with Spidey breaking up an ordinary back-alley mugging. When he sees the blank-eyed stare of the victim, however, returns his hospitality with a strong right cross to the ol' Spidey-chin. The hoodlums take a pot-shot at the two, that rakes "blank-eyes" against the side of the head. Spider-Man takes him to Ravencroft Institution for evaluation.
Back at the Daily Bugle, the crew is sitting around, talking, when Glory Grant walks in, back from her vacation. She's wearing a very tropical (and revealing) ensemble, topped off with a golden medallion, portraying an 'S' shaped snake. Peter shows Glory the latest snapshots he took, and she recognizes the blank-eyed figure as her cousin, Ramon. When Jonah asks for Peter's pictures, out of respect, he says that he left the lens cap on. Peter takes Glory to Ravencroft, but her cousin doesn't seem to recognize her.
On their way back to her apartment, Peter and Glory get ambushed by the crooks from the first part of the story. Peter manages to take out two of them without putting his identity at risk, but the third crook is riddled with bullets. He falls to reveal special agent J.R. Walker, otherwise known as Shotgun. He basically tells Parker to get lost, because it's a federal matter.
Shotgun questions Glory about her pendant, and she tells him she got it from a Haitian Refugee, who had boarded the boat she had returned on. He believes that there was a 'designer drug' on board that boat, and that Glory was somehow involved. Meanwhile, a gaunt, gray figure stands outside Glory's apartment window. Spidey, after being bored to death renting movies with MJ, swing over to Glory's house to check things out, just as the Zombie tries to burst in the apartment. The zombie chucks Spidey into the apartment, which Glory doesn't really appreciate (she doesn't like Spider-Man, if you didn't know). Shotgun tried to shoot him (what else can he do?) but to no avail. While Shotgun and Spidey tussle, Glory seems to go into a trance, spouting a strange mantra. She points a gun in Spider-Man's face, telling him to get lost. After he leaves, and the zombie disappears, Shotgun and Glory agree to go diving, looking for that Haitian boat in the morning. The gun-toting agent sacks out on the couch. In the middle of the night, however, Shotgun gets an rather pleasant wake-up call. It's Glory, dressed in trademark Calypso-gear, and throws herself at him.
Meanwhile, Spidey gets the lowdown on zombies from Dr. Kafka. The two kinds of zombies, zombieastral, and zombiecadavre. Zombieastral is like Ramon, put into a trance through the use of chemicals. But the other zombie, the gray-skinned peeping-tom, is the real-live thing (sort of). The next day, Shotgun and Glory dive for the boat. The find the zombie-inducing drug, but also encounter the zombiecadavre. During the fight, Shotgun gets pinned by the huge anchor. To save him, Glory injects him with the zombie-drug.
The climax of this story is in the graveyard, where Ramon (escaped from Ravencroft, of course), is digging up Calypso's body. Glory, fully under the power of Calypso, prepared to transfer her spirit from the talisman to her body, when the other the zombie, the real one, grabs the amulet from her. The zombie and Ramon fight, as Glory drags Calypso's body to a safe place, just as Spider-Man pops in. He demands that she release Glory, and Calypso agrees to, if Spidey can regain the amulet from the zombie. He webs it easily, and While Spider-Man keeps the zombie occupied, Glory transfers Calypso's spirit back to her own body. Afterwards, Glory returns the amulet to the zombie, and he takes it and goes off to the sunrise. After a quick dive, Spidey and Glory retrieve Shotgun and revive him, with Dr. Kafka's help.
I liked the story a lot. My only problem was...it was hard to review! There was a lot of plot to this story, and twists and turns. It makes for great comics, but it also gave me carpal tunnel syndrome. I liked McMannus' style, even though in places the inks looked unfinished. Herdling created a real compelling story, and took advantages of Glory's and Calypso's similarities (other than obvious ones), to link them together in the story.
While the art at times seemed rough, and Spider-Man looked prety skinny and small, the story shone through. That's why I'm giving it three webs. The plot was pretty intricate, and sometimes lost me, but it all came together in the end. I would;ve liked to have seen a little more of the "zombie-drug" thing, it seemed thrown in there after the fact, and the Marvel Zombie's role wasn't clear until the end, but I did like the Glory Grant angle, and the return of Calypso was sweet.