Over the last few weekly installments of the Spider-saga (since SPIDER-MAN #69 anyway), the powerless Peter Parker has been feeling strange. It started with unusually painful muscle spasms, and ended in Spider-Man #70 with Peter collapsing on the floor of May's old home in Forest Hills. Mary Jane called 911, and since then, doctors at the city hospital have been working feverishly to save Peter's life, while not exactly sure what is causing this rare condition. Mary Jane fears the truth, believing that it may finally be the dreaded clone degeneration syndrome in its final throes...
|Cover Art:||Luke Ross|
Ben Reilly, the sensational Spider-Man, arrives at the hospital and talks the situation over with Mary Jane before heading in to see Peter. The "brothers" converse for a while before visiting hours officiallyu begin. For thos unfamiliar with the wonderful cast of characters in the books, we are introduced to Flash Thompson, Felicia Hardy/Black Cat, Liz Osborn and her son Normie, and much of the Daily Bugle personnel (with the exception of Jameson, the publisher... hmmm...). Ben is introduced as the cousin from upstate, and as the people continue to pile in, Ben wonders if the Parkers know how lucky they are to have so many friends who care.
Eventually the crowds are dispersed, and if that wasn't bad enough, Ken Ellis rushes in with news of a jumper on top of the Rand Building (owned by Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist) a few blocks over. MJ creates an exit for Ben as he rushes to the scene as Spider-Man. As Spider-Man arrives, the tableau worsens as the helicopter trying to save him is affected by windshear and crashes into the side of the same building. He saves the jumper and rescues everyone in the copter, as well as those inside the building at the time. At the same time in the hospital Peter's condition takes another mysterious turn, and he goes into cardiac arrest. The doctors help Peter, and he pulls out of it for the time being, while George, the jumper, helps out in another such case in the Rand building. Convinced his life is no longer useless, George is helped into the new day by Spider-Man.
Final new developments: An odd burglary at a diamond store is a telltale sign that the Shocker is back in business...but isn't he supposed to be locked up in prison?
And the kicker: Peter's doctors have called in specialists to figure out what exactly is wrong with him. This results in a visit to Mary Jane from none other than...CURT CONNORS???
This was a solid story backed up by a solid artistic team (although one I still don't like--a McFarlane clone). It was good for new fans of Spidey because it showed the various members of the supporting cast whose importance had been lost in the clone saga. Then again, we have Dr. Curt Connors, whose specialization is not in the medical field, but reptile physiology. Although I can understand the need to get Doc Connors out there to new fans, as well as his involvement on the "Who's Who" in ASM #150, I'm not sure he would have been called in as a specialist. That, and the only way he would really help Pete would be if he knew that Pete was indeed Spider-Man, since they only met in I think PPTSSM #32 when Pete was doing teaching / grad work at ESU, and failed to keep in touch much since.
But can I really complain?
Four webs. While it wasn't great, it was better than average. I have my gripes about Connors, I have my gripes on the simplicity of the story. The thing I did like is the interaction, the brother-like bond between Ben and Peter, especially in straits like these. That, and is there any way they'll kill Peter? I didn't think so. It just makes it a little more interesting to guess how he'll pull out of it. We'll see how it evolves in issues to come.