What’re Spider-Man and the Puma doing in a Southwestern desert? You won’t really find any answers in here…
Spider-Man and Puma (who has reverted back to his Thomas Fireheart persona by this time) are standing on a mesa, with the Black Crow grimacing and genuflecting on a rock outcropping above them.
Who’s this Black Crow guy and why is he mixed up in all of this? Well, I’ll let him speak for himself: “I serve the will and whim of the Earth Mother. I am the door between Man and the Great Spirit… I am your destiny.”
Not that that clears up anything to our two protagonists (or the readers). They both pounce on him, but he swats them away. They clear their heads and try to attack him again, but now the Black Crow freezes them both in mid-air and decides to give them a lecture.
“You have each reached a turning point in your spiritual growth. You must each make a choice that will determine the path you walk for the rest of your lives.” And with that, he splits in two and goes running off. Spider-Man and Puma go their separate ways in pursuit.
So now our hero goes climbing along the rocks for about 4 pages, but then is suddenly ambushed by the Black Crow (naturally, he doesn’t set off his spider-sense). Spider-Man tries to web him up, but he pulls the ol’ dissolving into mist trick again.
Next comes my favorite panel in the entire issue… The mist surrounding Spider-Man coalesces into figures of the Green Goblin, the Rhino, Richard Fisk, the Vulture, and Vermin. They’re not in their regular costumes, though, they’re actually dressed up like Native American warriors and carrying spears and longbows. It’s a pretty weird sight (and unfortunately, the most amusing thing in this issue).
“Black Crow, stop hiding from me. It’s not them I want – It’s you!” screams Spidey. And the Black Crow conveniently complies. Our hero grabs him and prepares to throw him off the cliff that they’re standing on (pretty bloodthirsty of Spidey, don’t you think?). But then he has some sort of revelatory vision of a vast spider web that connects the universe together (really, that’s what it says). This somehow snaps him out of his rage and he lets the Black Crow go.
Meanwhile, Thomas Fireheart is on the hunt for the Black Crow as well. He gets attacked by a mountain lion, but shrugs him off pretty easily. The mountain lion, of course, turns into the Black Crow, who hands out yet another lecture to Fireheart. “Your people created you to protect them. It took centuries of controlled breeding to bestow the puma-medicine upon you. And what do you do in return for the gift? Use it to kill, to become a hired assassin!” This gets Fireheart so upset that he release his Puma persona, who then proceeds to rip the Black Crow to shreds (good for him, I say).
So Spider-Man has passed his spiritual test (or whatever) the Black Crow transports him and Puma back to New York City, right on the spire of the Chrysler Building. The Puma jumps off (uh, to where exactly?) and the Black Crow gives Spidey his mission: stop the Puma.
Okay, this issue is pretty much just treading water. These were the same lame fight scenes as last issue, except for the location. And no further explanation is given as to the point of all this, just some more mystical mumbo jumbo.
Speaking of which, could the Black Crow be a little more vague? And what’s up with all his strange powers? Is there anything he can’t do? Well, I guess he can’t stop the Puma, or else he wouldn’t have drafted Spidey into this mess.
Two down, one to go.