He killed Peter Parker's first true love. His legacy ultimately claimed the life of his son. He orchestrated the entire clone saga and murdered Ben Reilly. And he's just getting warmed up. Norman Osborn is back with a vengeance!
|Inker:||Al Milgrom, Dan Green|
|Cover Art:||Luke Ross|
When last we saw John Jameson, he was trying to smother his father Jonah with a pillowcase. This issue opens with the police interrogating him, and they don't take too well to his claims of amnesia. John vehemently denies that he could try to murder his father, until he is told that Spider-Man caught him in the act. Just then, as Marla Jameson, Ashley Kafka, and the family lawyer arrive to take John home (as he is never formally charged), the Webbed One himself is sitting in the rain, watching as reporters frantically pepper the confused John with questions.
Spidey is more than a little confused himself, and swings away into the rain trying to sort things out. Back at the hospital, the police are interviewing Jonah as well, who takes the opportunity to praise his son and discredit Spider-Man. One policeman, Sgt. Stark, mentions the Jack O'Lantern and Jonah flips out, ordering everyone out of the room. Later that night, however, Jack pays Jonah a little visit, confirming that John is under his complete control. Jonah pleads for an explanation ("Doesn't the past count for anything?") and Jack reveals his identity to him again (but not to us. Grrrr.) Jack leaves with a final demand: the price for the Jameson family's safety is the Daily Bugle. Jonah refuses, and Jack vanishes into thin air.
While all this is happening, Flash Thompson is revisiting his parents' home in an attempt to make peace with his past, an attempt that fails miserably when he sees his alcoholic father for the first time. The two exchange a few heated words, and Flash ends up back on the streets in the pouring rain. Back at the Jamesons' apartment, Marla's rantings about bringing Spider-Man to justice are quickly quelled by John, who is certain that Spidey would not lie to frame him. She leaves to take a shower while Dr. Kafka persuades John to undergo hypnosis to uncover the truth. Sure enough, they discover that the Jack O'Lantern had him under some kind of mind control, but in eliminating that control, John comes face to face (in his mind) with his darkest secret, the Man-Wolf.
Spider-Man, meanwhile, is still swinging around town when he's assaulted by an ape and a lion, which quickly overpower the exhausted hero and then leave him. Spidey then catches a glimpse of "Kraven" as he struggles to get his bearings. The Jack O'Lantern hasn't been idle all this time, though. While Marla showers, he sneaks into the apartment and steals a book of poetry from which Jonah reads to Marla. He delivers the book to Jonah, finally driving the point home that he is more than willing to hurt any of the Jamesons to get what he wants. The issue ends with the Jack O'Lantern burning his $1 million payment for his services ("I didn't do this for the money. I did it for my OWN reasons.") and a final full page close-up of Jack's employer: Norman Osborn.
There's a heck of a lot going on, but we're in capable hands. J.M. DeMatteis is a master at handling multiple threads.
Norman is a true menace, and J.M. plays this well. Four webs.