Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #256

Background

We haven't seen New York's greatest crime fighting duo, the Grizzly and the Gibbon, for three issues, and in that time they have been captured by the malevolent White Rabbit! Now, as the city trembles in fear, is there anyone who can stop this diabolical genius? (I can't believe I pulled that off with a straight face!)

Story 'Through The Looking Glass'

The White Rabbit has taken over the airways (and pre-empted Jerry Springer, the fiend!) demanding 1 billion dollars in gold for the lives of Grizzly and Gibbon, threatening to lower them into a pit of genetically mutated killer bunnies ("capable of eating a man alive - IN SECONDS!") The mayor, as one may expect, is less than intimidated, judging by the way he's rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter.

Peter Parker, the soon-to-be-ex-Spider-Man for two months, is spending the day with Mary Jane and planning his fourth and last identity when they chance upon a department store and witness the White Rabbit's statement playing over the racks of TVs. Unfortunately, he left all his Spidey gear at home.

Over at the Daily Bugle, Jonah is storming into Norman Osborn's office in a rage, demanding to know why he's hired someone to ghost write his memoirs. Refusing to "sing his praises," Jonah has Osborn by the throat but backs down at the sight of his wife Marla's book of Shelley, the implied threat obvious. Bludgeoned into submission, Jonah leaves vowing revenge if Osborn hurts his wife.

At the Parker household, MJ is busy sewing up one of Peter's new uniforms when Aunt Anna arrives, humiliated by her recent accusal of Peter sleeping around. The two begin to talk, and Anna confesses a previous marriage, ending badly because she, not he, had an affair.

Meanwhile, the White Rabbit has received a counter-offer from the mayor ($2.50) and is fairly perturbed at the news. She then proceeds to vent her frustration on the city by means of a carrot-bomb-dropping bunny blimp. In the carnage, however, a shadowy figure leaps aboard the blimp and steals a ride back to the Rabbit Hole. The White Rabbit, however, has decided that she doesn't need the Grizzly and the Gibbon and lowers them to their doom only to confront... the Bombastic Bag-Man??? Yes, that's Peter wearing a bag over his head and thrashing the White Rabbit's henchmen in two pages flat, at least until the Rabbit returns with... Robobunny, who's carrot-missiles throw Pete for a loop. But before he is unmasked, who should turn up but Grizzly and Gibbon. Gibbon, it seems, has an "natural affinity for the animal kingdom" and convinced the killer bunnies to gnaw through the chains. Despite being held back by the Gibbon, Grizzly (claiming that "they'd call me sexist if I didn't pound 'er one!") ends things with a rather convincing right cross.

After getting a pep talk from the "established super heroes," Pete returns home to find that MJ has a new costume all ready for him. A fake nose and some makeup later, and PRODIGY is officially born.

General Comments

Well, good thing this was a tongue-in-cheek issue, otherwise it would have read like a typical DC comic.

Seriously, John Marc's so good at the creepy, psychological dramas that it's easy to forget that he does comedy, too. (Another example of this is SSM #185, I believe, featuring the Frogman, his son, the Walrus, and the White Rabbit herself, and it is hysterical.) The humor turns what would have been a boring, set-up-the-Identity-Crisis-storyline issue into one that's actually fun.

On another note, about a week before I got this issue I was complaining about Marvel leaving plot threads dangling (the fate of Griz and Gib being one of those) and then whatta ya know, here they are. I have to admit it, I get a kick out of these two. Just don't overuse them. Overall, art's good, writing's funny, nice job. (Bombastic Bag-Man? Oy!)

Overall Rating

It's good, it's funny, but the fact that it's basically a set-up issue keeps it from a perfect rating. I will give it a four.