Two issues ago, Doctor Octopus kidnapped Hayyan Zarour, the Palestinian Foreign Minister. Last issue, Doc Ock made one simple demand for Zarour's return: Spider-Man must walk into Times Square at noon on Saturday and publicly unmask himself. The clock is ticking...
With the sun still rising early on Saturday morning, Spider-Man swings to his own rooftop where he finds Big John Anderson fast asleep. When John awakes, Spidey asks if he's the Kiwi Kid (if this makes no sense, check out Spectacular #7). Meanwhile at Otto Octavius' childhood home, Hayyan Zarour awakes to find himself tied to a mattress next to a dummy with a bomb strapped to its chest, with Doctor Octopus lurking overhead. Doc Ock tells Zarour a story from his childhood, about how his cruel father was injured at work, but instead of going to the hospital, he insisted on coming home. So Father Octavius laid in his bed for weeks while his injuries slowly killed him, and after Mrs. Octavius was driven away by her husband's anger, her son was left alone in the house. It was that night that Mr. Octavius finally died, and young Otto sat in his room all night, terrified, staring at his father's corpse. With his story concluded, Doctor Octopus leaves, but not before starting the timer on the bomb next to Zarour.
At his apartment, Peter looks out the window, waiting until it's time to go meet his fate. But before he goes, he tries his best to comfort his wife, Mary Jane, who is terrified for her husband's safety. After doing all he can to restore MJ's faith, Peter dons his mask and crawls out the window. At Times Square, we hear of the escalated fighting in the Middle East that has resulted from Zarour's kidnapping. But on a more local note, Police Captain Cleeland is handed a note by a young officer. The note seems to be from Detective Neil Garrett, and it causes Cleeland to order the sewers beneath Times Square emptied of all police. Elsewhere, Big John Anderson in his alter-ego of the Kiwi Kid has managed to climb a telephone pole. From there, he's filming Spider-Man for reasons unknown. And elsewhere again, Detective Garrett and a number of Israeli Secret Service agents are preparing for whatever is about to transpire.
Finally, with 12 o'clock looming, Spider-Man arrives in Times Square. He casually strolls into the middle, with all the world's eyes nervously upon him. Moments later, Doctor Octopus bursts through the street from below to bask in the moment. Doc Ock declares that, after Spidey reveals his identity, he wants to see him prosecuted to the full extent of the law for his years of vigilante activities. But more than that, he wants to see Spider-Man reduced from myth to man. As the clock strikes twelve, Spidey obligingly removes his mask as billions of people watch... but Doc Ock, clearly startled, says, "No... your face! What have you done?"
Ah, the cliffhanger. I think Paul Jenkins gets some strange joy out of making me squirm for an entire month as I wait to see what's going to happen. This issue was just terrific. Paul Jenkins builds the suspense wonderfully in this issue, as he has throughout this entire storyline, and I can't wait to see how everything is going to come together next issue. And the art by Humberto Ramos and Wayne Faucher is stunning yet again.
Five webs. The first appearance of the Kiwi Kid... I'd better put this one away someplace safe and let the value skyrocket.