We start with a scene on some alien planet. One alien wants something called the cosmultigizer while another alien has sent it away for safe keeping. Needless to say, it has landed on earth. Alien 1 is pissed off and vows to get it back. Oh dear... I don't like how this one's shaping up already.
OK. Back to the real world. Pete has just taken Aunt May out for dinner. As he drops her off, she is mugged by some guy called Arnie Strunk, who coincidentally saw the cosmultigizer thing fall to earth but left it on a building site. Pete checks on May and manages to get a tracer on the thief.
Later and Spidey tracks down Arnie and gets the broach back. He also sees the cosmultigizer at the building site and makes off with it after it sets off his spider-sense. Detective Harry Gibbs, who's been tipped off by some observatory is also after it though and hopes to find Spider-Man back in Manhattan.
Back in his apartment, Pete examines the object and it springs up a hologram. It invades his thoughts and gives him images from the future of a space battle where it is used as a weapon. Pete vows it mustn't happen.
He tries to palm the device off to the police, who laugh in his face but tell him to find Harry Gibbs. Meanwhile alien no.1 appears in Arnie's room, who tells him Spider-Man has the cosmultigizer. The alien possesses Arnie and sets off to find Spidey.
Gibbs has been in a car accident so Spider-Man can't find him. Meanwhile, he runs into Arnie, who is now pretty powerful. It all kicks off and Spidey, for no apparent reason, deduces that the alien is controlling him! Spidey swings off and the alien leaves Arnie's body to follow. They stop on some docks and, because the device is ret-hot, Spidey leaps into the water. Gibbs then turns up and shoots it before materialising into alien no.2, whose name is apparently Vaalu. Vaalu wins the battle and Spidey gives him the cosmultigizer. Thankfully, that's it.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Dreadful doesn't quite sum it up. Since when has space and aliens had anything to do with Spider-Man? (OK, I remember Amazing issue 2 as well but that was all explained innocently enough later on).
The story is just woeful from the start. Larry Lieber proves beyond doubt that his older brother (Stan Lee) got the talent in the family. Remember the characterisation that's been advanced in recent issues? Well Larry doesn't. Remember the premise that Spider-Man is a down-to-earth character with realistic stories? Larry doesn't. Remember our vast array of supporting characters? Larry clearly doesn't either.
People can complain about clones and the like but nothing quite sums up the bag of excrement this is. It could have been a comic about anyone – not even a superhero. Spidey just isn't needed in this book. He's a peripheral figure to the absurd scripting and is obsolete from the bizarre opening few pages where the aliens dominate.
I can perhaps understand that the editor needed a filler issue to get the book in to line with the upcoming crossover and chronology but that's no excuse for wasting people's time and money with this.
Disaster. Dreadful. Terrible. Awful. Worst book for ages. Let's just pretend it never happened, OK?