After a scene of the Foreigner doing something in a lab that's not entirely clear, we cut to a scene of Spider-Man watching Betty through her bedroom window (ethics, anyone?) She's kitted in some soft-porno Matrix-esque costume with a large gun … as any undercover journalist would be, I suppose. Spidey changes to Pete and confronts Betty. The conversation goes like this:
Pete: What is all this? The weapons? The martial arts?
Betty: All part of being an investigative reporter, Peter.
I SWEAR I didn't just make that up.
Anyway, Betty leaves Pete a journalistic dossier to pass on to Jonah before she goes to take on Foreigner. Pete slaps a tracer on her.
Betty goes to the Foreigner's office. She puts a gun in the guard's face, ties him up and goes on upstairs. The guard takes his mask off … it's really the Foreigner. More of the Foreigner's robots (like the ones from the last issue) ambush Betty before Spidey helps out.
There's another long, drawn-out fight. Betty finds out for sure Ned was the Hobgoblin and ends up being hugged by Spidey.
I've always felt the best Spider-Man writers can get across a story with either little or no fight scenes in a book. Look at Smilin' Stan, who always wedged a hefty chunk of story into a book even though there was an obligatory fight scene. How about DeMatteis – probably my favourite Spidey writer? For a more contemporary reference, look at the wonders Bendis has worked on the Ultimate titles.
Compare that, however, to this. In issue 91, out of 23 story pages, just SIX have no fight scenes on them. In issue 92, it's 12 out of 23. So in a 46-page book, just 18 pages are actual story – not even half. If that's not a testament to the lack of storytelling abilities in Mackie's work then I don't know what is.
As for the story … it's just rubbish. I honestly don't set out to dislike the books before I read them but they're just so poor. Mackie does not have a clue what he's writing. Betty as some sort of dominatrix with a big gun? Come on … what happened to the secretary from the early issues? Characterisation is one thing but decimation is another entirely.
Kill me. Kill me now.