Let's assume you started with Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #1, so here we go right into the action.
Issue two opens with pure smut. Two businessmen walk down the street while one reads a personal ad from the paper to the other, "Young sensuous female. 27 years old [I guess she likes being redundant, too - TE]. Looking for rich, Wall Street type. Must be willing to provide a variety of expensive gifts in return for the best love-slave you can find. Will give you pleasure the moment you're done working. Any place, any style. So write to Bambi, PO Box 12287 station G, New York, NY10103. P.S. I guarantee that it will be wild, wet, wonderful and worth it! Please write, because together we can take a fantasy trip and try to... [turn the page] ...RISE ABOVE IT ALL!"
Like I said, this ain't your dad's Spider-Man comic book, I guess. Why the heck is that in there? I suppose Todd just felt like unleashing his ludicrous adolescent fantasies on your average Spidey reader.
So, we turned the page. What's on it? A double page spread of the Lizard leaping down at the two businessmen. Here's another example of the absurd captions found throughout Torment. They're practically this story's trademark. "Only the faint hiss of evil alerts Stan and Morley. They look up. But before they even have a chance to focus on the blur their lives are over. In the early evening, in a dark alley, one color dominates the dirt and garbage. That color... Is red [turn the page]. Blood red."
Boo! Pretty spooky, eh? Not to mention lame, and redundant, and absurdly melodramatic. Well, you get the point. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are spending some more quality time together. Pete sees the paper with a picture of the Lizard's latest victims and "CNNR" written on a wall in blood. Spidey suspects it stands for "Connors."
So, he turns his back on his wife and starts putting on his costume. Mary Jane's thoughts are depicted with the following captions. "She starts after him, then suddenly stops. She has seen him like this before. There isn't much she can say. When Peter becomes obsessive, she knows that his mind is starting to pull. And tug. And stretch. She also knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man [No kidding. She's watching him put the costume on right now - TE]. He has gone through many trying times. He is a hero. He is strong. Nothing can put him over the edge."
Feel free to gag.
Now we cut to our mysterious voodoo chick (OK, it's Calypso). She does some ritual that messes up Spidey's spider-sense and his ability to think clearly while he's out looking for the Lizard. Bad news, because this ritual has led the Lizard right to Spidey, and the Lizard, as we have been shown over and over again, is a KILLER!
Spidey battles the Lizard. The Lizard's claws are poisoned and he scratches the web head. Bad news for our hero. Spidey panics and kicks the Lizard into some sharp debris that impales the blood thirsty Dr. Connors through the chest.
Spidey starts to lose it as the poison works through his system. He turns around and when he turns back towards the Lizard all he sees is blood-spattered debris. No Lizard. Meanwhile, Mary Jane goes dancing. What does this have to do with the story? That's right. Nothing.
Calypso continues her voodoo ritual and Spidey decides to go sit on a water tower and reminisce about the Lizard. Sure, it's not like he's POISONED or anything. While he's sitting there it starts to rain. Then the rain turns red. Spidey gazes skyward and sees the very bloody Lizard leaping down on him.
Here are the captions that ruin this otherwise very effective last page. "His mind tells him that what he sees cannot be. That this is all a dream. Our hero had better wake up then, because tonight it is raining down... Death! Pray for our hero." Next, part three. Bet y'all can't wait.
Having trouble holding lunch down?
Half a web.