Peter has just returned from Paris with Joe Robertson to pay the ransom for Jonah to his kidnappers. When he returns to his apartment, Anna Watson meets him in a state of shock. All that she can get out is that something is wrong with May and points to the top of the staircase. Peter rushes upstairs to find Gwen Stacy standing inside his apartment.
|Inker:||David Hunt, Frank Giacoia|
|Cover Art:||Gil Kane|
|Reprinted In:||Marvel Tales #122|
|Reprinted In:||Essential Spider-Man #7|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man: Clone Gensis (TPB)|
Peter sits on the top step of the staircase leading to his apartment in the fetal position.
In rapid succession he has just learned his Aunt May has been sent to the hospital after suffering a heart attack because of something she saw. That 'something' is Gwen Stacy - his dead girlfriend - now standing inside his apartment trying to find out what's going on.
He eventually snaps out of his trance, recalls the events of the past few hours, and snaps for real. He grabs her by the coat, and starts screaming at her, accusing her of being a part of some sick joke. In a fit of rage, he shoves her into the wall behind her and leaves to check on Aunt May. When he arrives she's sleeping but quickly wakes up and begins making a fuss over him, ignoring the fact that she's the one in a hospital.
Mac Gargan is released from the New Jersey Federal Pennitentiary for serving his sentence and for good behavior. (Scorpion was sent to prison in Captain America #152.) He promptly returns to Manhattan and plans to resume his life of crime.
May's condition stabilizes during the night. Peter lets her sleep and goes in the waiting room of the hospital. He eventually falls asleep as well and has a nightmare in which he relieves Gwen's death, Norman Osborn death, Harry's tenure as the second Green Goblin, and Aunt May's potential death as a result of these events. After he wakes up, he overhears a news bulletin on the radio about the Scorpion's bank robbery earlier that morning. Since Aunt May is resting comfortably and there's nothing he can do now, he jumps at the chance to vent some frustration. Following the report from the radio, he heads toward Midtown.
Spider-Man searches Midtown for the Scorpion with no success. After two hours he's ready to go back to the hospital but something unexpected happens. Something so unexpected that you'll have to stop reading this review and read one for Marvel Team-Up #33 to find out what happens. Go ahead and read it, it's fine. I'll be right here when you get back.
Doo deee dooo deee deee dooo.
Oh, you're back! Amazing what can happen when you least expect it, huh?
The Scorpion finds Spider-Man while he's distracted and attacks. As it turns out, Scorpion was hunting Spider-Man to get revenge on him. Their fight leads to a cement processing plant. After playing follow-the-leader up to a platform, Scorpion finally grabs Spider-Man, throws him against the railing, and viciously beats him. The railing around the platform breaks, dropping an exhausted Spider-Man into a cement mixing vat. Scorpion turns on the mixer and floods the vat with water in an effort to drown him. After several minutes the Scorpion assumes that he's killed his enemy and leaves.
Spider-Man emerges from the vat eight minutes later. By clutching a bracing strut inside the tank and holding his breath, Spider-Man was able to wait until the Scorpion had left before he resurfaced. In his condition he wouldn't have lasted much longer.
As he returns to the hospital, he is met by Robbie, Betty, MJ, and Ned who inform him of their encounter with the second Gwen. Her fingerprints match the ones taken at Gwen's autopsy. Ned also tells Peter that they checked Gwen's gravesite - her body hasn't been touched. They are left with the possibility that there are two identical Gwen Stacys.
I thought this was a solid story. The opening sequence with Peter curled up on the top step is spooky when you read it. Andru did a great job capturing the shock and horror in Peter's face and Conway's dialogue was perfect. They maintained this level of tension for the rest of the issue.
I do scratch my head at one point, though. I wonder why - in the middle of the story - Conway essentially says "in order for this to make complete sense, go read MTU#33 which I wrote as well." The interruption of the "main" story on one panel and the resumption on the next panel is just weird. To this day I have no idea what happened during his encounter with Nighthawk. Ah well "Essential MTU" is available if I feel the need.
Good story despite very minor problems. It sets the stage very well for the Scorpion/Spider-Man rematch next issue.