Pete and MJ are settling back into a life together and there seems to be no clouds on the horizon...
This issue begins with MJ and Pete sitting down for brunch in a fairly posh restaurant. Pete and the waiter have a funny conversation based on whether coffee is the appropriate beverage for the time of day. MJ mentions that she needs to start getting back to her modelling work, when sirens come from outside. Pete says that's fine with him then ducks out as Spidey to follow the commotion.
As Spidey swings over the streets, he passes an unassuming old man which we then follows. The man enters a building where some guy is talking on the phone about how he will assasinate someone. The old man enters and the assasin asks: "Is it ready?" The old man answers "Of course it's ready. Leo Zelinsky never fails in these things." Leo then produces a dark cloak...
As the story unfolds we find out that Leo is a tailor. He lives above his shop with his grandson, who's parents are deceased. That night Leo and his grandson, Michael. Michael overheard the assasin aswell and confronts his grandfather about what he is going to do. Leo doesn't want to do anything to endanger his grandson and is conflicted about what to do.
Later that night Leo comes up with an idea and goes out walking to find Spider-Man. When he finds Spidey he convinces him to hear him out. He tells Spidey his problem. Of course Spidey wants to know why he doesn't go to the police. There's the issue of Leo and his grandson's safety, but there's also Leo's livelyhood. Leo explains how he repairs and designs costumes for superheros and supervillains. He explains how privacy is important for his business. He wants to do something about the assasination, but if he tells one of his regulars he is afraid he will lose his business, since his customers dersire his secrecy.
Spidey agress to help out and after Leo gives him some tips on his costume, they both head home.
The next day, Spidey acts on Leo's information and foils the assasination attempt. The assasin manages to escape though and heads straight to Leo's place to take revenge. The assasin threatens Leo and Michael, Leo protects Michael and is shot. Spidey arrives and takes the assasin out.
Later, the Police and District Attorney (the assasin's targert) are on the scene. Leo is injured, but okay. The DA thanks Spidey for nabbing the assasin. Spidey and Leo make it clear for the public that they weren't previously assosciated (making things cool for Leos business). A happy ending.
As Spidey leaves Leo gives him new costume design. When alone Spidey pulls the design out... its the costume that his future self was wearing during his last stand! (Note: this was seen in issue 500)
This story and last issues story are supposed to be single issue interludes between huge important story arcs. But, to tell the truth I've enjoyed these issues a lot more than some of those recent arcs.
JMS tells a simple, but thoroughly enjoyable story this issue. There's heaps of great things going on. In particular there is plenty of great humour. From Peter examining himself with his mask on late at night in the mirror and proclaiming he's hip, to the cafe worker who believes that Spidey his just some nut-job so Spidey can hang out there in costume with no fuss.
I also like these different looks at superhero's, this time through the eyes of a superhero's tailor. While its not all that original and it is a little hokey, it does provide for some great moments and the set up for an interesting moral dilemma. For instance when the Blob visits and says "So I'm thinking of just wearing a thong from now on..." Or the revelation that Thor reads gardening magazines and Modern Bride while waiting for his repairs. I was laughing out loud by this point! Great stuff.
While there's plenty of humour, there is also Leo's moral dilemma at the heart of this story and that plays out very well. For a character that will probably only appear once, he seems very fleshed out. His inner struggle is beleiveable.
There are things that don't quite make sense this issue and detract a little, but I don't feel like dwelling on them, because really as a whole this was an enjoyable story. The only other thing worth mentioning is the future costume design that Leo gives Spidey. Does this mean that JMS is going to pick up on this storyline more? I thought that the future thing was a one off... maybe JMS has more planned...
I liked it a lot!