A menace named Morlun has arrived to apparently kill Spidey. Ezekiel has told Spidey he has no hope, Morlun is Spidey's natural predator and will take him out.
The description for this issue is basic really: Spidey gets the snot pounded out of him all over New York by Morlun.
Yep. After last issues cliffhanger and JMS building up Morlun as a real tough guy, Spidey and Morlun face off this issue. They duke it out all over NY. Morlun the silent purposeful killer, unstopping, untiring and apparently more powerful than Spidey. Spidey fighting for his life, trying to find a weakness, trying to protect innocents, tiring and apparently out-matched. Finally, after an issue long battle, Spidey breaks away and goes to Ezekiel for help. And Ezekiel's response? "You're going to die nad there's nothing anyone can do about it." Not very happy tidings for our hero...
I really enjoyed last issue. It was great. Character focus, perfect dialogue, interesting developments and more. The reason I point this out is because this issue is totally different. It's not stop action from start to finish. But, it is still just as great as last issue.
I've had my doubts about JMS's plans for Spidey, firstly about his supposed mind-blowing revelation, which I found more to be a light breeze and then his new villain Morlun. Morlun has been portrayed as some power sucking, dead-pan, bad guy who is extremely strong (apparently more so than the Hulk) and gunning for Spidey. I've felt that JMS has been trying a bit too hard to convince us of Morlun's credentials and it wasn't really working. Well, my doubts about Morlun, like my other doubts, are finally fading thanks to JMS and Romita, Jr. delivering yet another great issue.
Morlun's build-up is backed up. He's a unique, not quite villain. He calmly tells Spidey he has no chance, he has to kill him and it's nothing personal (he even says he likes Spidey's humour), then he is basically silent for the reminder of the issue as he goes about achieving his stated goal and pounds Spidey into a pulp. It's sorta reminiscent of the Terminator. And it's great. Morlun is an interesting foe.
Well, what else is great, besides Morlun turning out not to be a dud? Well, as I said, this is a great all action issue. It has a great life or death feel. Spidey is really tested and on the run. He tries to crack jokes and keep going against Morlun, but he takes a beating you don't often see in a Spidey comic. I really felt for Spidey and was shocked (along with Spidey) when he takes off his costume and reveals how beaten he is.
I can't wind up without giving the art it's due. Romita, Jr. does an excellent job. He did great job last issue on making talking heads interesting visually interesting. But, this issue he has the chance to go all out action. And he pulls it off awesomely. Together Romita and JMS provided this issue some panels and sequences that sum it all up for me. Check out the final restaurant sequence. Especially the panel of Pete getting up from a punishing blow, putting on his Spidey mask and going back at it. It reminds me metaphorically of ASM vol.1 #33 (I wonder is that just coincedence). When Spidey, beaten and hopeless beneath a pile of rubble musters the will to push past his limits and free himself
Anyway, it's better than great, go buy it if you don't have it.
Five webs, easily. While I'm sure I could pick at something, I really just flat-out enjoyed this issue.