Peter is back in NY after travelling to California to try and repair his relationship with MJ. His attempt failed by the way....
Pete's back home in his apartment taking a slightly depressive inventory of the recent happenings in his life. He has trouble getting to spleep, but when he finally does get to sleep, he has a visitor in the form of Doctor Strange. The Doctor warns Pete that because of his recent travels to the Astral Plane (that's issue 42) something that is his natural enemy followed him back and will undoubtedly give him some trouble. Doctor Strange then leaves giving Pete the name and page number of a book on his shelf to prove the dream is vaild. Pete awakes, picks up a biology book, turns to the page and finds its a description of the Spider Wasp (groan). He's a bit freaked.
Across town in an alley there's a mystical occurence. Some creature appears out of some dark portal and kills a homeless guy. Meanwhile, Pete has donned his Spidey costume, deciding to be proactive and track down this new threat. He runs into Shathra, the creature out of the portal who is revealed to look like a cross between a Spider Wasp and a human. They fight, she threatens, Spidey doesn't fare so well and then Spidey escapes to return home and go off to work at school. While in the background Shathra watches.
The issue ends out with Shathra donning the human guise of 'Sharon' and visiting the Daily Bugle. She confesses to a reporter there that she knows Spider-Man, and I quote "We were lovers. He has many strange sexual habits. Would you like me to tell you all about it for your newspaper?"
This is the first issue of a Spider-Man comic in a long while that has really made me groan. Probably the first since Howard Mackie left, though Zimmer's doing a good job in Get Kraven, but since it doesn't really include spidey that doesn't count.... Anyway, a Spider Wasp? C'mon! I had doubts with the whole mystical thing before and with Morlun, but it turned out pretty good in the end. But, a this set up and the new villain just seem extremely lame. When the villain was intoduced I did feel a sickening sense of dread in my stomach, but not because the villain was so mind numbingly scary. No it was because the villain seems so mind numblingly lame and uninventive!
It's not just the origin or the whole Spider Wasp thing. The design is just so bland. Shathra is just some sort of totally black bug. She's drawn in a really bland way. Her powers seem to consist of flight, strength and some wrist spikes. Which is pretty standard.
It's not just the villain either. This seems to be too similar to JMS first storyline on Amazing Spider-Man. Can it be that JMS's golden run is about to be tarnished? I hope not.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though and this issue isn't all bad. Pete's characterisation is spot on. And Shathra turning up at the Daily Bugle holds some interesting potential. But, overall I was pretty dissapointed.
I think this is the lowest rating I've given a JMS penned comic and I'm only given it 3 becuase he's proved me wrong before.