The long overdue fifth part of a 6 issue series retelling some tales of Spider-Man's past. Written by Jeph Loeb with art by Tim Sale. The previous issue ended (a long time ago) with Spider-Man lying in the snow, on a rooftop, not moving....
"Jeez, Peter, you look like hell." That's how Harry greets his new roommate when opening the door. Lying out on a rooftop, during a snowstorm isn't exactly healthy. So when Harry shows Peter his new room, he immediately crashes on the bed and falls asleep. The voice over continues the story. It's the voice of Peter, telling this tale into a taperecorder, to Gwen.
Outside, a shadowy figure checks out the imprint in the snow made by Spider-Man when he fell down after his fight with Blackie Drago. Blackie was wearing the Vulture costume at the time. In prison, the real Vulture is in sick bay. The shadowy figure tells him that Blackie has poisoned him, in order to obtain his wings. Using a dart, he then gives the old man an antidote.
Mary Jane Watson visits Harry and Peter's place. She has some chicken soup for the sick Peter. When she starts to feed him, Gwen arrives. She wants to read some "Huck Finn" to Peter. Outside, the Vulture is seen with a money bag. Peter tells the girls he should be getting some rest. They leave, angry.
While Peter gets dressed in his Spider-Man suit, two Vultures are fighting outside. A little later, he joins them. The money bag falls, right in front of Flash Thompson on the floor. A piece of a gargoyle follows the bag. As Flash sees the falling piece, Spider-Man swings down and saves him.
On a nearby rooftop, Flash thanks Spidey for saving his life. Spider-Man is a hero, despite what the Daily Bugle says. Spider-Man then asks Flash to return the money as he swings off. Flash starts thinking, what has his done with his life?
Back to the fight between the two Vultures. Spidey jumps on the back of the original Vulture, rips off his flight pack and steers into the other Vulture. They all crash, leaving both Vultures unconscious.
Later, when Peter has had his rest (yeah, right) we see Harry, Gwen, Mary Jane and Flash having a drink. Flash has some good news. He has joined the army.
And as the voice over ends this part of the tale, the shadowy figure picks up a ripped off piece of Spider-Man suit. He sniffs and then start to runs across the rooftops. The final panel shows him looking at the Peter, Harry, Gwen and Mary Jane, congratulating Flash.
The story is told as a flashback. The recovering of the fall is from Amazing Spider-Man (volume 1), issue 49. Although in this issue, it's is not actually shown. The fight between the two Vultures is from issues 63 and 64. Flash joining the army originates from issue 43.
This time, there are even more changes to the original story. Aunt May and Anna Watson are nowhere to be seen, in stead we get MJ and Gwen trying to babysit Peter. The two vultures don't fight until much later and here Flash joins the army out of free will in stead of being drafted. Hmmm, this is something I am not particulary fond of.
Also, this story has less voice over to it than the previous installments. The characters actually do more, which makes words unnecessary. Are they building towards a big action finale? The scene with Peter being sick, and MJ and Gwen trying to babysit is great. If this wasn't a Marvel comic, I bet those two girls would have started a fight.
On the final page, Peter talks about a decision he had to make. When you look at the original stories, we're up to issue 49. Bet you can guess what he was talking about. Right? Oh, and of course I'm still waiting for that shadowy figure to be revealed. My money is still on Kraven. Anyone with me?
We had to wait 4 months for this issue to hit the stands. Was it worth the wait? Well yeah, the art is superb and the storytelling is great too. But again, a lot of changes to the original story. Call me a purist, I probably am, but there simply are too much changes. So, I was going to give this story just 3 webs because of that. But I finally settled for 3.5 webs. Why? The art on the page when Spidey picks up Flash is worth bonus points. Ah, now I made you curious, right? Go buy the book!