This takes place after the original Clone Saga of the 1970s.
|Cover Art:||Keith Pollard|
|Reprinted In:||Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1|
Our story begins with a meeting between the Masked Marauder, the Maggia and Carrion. Marauder wanted to know why they should hire him to eliminate Spider-Man and are told it's because Carrion hates him for the murdering insect that he is. Leave him alone to kill Spider-Man and he would bring them his head. They were unimpressed and told him he was a danger to them since he knew about some of their secrets. Some goons tried to take him outside but he surprised them with some red dust that he pulled from a pouch. Throwing it, the substance burned and choked them. One of them shot at him and the bullet passed through him harmlessly. He tossed the goon aside and went back to the Masked Marauder, asking if the answer was still "no." Marauder now considered him to unpredictable and dangerous, so he used a trap door under the creature. It didn't work, as Carrion merely floated above it before disappearing.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man was swinging past the Empire State Building and pondering his mess of a romantic life. He had just blown his marriage proposal to MJ and was dealing with Betty loving him, despite being married to Ned. She had loved Peter but blamed Spider-Man for her brother's death. "I mean, who am I? The webbed wonder or the honor student?" He knows there are new, up and coming young superheroes out there, so maybe one day he can retire but then what could he do with himself?
In the South Bronx, the White Tiger was observing a car theft by a street gang called the Savage Skulls. Most of them fled but he interrogated one of them. Turns out the car belonged to a drug dealer that was selling dope to his people. They had wanted to scare him. The dealer showed up and thanked Tiger, asking if he wanted a job. Tiger responded by punching him and telling him to not come back.
Later a heist was taking part at the Citicorp Center, led by Masked Marauder. The men were complaining about being second fiddle to the "birdroid" robot that he had created but he told them that the robot was a work of brilliance and they were expendable. Spider-Man noticed the thugs and the robo-bird and went at them. The robot turned out to be a flying bomb and blew up the doors of the vault. Spidey beat the goons and then went to check on the vault. He was stunned to the birdroid in one piece and then change into a human. The humanoid silently grabbed Spider-Man and then threw him into the wall. The robot ignored him and began collecting money, leaving Spidey to ask him who his boss was. The Marauder showed up and hit him with an "opti-blast," which hit Spider-Man's eyes and blinded him.
Not a bad read. The angst that Peter has in the beginning is classic Parker. Some things really don't change. This was Carrion's first appearance and he was suitably mysterious and creepy.
The rest of the issue was fine. Masked Marauder is a typical mad scientist crook, like many comic villains. White Tiger's segment was fine but not overly interesting. His constant switching back and forth between English and Spanish was kind of obnoxious. I don't know how often Hispanics use the words "senor" and "amigo" but he certainly says them a lot here.
It's a decent story and I appreciate the addition of a classic villain but over all it's nothing special.