|Cover Art:||Sal Buscema|
The story starts in the sewer, with a huge green blob absorbing everything in it's path. It was looking for direction and purpose.
Elsewhere in the sewer, Mac Gargan was enjoying being free of being the Scorpion. His costume was kept on a separate chair as he thought about he had become it's slave from the moment he put it on. No one was going to jerk him around anymore.
At the Bugle, Jameson was gloating about a photo of Spider-Man attacking a helpless middle aged citizen. He explained to a man named Cussler that this finally proved that Spider-Man was a menace, just as he had always told everyone. Cussler was more skeptical and Jameson brushed off his concern. Cussler's father was in the hospital and Jameson said he was going to send him some flowers. Remembering that Nick Katzenberg was also in the hospital, Jameson asked Glory Grant to also send him flowers. She told him that Nick had died the previous night. JJ was stunned.
Spider-Man was swinging over the city, frustrated by his moment in life. He had barely slept in three days and couldn't remember when he last ate. He was aware that he had other things to take care of besides being Spider-Man, like May's stroke and his difficulties with his wife. He still wanted to find Scorpion, reveal his connection to Cussler and prove Jameson wrong. Below him, he saw two crooks trying to break into a car. He stopped and told them that he was in a really bad mood and was going to make this hurt. They immediately surrendered and promised they'd call 911 themselves. He was surprised and disappointed.
Meanwhile in a hospital, Cussler spoke with a man in a coma, who turns out to be his father. (It's the same man that Spider-Man had seemingly attacked.) The older Cussler had always been his son's hero but he had never told him. He loved his father and walked away. Naturally his father woke up after he left.
In her lab, Marla Jameson was busy working. Jonah came to talk to her and she tried to brush him off, tired of his hurtful comments. He told her that Katzenberg had died of cancer and he had meant to see him but hadn't done it. He wanted her to know that she was the most important thing in the world to him and he didn't want time to run out between them.
At the Forest Hills hospital, Ben Reilly had arrived to see his aunt but he still hadn't revealed to Peter that he was back in New York. They arrived at the hospital at the same time and Ben turned away before Peter could see him. Peter was eager to see May, to remind himself of who he was and calm his anger.
In the older Cussler's hospital room, Gargan was thanking him for his help in turning his life around. He felt like he could live his life again. He was just afraid that his luck wouldn't last. Cussler told him that he didn't need to thank him, his happiness was due to his own work. Cussler told him that he could keep the hideaway and Cussler would continue to finance him in anyway he needed. Gargan was deeply appreciative.
May was comatose in her hospital bed and Peter told her how much he missed her strength. She had been so strong after Ben died and seeing her so weak was shocking to him. As he thought about how much he needed her advice, his spider sense went off and he saw Gargan walking past the room. He started to go after him when he was stopped by Jonah, who said he was glad that Peter was visiting his aunt. Peter knew Jonah was right and that he had been neglecting MJ and May but Gargan was getting away. He made an excuse to Jonah and left.
He followed Gargan outside, saw him enter into the sewers and was happy to have someone to fight. Spider-Man tried to provoke Gargan to put up a fight and confess to a robbery that he blamed on Gargan and Cussler. Gargan refused to fight him and Spidey responded by pummeling him. He only stopped when the green slime from before grabbed his arm. Gargan fled the scene and Spider-Man couldn't remove himself from the slime. The slime showed him empathy and how his anger had made him lose control of himself. It was only after the slime went away that Spider-Man understood what Gargan meant when he said that he was tired of being the Scorpion.
At the Bugle, Robbie Robertson was telling Jonah about a story run by the Globe. Philip Cussler Jr. confessed that his father had been involved in the robbery and he wanted to confess for him. Robbie said that the confession made the Bugle look bad as they had run a very different story. Jonah told him to take care of it, he trusted his judgement. He was going to go have dinner with his wife. Robbie was happily stunned.
In May's hospital room, Peter was confessing to her hw much he missed her confidence and advice. A nurse entered the room and was stunned by something she saw outside the window. Peter looked and saw Spider-Man swing past. He tried to leave before Spider-Man arrived and fled toward the roof. He ran into Spider-Man there and they instantly recognized each other. "Peter" was the long lost clone, Ben Reilly.
I'm at a disadvantage, since I don't have part one of the story. I'm not sure who the Cusslers are or how they are connected to the Scorpion, other than the old man is his benefactor. I have no idea what the deal is with the green slime. It's just a convenient plot device, I'm guessing. A very strange one.
I normally like issues that deal with soul searching and are character driven but this felt heavy handed. Every character in the story was in the same situation, with being obsessed with things that don't matter. In the end, nothing changed. Peter still obsesses over being Spider-Man (which he kind of has to, otherwise we're out of a hobby) and Jonah still puts the Daily Bugle ahead of everything else.
The issue does deserve recognition for officially starting the clone saga when Peter and Ben finally came face to face.
Not great, not terrible but it did get one of the most important Spidey stories ever rolling.