Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #218

 Posted: 20 Jul 2022
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)

Background

Peter is dealing with the betrayal of Harry Osborn and the declining health of his aunt. His anger is making his violent and he's lashing out at everyone he can.

Story 'When Monsters Roam!'

Thomas Fireheart has changed back into Puma and the animal aspect of his soul has completely taken over. His human aspect has been subverted and he's acting like a rabid animal. Peter was still in a fury after Harry's betrayal and was more than happy to have someone to fight. They ended their fight after remembering that Angela Cairn, aka Nocturne, was unconscious nearby after being hit by Puma. Remembering that he had hurt someone that had tried to help him, Puma fled in shame. Spider-Man wanted to pursue him but reluctantly made himself take Nocturne to a doctor.

He wasn't sure what to do with a woman that had an eleven foot wing span. He couldn't take her to just any ER but didn't know the extent of her injuries. Taking her to Ravencroft might take too long. He needed to take her to someplace warm and dry, and decided on her apartment.

Meanwhile, a group of men were harassing a lone woman on the street when they were chased off by Puma. Their fear woke his instinct to hunt and he nearly turned his violence on the cowering woman but he had already injured one innocent woman that night.

At Nocturne's apartment, Spider-Man saw that a new couple had moved in. He couldn't deny that life goes on and that the world wouldn't stop for them even if they had decided to fill their lives with bitterness.

At the hospital, Anna Watson was visiting May, who was still in a coma. Anna was thanking her for her help and compassion over the years. She had been like a sister that she'd never had. She'd been strong for Anna and doubly strong for Peter after his parents died and then after Ben's murder. She told May that she didn't have to fight anymore and she had done enough.

Nocturne woke up on her rooftop, sheltered from the rain by Spider-Man's webbing. Her immediate concern was for Puma, much to Spider-Man's disgust. He had badly injured her and she was still concerned for him. She used her empathy powers to show him how she cared for Puma's well being. She believed that he deserved a second chance.

In Pittsburgh, Mary Jane was talking with her sister, Gayle. She had come to visit her sister, nephew and father to attempt to rebuild their relationships. MJ apologized for being selfish when she left her family when her sister needed help the most. Gayle said she had been selfish too for expecting her sister to want to stay and help raise her son. (Her husband had left her and their mother died shortly afterward.) Gayle said that she should have realized that MJ wanted to have a life of her own.

Spider-Man and Nocturne arrived at a warehouse that had served as Puma's home, and Puma attacked him immediately. Nocturne tried to calm his mind with her calming power but he ignored it. In fact, he felt betrayed that she had led Spider-Man to his hideout.

In Pittsburgh, Gayle was telling her sister that both MJ and their father were stubborn and refused to compromise. MJ said that she hoped that they had all matured over the years and they were interrupted by Kevin, her nephew. He'd had a nightmare and they both comforted him.

In desperation, Nocturne got between Puma and Spider-Man, touching both of their foreheads. She became an emotional conduit between them, letting them feel the pain of the other. Spider-Man gained understanding of Puma's situation and Puma changed back to Thomas Fireheart. Fireheart walked away, sobered by the experience. Despite his better understanding of Thomas Fireheart, Spider-Man still wanted to arrest him. Nocturne stopped him, wanting Fireheart to have a second chance.

Spider-Man offered to take Nocturne to Dr. Kafka to give her a second chance as Angela Cairn but she refused. In frustration, he asked her why she wouldn't even try. She flew away asking him the same thing.

General Comments

The previous issues had been dealing with Peter's anger and sense of unfairness toward his life. By this point, the "I am the Spider" theme had been going on for a while and it was time to move on. This issue had him begin the process of moving on and forgiving the people around him. It's necessary but feels kind of lost in the story. The insight to see things from the other person's point of view comes in at the end of the issue.

This was part two of "Back From the Edge," which was a four part story. There are two more issues for him to more fully develop his newfound empathy.

The parts with MJ and her sister was a little obnoxious, as the panels were printed sideways and I had to hold the book accordingly. I'm not sure why they did that. It seems like bad plotting. Their conversation seemed a little too friendly, I would have expected more tension. Apparently hugging Kevin together was all they needed to make everything ok.

Overall Rating

This was a pretty thin story. It was pretty much Spider-Man being angry, which he'd been for a while. But like I said, this was part two of four so you have to look at it in the big picture.

 Posted: 20 Jul 2022
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)