Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #219

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



Story 'Two of a Kind'

Spider-Man was suffering from a viral infection caused by scratches from vultures, sent by the Owl. He was delirious and hallucinating but was being aided by Daredevil, who wanted to take him to a hospital. Spidey pointed out the Owl behind him, who was watching the two of them. Daredevil went after him to learn what kind of virus he had used on Spider-Man but his billy club was caught by the Vulture. Vulture told them that he had been the one to send the bids after Spider-Man, not the Owl. Meanwhile, the vultures dived toward Daredevil but were webbed by a very weak Spider-Man. The Owl tried to flee and Spidey hit him with a tracer.

In Pittsburgh, MJ knocked on her estranged father's motel door. He answered and they awkwardly greeted each other.

At an abandoned mansion, Owl scolded the Vulture for calling him by his real name. He was also having an identity crisis, and told Vulture that Leland Owlsley was dead. Vulture was skeptical, and reminded him that he had offered him a chance to erase his past and begin anew but he had been horrified by the idea. In good faith, Vulture had already infected a business rival of Owlsley with the virus. Vulture tossed him the antidote. He would find out how dedicated Owl was to erasing his past by if he saved Paul Greyson's life. Owl fled with the antidote.

At Peter's apartment, he was examining the vial of the virus that he had been infected with. Daredevil was with him and was surprised at how cavalier Peter was about bringing someone to his home without his mask. Peter said he had more pressing matters and told him that the virus was as dangerous as they feared. They needed to find the Owl and the antidote quickly.

Elsewhere, the Owl watched Paul Greyson from a distance as he became sick. He pondered their past relationship. They were business rivals, but not personal enemies. He admired Greyson to an extent and had never wanted him dead. Greyson collapsed in the street with blood coming out of his mouth and Owl left. By doing nothing, he had made up his mind.

In Pittsburgh, MJ was discussing her dad's writing career. He wrote pieces for weekly newspapers but had given up on writing a novel. He had given up on that years ago but kept his old typewriter. She saw that he had a photo of her mother on his desk and was enraged. She said he had no right to have that picture after the way he had treated her. He knew how he had treated her and was ashamed of himself. He wished every day that he could change the past but all he had was a lifetime of regret. She told him that she knew how he felt, as she had done the same thing to Gayle.

Swinging over Brooklyn, Daredevil asked Spider-Man how he was doing. He replied that he was picking up the tracer's signal just fine but Daredevil hadn't been asking about the signal. Spider-Man said he was fine but Daredevil could sense that his heart was still racing but knew he wouldn't stop until he found Vulture and Owl. At that moment, the tracer that had been placed on Owl was accidentally destroyed and Spidey lost their location. Daredevil told him he'd take over, and used his own senses to find their enemies.

Mary Jane was about to leave her father's motel room but turned around and said she wanted to stay in touch with him and wanted to make this a beginning, not an ending. He liked that and she left happy.

Daredevil and Spider-Man found Owl and Vulture's hideout. Daredevil took on humans while Spider-Man captured the vultures whose claws were treated with the virus. Daredevil defeated the Vulture while the Owl fled with two of the vultures. Spider-Man went after them and captured one of the birds. In a surprise move, the Owl killed that last vulture that had escaped before tossing Spider-Man the virus antidote. He let the Owl go, knowing that he wouldn't last long against him in his condition anyway. He drank from the vial and Daredevil could sense his heart beat slowing. Daredevil had called the police to take away the Vulture and his birds and advised Spider-Man not to give up on his life. He said to find things that are important to him and build his life around them.

As Mary Jane felt relieved to have made peace with her sister and father, Peter looked back on his life. Being so close to death made him realize how much his life meant to him. He had analyzed the "antidote" that the Owl had tossed to him before escaping: it was tap water. He was still dying.

General Comments

There's really nothing wrong with this story but the problem is that it's basically a repeat of several previous issues. "Mac" Gargan had been eager to put his life as the Scorpion behind him, and the Puma wanted to leave his life as Thomas Fireheart. This time it's the Owl and Vulture that want to "kill" their true identities.

Mary Jane making peace with her father is fine but it's tacked on. One moment they're arguing and the next they want to stay in touch. (They don't, by the way.) It's a very sudden conclusion that was done because it was needed to be done, not because it made sense.

Overall Rating

This would have made more sense if Owl and Vulture had been the villains for "Back From the Edge," instead of sharing the story with Puma and Nocturne. Daredevil acted as Spidey's conscience at the end of the story, so he could have taken Nocturne's place in the beginning. I can see how the fear of his death by the virus shocked Spider-Man into focus but again, it's tacked on. The whole story could have been more focused.

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