While Peter Parker tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, a sinister body-switching villain known as The Thousand wants to end it for good. But why?
|Cover Art:||John McCrea|
|Reprinted In:||Spider-Man TPB (Tangled Web) #1|
Peter Parker is trying to fit in. He really is. But his evening at the fashion awards is turning into a nightmare. He can't fit into the crowd at all and Skye, his date, can't understand why he doesn't like her friends. Soon, one ill-timed question lands him out in the rain, taking a long walk home by himself.
Before he makes it halfway home, he stumbles across Jess Patton, an employee at the Daily Bugle who--unbeknownst to our hero--died a horrible death last issue. In tears, she tells Peter that her boyfriend kicked her out and begs him for a place to stay. Peter, naturally, invites her home with him. They arrive at his apartment and Peter asks if she wants to change into some dry clothes. Miss Patton asks if he wants to change into Spider-Man first. Stunned, Peter turns to find Miss Patton staring at him, her head swiveled 180 degrees.
What was Miss Patton and now is The Thousand springs into action. Peter's punch to the face does little but crumple her skin before The Thousand throws him out the window. Quickly ditching his street clothes, Spider-Man climbs to the roof in time to snag The Thousand as it lunges off a building. It takes the opportunity to bite Peter in the neck. The two crash to the pavement below.
Spider-Man later wakes up in a chair to find The Thousand standing over him, Jess Patton's body broken and twisted from the abuse it's taken. It reveals its identity as King Carl, one of Peter's cruelest tormentors during his formative years. Moreover, Carl saw Peter get bitten by the radioactive spider and saw what he did with that power. "I wanted what you had for myself, Parker. The things I could do with it... with power like that... but what I got was DIFFERENT."
Before Peter's horrified eyes, what remains of Miss Patton's body begins to bulge and tear. It begins to disgorge spiders, hundreds of them in various sizes. Huge legs crawl out of the mouth.
"Something better, Parker. Something worse. Something that could live INSIDE, that could liquefy the innards of a man and walk the earth within his hollow shell... something that could watch. And wait. And fester. See? See now? I AM THE THOUSAND."
The spiders leave the shattered remains of Jess Patton and converge on their new victim, crawling over Spider-Man. The biggest one sticks its forelegs into Peter's mouth.
This story is quickly growing on me after a slow start. While the plot device of having the villain be one of Peter's schoolyard bullies is weak, the script and overall creepiness factor are making up for it. The last few pages were great, and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck standing up as those spiders ripped their way out of their old host and converged on their new one. Spider-Man is in SERIOUS trouble here. But then he's used to that.
I'm also revising my opinion of the art. It's still cartoony in places, but McCrea and Hodgkins do well at drawing the darker stuff, too. Jess Patton's twisted, mangled body was one of the most unsettling images I've seen in a comic book in quite awhile. Very impressive. Plus, their style fit the opening scene very nicely, as the caricatured bodies attending the fashion awards were laugh-out-loud funny.
Bottom line: I didn't care all that much about this story arc after the first issue. After reading the second issue, part three can't come fast enough.
Three and a half webs for part two. These guys are pretty good after all.