Max Markham (The Grizzly) is in a bar getting ribbed by his fellow drinkers asking him to tell them about how he went up against Spider-Man (he first appeared in Amazing 139). They agitate him so much that he says he's going to go back for a rematch.
Spider-Man meets Puma on a rooftop and asks why he (as Thomas Fireheart) has bought the Bugle. Puma says he did it for Spidey as he owes him a debt of gratitude (see Web 50).
Max has taken his old Grizzly costume to the Terrible Tinkerer and paid him to fix it up for him. Back at their apartment, MJ has visitors – her aunt and uncle – Kristy's parents, who have flown in from Paris. MJ and they go to see Kristy in the hospital, while Pete has been given a message to meet Joy Mercado at the Bugle.
As Pete rushes to meet Joy, she pulls him into a cab – Robbie Robertson is alive and wanting to hand himself in to the cops. They are going to catch a train out to Philadelphia. The Grizzly is nearby and is looking for Pete because of his photographic links to Spidey.
On the train, with Joe's family and Joy, the Grizzly is on the roof and tells Pete to get him a rematch with Spidey. Pete starts laughing as he remembers how easily he (Spidey) defeated him before. The Grizzly gets mad and rips open the roof.
Interlude: in the hospital, MJ's uncle is annoyed at Kristy and, when MJ intervenes, he disowns his daughter. MJ says she'll look after Kristy.
After a quick switcheroo to Spidey and a bit of a ruck, Spider-Man realises Grizzly just wants some self-respect and lets him beat him. Grizzly runs off happy.
Epilogue: Joe surrenders to the authorities in Phili after a reunion with his family, then, back in NYC, Max is finally getting respect from his drinking peers.
In the positives column, the Alex Saviuk and Keith Williams partnership is really coming together in the art department. The page with Spidey and Puma together really show their talent – Puma has never looked better and Spidey is looking a lot more like McFarlane's version in Amazing.
On the other hand, this book is nothing more than a prequel to whatever's going to happen in Spectacular – relegating it firmly to the 'third' title. Not only that but the plotting really leaves a lot to be desired.
Surely people would notice Pete disappearing at the same time as Spidey turning up on the train? Why would Spidey even be on a train going to Phili? How did the Grizzly get, unnoticed, on to the top of the train when it set off? How did it he even get to the train station in time when he was on the street and Pete and Joy were racing off in a cab? Wouldn't the train stop if an 8-foot ape-like creature was ripping the roof off?
It's all total nonsense. I like Conway's stories in general but, every now and then, he slips into an 'end-justifying-the-means'-type scenario where, as long as he gets his key characters in to a certain place by the end of the book, he doesn't seem too bothered about how he gets them there. This firmly falls into that category and really isn't that good.
In the end, the overall plot is still on track but getting there was just baffling.