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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Starting with the completion of the Dr. Octopus V Hammerhead cliffhanger from Essential Vol. 5 ending with Aunt May talked into becoming Ock's housekeeper. It kicks in proper with the Disruptor using a genetically modified 10' tall thug, the Smasher to further his political ends, the villain's identity comes as no surprise but the ending does and starts a new chain of deaths in Spidey's life.
A trip to Canada leads to a clash with the Hulk and the death of the lawyer who Peter Parker is seeking, and the weirdness of Aunt May's legacy. This is all but a taster for what is to come as Norman Osborn's memory returns and he once again becomes the schizophrenic Green Goblin and remembers Spider-Man's secret identity, this time with tragic results for Gwen Stacy who is flung to her death from the George Washington Bridge. That moment captured in the single sound effect 'SNAP' as Spidey thinks he has saved her. In the scene that inspired the Goblin's death in the first big Spider-Man movie the Goblin is impaled on his own jet-flyer. At the end we see Osborn's costume being taken away by someone to cover his identity, the second felon in this volume to have their deeds hidden and Spider-Man taking the fall.
Luke Cage, Marvel's latest hero is hired by JJJ to capture Spidey but after pummeling each other they come to an understanding. Then Jameson's astronaut son John turns into the Man-Wolf and even though Spider-Man seems to lift the curse..(?) JJJ still cannot find it in him to stop persecuting him. The Kangaroo makes a brief and again tragic, for him, appearance as he is modified by Dr. Jonas Harrow to steal some isotopes he needs, the Human Torch guest-stars. The superb Vulture returns, sort of, in a two part tale stalking Mary Jane who witnessed a murder, there is a nice twist to this tale.
A new villain appears, The Jackal, persuading another new Marvel character, The Punisher to track Spider-Man down and kill him, the Jackal meanwhile is busy framing The Punisher who catches on that he has been tricked later in the story. Spider-Man is now a suspect in the murders of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn so is an easy target for vigilantes. In a almost surreal tale Dock Ock seeks to marry Aunt May to get her inheritance but his arch-enemy Hammerhead intervenes and as the pair fight they spark an explosion, both seemingly dying at the end.
The Molten Man makes a memorable re-appearance before seemingly falling to his doom.
Then a couple of monster tales as first Morbius the Living Vampire turns John Jameson into the Man-Wolf again: and an ocean voyage is interrupted by Count Dracula as he and a group of felons seek the same doctor Parker is looking for to get a cure for Aunt May.
Back at sea, a day-trip is interrupted by a South American gangster The Tarantula and his two cohorts and The Punisher puts in a untimely appearance, once again getting the wrong end of the stick, not all heroes start off smart.....
Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung Fu, and Spidey are tricked into fighting each other before joining together to fight Fu Manchu, yes,that one!,the forerunner of Marvel's own evil orientals The Mandarin and The Yellow Claw.
The last tale is a real stormer as the manic Harry Osborn, who has been undergoing several changes during this time is revealed as the mystery figure who stole his father's, the Green Goblin's costume earlier. The double page spread as he appears is superb. Harry has discovered Peter Parker's secret identity which is only kept safe by the Goblin's defeat and Harry's descent into madness.
The scripts, largely by Gerry Conway are superb with both a brilliant series of inter-connected tales with great set-piece fights and a darker edge to the stories combined with the use of many supporting characters to further future story developments. There are even a few nods towards DC comics star creations thrown in. The artwork by John Romita, Gil Kane and latterly Ross Andru is once again superb even in black and white.
There's even the Spider-mobile, Ok so forget that one.....
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