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Opening with the conclusion of the Dr. Octopus vs. the Owl from the last volume these tales cover the start of the romantic liaison between Spider-Man and ex burglar Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat.
As always in these tales the background characters and issues are not ignored, Peter makes his choice between work and school, Harry & Liz Osborn are expectant parents and Flash Thompson and Sha Shan are having serious issues. Not forgetting JJJ at the Bugle who plays a great leading role in one of these stories.
From the Marvel vaults come a mellowed Gladiator, Boomerang, The Kingpin, The Cobra with former ally Mr Hyde, the Blob not forgetting Hobgoblin and The Answer. It also features cameos from The Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
The Punisher and Cloak and Dagger for their own reasons take on the Kingpin, who Spidey feels obliged to protect but later in this volume, in the last story, that understanding fails as Spider-Man takes on The Rose and a bionic Silvermane before tragedy hits the Kingpin.
It also features the trial of the Punisher, the new black symbiote Spider-Man costume, Spidey revealing his identity to one lover and finding out a former one has already guessed it, a dodgy politician, the Black Cat's search for a super power and two special issues one where J Jonah takes the lead and a guest artist issue with cartoonist Fred Hembeck drawing The Fly's return in a great odd-ball comic issue. There's also an insight into Aunt May's early years with Ben Parker.
This was a brilliant read from writers Bill Mantlo and Al Milgrom, mostly drawn by artist Jim Mooney, I was so engrossed that I polished it off in a couple of days.
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