It is now 1978, and new writer Marv Wolfman is here to more or less continue the same general feel and tone Len Wein started. Stalwart Ross Andru hangs on as the penciler for now with his pal Mike Esposito on inks. And they brought The Rocket Racer with them. Rocket Racer is a goofy character, a man on a rocket powered skateboard, who is somehow a threat to Spider-Man. This issue opens with Spidey just happening upon Rocket Racer zipping by on the side of a building on page one, and thus begins a 4-page fight/chase scene.
So how do “magnetic clamps” work with moving wheels? Shouldn’t he say his wheels themselves are powerful magnets or something? What if he’s on a brick building? That arch doesn’t look especially metallic. How powerful is the magnet? This is not a great character. RR eventually loses Spider-Man in the subway, and our hero is forced to catch a ride home.
Rocket Racer was delivering a suitcase to the improbably named Jackson Weele. RR is blackmailing him for $10000. Weele says he’ll get his money once he’s shredded all the documents.
Back at his place, Peter Parker is feeling restless. He’s been ruminating on how Harry Osborn & Flash Thompson’s relationships are going well, and how maybe he should settle down. He’s lost in thought and almost forgets to go visit Aunt May. As he leaves his place, a mysterious figure walks up to his landlady to ask if he’s home. Aunt May’s in the hospital, like she is for most of the 70s (Which sounds like a dig, but… it’s pretty real), so Peter is going to visit.
More domestic talk allofasudden. MJ has matured a little more, I’d say. The party girl of Stan Lee probably wouldn’t be in a hospital for anyone but Aunt Anna. Maybe not even her. Now she’s giving Peter the business for not being more attentive. Good for you, MJ. Pete & MJ get kicked out by a nurse who says Aunt May’s roommate needs her rest. Suddenly, Peter’s Spider Sense goes off, because unbeknownst to him, Rocket Racer just walked by in his civilian identity. Why’s he at the hospital? We’ll probably find out later. MJ & Pete go their separate ways, and then we advance to Jackson Weele trying to jump in the river and kill himself because of this blackmail stuff when Rocket Racer stops him.
3 hours? Tinkerer? Questions marks? Goodness, RR sure is saying “Big Wheel” a lot. I’m sure it’s nothing. Soon, two cops we’ll never see again who seem to be in a weird quasi-romantic relationship get this call on the radio:
Jesus Christ, Marv. Anyway, the cops sort of flirt with each other while heading to the scene, Rocket Racer totally outmaneuvers them, and then Spider-Man gets involved.
RR manages to outwit Spider-Man for a second time this issue (Come on, seriously?), and Spider-Man doesn’t even care. He says he’s got the toughest confrontation of his career ahead of him. What could that mean? Well…
Uh-oh! Seems like this can’t end well. And if this issue’s Spidey story seemed silly, well, just you wait until next time…