It’s another issue from the flea market. You can tell by the distinctive price tag. Len Wein, Gil Kane & Frank Giacoia on deck as we find Peter Parker back in New York, still very sad, understandably. His sadness has taken him walking to a wharf at night, blaming himself for Gwen’s death, where a ludicrous drunken Irish stereotype breaks his reverie:
No, sir, I do not remember him from MTU 2, not having read it, but this does not seem like a guy who’d become a recurring character. Nathaniel waxes poetic about facing hurt, but Peter’s not in the mood, and webs off outta there while his new friend isn’t looking. Which is about to be real bad news for Nathaniel, as some sort of meteor suddenly plunges into the water near him, and a figure emerges from it.
It’s The Gray Gargoyle, whose deal is he turns anyone he touches to stone, so that’s it for beloved recurring character Nathaniel The Drunk. Elsewhere, Peter Parker is suiting up as Spider-Man and just, like, yelling at bugs…
He heads out looking for trouble, and quickly finds it, in the form of several AIM goons fleeing from someone. AIM (Advanced! Idea! Mechanics!) is a gang of science villains, your general death ray types. Spidey webs up the fleeing beekeepers and then heads back the way they came to find out what’s going on. The unconscious goons really pile up outside a certain window, and Spidey thinks he’s going where the action is as he leaps inside…
Between the two of them, Spidey and Cap make quick work of the remaining goons. When the fight’s over, Cap radios for a SHIELD team to come retrieve them. Note Spider-Man’s callous attitude:
Hey! Where’d they go? They’ve been teleported aboard the SHIELD helicarrier. Is this Spider-Man’s first time here? I’m not sure. Certainly the oldest time here I’ve read yet. It doesn’t take him long before a random SHIELD agent tries to arrest him for his murder rap(s). Spidey’s not into that, webbing the guy up and leaping up to the ceiling, getting ready to rock, but Nick Fury shows up and ends things before they get started.
Wein’s Nick Fury sounds rather more like a cowboy than usual. It turns out, there were 3 of these fancy machines, and AIM was after all of them. While Cap and SHIELD were protecting 2 of them, a 3rd was taken. It’s being brought to Queens, so Fury wants Cap & Spidey to go get it back. Spider-Man is not interested, but Fury begins to talk him into it as we cut away to the AIM facility in Queens, where we learn that The Gray Gargoyle is hanging out, too. GG helpfully flashes back to his last defeat in Captain America 142, where he was shot into space in a rocket he was tricked into turning to stone (Would… would that even fly?). But he’s a super genius in addition to a rock man, so he was able to rewire the communication systems and contact AIM to help him get down to Earth… by shooting his stone rocket with a death ray and making it fall back into orbit. That’s one way to do it, I guess. Now they’re going to use the fancy thingie they stole to “rule those jealous skies” (Poetic!). Except, you know, this comic isn’t called “The Adventures of Gray Gargoyle,” so…
You’d think two marquee heroes would be enough to beat one rather goofy villain, but you’d be wrong!
Uh-oh! The Gray Gargoyle launches into a real A+ supervillain speech, but when he’s wrapping up, our heroes just… hop down.
Wut? I have so many questions. Boy, those heroes are lucky they got weird stuff in their blood, huh? And what was Gargoyle’s plan? That rocket seems to just be taking him “into space”… you know, again… but surely just tossing a rocket at the void wasn’t the original plan. Man, I’m lost on this one. Come back next time as we rejoin the main plot in ASM.