Now here’s an awfully weird cover composition. There’s so much going on and yet it still feels empty. Funny how it’s selling the idea that Peter must choose between these 2 women when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Don’t let the slick cover inks by John Beatty fool you, inside, the rotating door of inkers has summoned Dave Simons. Simons was a great inker for Gene Colan, among others, but he is a terrible fit for Romita, Jr., as we’re gonna see immediately. Let’s just pick up right where we left off last time…
I mean, look at this. I can’t fault Simons too terribly much, having seen just how loose Romita’s pencils could be in this era working on The Try-Out Book (That thing’s really influenced my reviews here, huh?), but even so, this is about as bad as it gets. And doubly unfortunate for this rather important reunion. It’s not as obvious since this blog jumps all over the place, but Marvelous Mary Jane hasn’t been a member of the cast for a shocking four years at this point, since Wolfman wrote her out in ASM 193. That’s really crazy when you think of how she was in basically every issue for so long before and after that exile. But, hey, she’s back, at least for the moment, and I like how Stern plays that wacky moment. Lesser writers would’ve had MJ get jealous or catty, but she’s clearly just amused by the whole thing, and she & Peter are immediately back in a comfortable rhythm. It’s a good approach. Peter describing them as “sorta engaged” before she left is something I really like, too. I could be reading too much into it, but that is so obviously not true, and yet it’s what he wanted to happen, and in the interim, it’s what he decided happened. People do that all the time. Like I said, I could be making that up, but it feels real, in a way. At any rate, all his company gone, our hero swings over to ESU, where he asks his old pal Curt Connors to analyse the piece of the Awesome Android he kept last issue. Curt can’t tell him too much he doesn’t already know, though. And then Dr. Sloan shows up with an armload of freshly graded finals, shocked and disturbed to see Spider-Man. While Curt explains that they’re old friends, Spidey sneaks a look and sees he got an “A” on his final. Talk about good under pressure!
Sometimes, Spider-Man is essentially Bugs Bunny.
Anytime I see stuff like this, I just think about how things wound up for Lance & Amy. They were robbed. Spider-Man continues capering through the city on Cloud 9 before relaxing on a rooftop, thinking about next term. And how much harder it will be. And how that could really be difficult to manage with his Spider-Man side gig. Then he hears a news item through an open window about a hostage situation at Our Lady of Grace Chapel, and he’s off. As the cops try to negotiate with the leader, Spider-Man sneaks in and begins knocking out all the terrorists. Their leader says they’re prepared to sacrifice themselves…
Spidey knocks out the leader and everybody cheers, like in a fake story on the internet, and he even got photos of this whole thing. He drops his photos off at The Bugle and then heads over to see Felicia in the hospital. For someone who was shot, like, a dozen times, she’s doing pretty great.
And just like that, MJ is in his head again. Roger Stern is one of the Spider-Marriage’s most staunch critics, and here he is, accidentally laying the earliest groundwork for it. As we’ve seen, they’re on their way to a close friendship that quite naturally becomes something more, and it all starts right here. Whoops! Anyway, Peter’s worries about money and the future only mount as he swings around, trying to figure out what to do. And then we jump to early the next morning at ESU, where Roger Hochberg comes into the science lab to find his partner Peter Parker clearing out his things.
Peter looks crazy in that first panel!
And that’s that. We’ve already seen the most significant fallout from this decision, when Aunt May was so upset about it, but here’s where it occurred. But, then, we’ve also already seen Pete go back to school even further in the future, so we can’t fret too much. Doing these things out of order has its disadvantages.