Looks dangerous! The gang’s all here, Howard Mackie, John Romita, Jr., Al Williamson & Kevin Tinsley. Peter Parker is running across the rooftops of New York reminding us that when we left this period, he’d almost died, his powers are back but sporadically, the whole Onslaught thing happened, and he lost his staff job at The Daily Bugle. So, back to freelancing, he’s spying on a mob meeting.
What a gang. We got mainstays like Hammerhead, Tombstone, Silvermane and The Rose, plus The Slug (Last seen in these parts in Web Annual 04), Gavin Thorp (Briefly introduced back in Spider-Man 53 and even Caesar Cicero, first seen waaaay back in ASM 73 (And not yet seen on this blog at all). And at the head of the table is General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, first introduced in MTU 100 and then taken to various mutant titles, back in Spider-World to help these guys deal with the brazen encroachment on their territories by Don Fortunato, as seen in the previous ‘96 block. The bosses all agree, Fortunato dies tonight. The crime stuff definitely seemed to be Howard Mackie’s favorite, and nobody was better suited to draw it than Romita, Jr., so things were working out on this title. Meanwhile, Jimmy 6, Ben Reilly’s improbably former mob enforcer, semi-roommate, is hogging the bathroom when someone’s at the door. Jimmy hides in a close with a gun in case it’s trouble, but it’s Peter Parker.
Whoops! Fortunato himself meets with a mystery figure he’s apparently in league with, who says everything is on schedule, but he has his own business to attend to. Have fun, whoever you are. Always good when a character we can’t even identify is leading a conversation. Back at the apartment, in spite of the fact that Fortunato is the reason Jimmy is hiding out here, he says he has to go warn him, and won’t say why. After he leaves, Ben suits up to go help, and Peter goes to lamaze class with MJ. Peter being a supporting character in Spider-Man is so weird. At Fortunato’s compound, Jimmy 6 goes to meet him.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man sneaks into the estate juuust before the goons of the united mob bosses also being storming the place, so it’s about to get hot.
The next phase in Romita’s evolution is his Spider-Man going from big and bulky to extremely thin and lithe, and we’re seeing it start in this period. The goons burst into the room, led by Tombstone, who says if he knew Spider-Man was gonna be here, he’d have done it for free, and then the fighting begins. It’s Spider-Man and Jimmy 6 versus the combined might of the whole New York underworld! As they fend off the invaders, Spidey literally begs to know why Jimmy is helping Fortunato. I feel like it’s kinda obvious. He says if Jimmy will tell him, he’ll do anything, including…
It’s a mob story, of course it’s his dad. Spidey gets to mixing it up with Tombstone, who I thiiiink he’s never actually fought before? Which explains his surprise when Tomby stands up to tons of punishment without issue. Jimmy wants to shoot Tombstone while he’s distracted, but Fortunato tells him this is all going to plan and to come stand in a certain spot.
Nazis! I hate these guys. Things just got a lot more complicated. Come back next time to see how this shakes out, with a surprise guest star and everything.