That Mike Nasser cover feels so different. Guys like him were doing stuff that seems much more contemporary now. Inside, Pablo Marcoss waps in on inks, but otherwise, same team. Spider-Man is in in deadly combat with Swarm, and it’s not going well!
Are spiders and bees natural enemies? I don’t feel like looking it up. Seems fishy (Especially coming from Bill Mantlo). Spidey gets stung by a whole lot more bees and is eventually knocked unconscious and falls into vat of stuff, which turns out to be Super Insect Repellent, and that’s what saves his life. Lucky him!
Wow, it’s the two dumbest police officers in the history of fiction! And look, it’s that creepy dude from last issue having a good time in the background. Swarm wanders off to do Swarm things (Find a place for his queen to “mutate,” as mentioned last issue). Spidey barely avoids Dr. Sloan, Steve & Phil as they come in to see the damage now that Swarm and Spider-Man are gone. Dr. Sloan doesn’t have a mustache and it’s weird. Peter meanwhile enters his lab and manages to switch into his civilian identity just in time to fall through a door and be found by those guys and pass out again.
That giant bee hive is RIDICULOUS. Oh man, oh man, are we doing this? Marcy Kane was working on a “super bug repellent,” which is what Spidey fell into earlier that saved his life, and she and the boys get to work on a new batch. as the bee situation only gets worse outside.
Hey, where’d his costume come from if he’s not wearing it under that shirt? He also douses his web fluid with the stuff, saying it’s lucky the 2 are chemically compatible. Sure is! Seems CRAZY lucky to me! So armed, Spidey heads out. And good thing, too, because the bees attack his classmates and instantly destroy their canisters of repellent. As usual, it’s up to our man. Spider-Man enters the hive, only to find that the bees have “mutated a queen” so that she is way bigger than a human being! Even bigger than the one in the flashback last issue! But the other bees are all still bee-sized, so like, how is this going to work, biologically? I am not a bee man, I don’t have the answers, but it’s my gut feeling that this is some exceptionally psuedo-science, man.
Spider-Man flips Swarm over him by the goofy white gloves he wears and then douses the giant queen in more of the bug spray, and it finally begins to work on Swarm himself, causing the bees to flee from his skeleton…
So, like, is that murder? I mean, technially Swarm was just a skeleton earlier, and now he’s just a skeleton again, but… Man, what a silly story. What an ignoble introduction to the ESU supporting cast. Bill Mantlo has his name on a lot of really silly stories, and this is surely one. But also: What happens in the next 10 minutes? Do all the regular human people slowly find out the evil skeleton made a giant queen bee in there? Does this not shake their understanding of reality to its core, forever? Does everyone agree to just never speak of this again? Regular people in superhero universes can really shrug things off, I guess.