Now there’s a weird cover composition. Not sure I’m with ya on this one, JR. We begin with various recapping and some mysterious forces assaulting Fortunato’s compound and Peter Parker trying to figure out how to avoid getting bitten by Morbius (Again!) without revealing his secret as some goons watch him struggle with the vampire on security cameras. And as for SHOC…
Oh, so it’s Strucker. That’s pretty disappointing. Last issue’s cover asked “Who leads the hordes of Hydra?” and the answer is “Um, the guy who usually leads the hordes of Hydra. Surprise?” While the organization has occasionally had other bosses at this point, and will have more in the future, it’s usually, traditionally, Baron Von Strucker.
One wonders if Morbius would be able to sense he already bit this guy. As Peter is about to hit Morbius with one last ditch blow, the mysterious invaders get to them, zapping Morbius and then him unconscious in short order. Peter recognizes who shot him seconds before it happens. The invaders proceed to zap Dr. Janson, SHOC, basically everybody, and run off with most of the named characters. Fortunato demands that Crown go get revenge, and he’s all-to eager to oblige since whatever they’re doing to SHOC is supposed to keep him from dying or somerthing. Who’s the invader?
Hammerhead’s decided to get with the 90s and grow a goatee! Also, he was, like, on the cover.
While pistol whipping our hapless hero, Hammerhead explains he just wants to wreck anything Fortunato has going on after he tried to have Hammerhead killed. SHOC asks what HH wants, and he says he wants SHOC to help him take down Fortunato and Hydra, that he wants them to be buddies. So SHOC says “Sure.” Leading to this genuinely amusing bit…
Aside from “we ditched the vampire” being a lil too casual, this is pretty funny. Nobody draws these mob-types like Romita, Jr., and luckily, Mackie was really into using them. Everyone wins! I also like the classic “I may be a gangster, but I hate Nazis!” angle.
I mean, I know Hammerhead’s a villain, but Peter’s the one not being reasonable here. The enemy of my enemy and all that. It’s not like Spider-Man can’t just wax HH when this is over. But, instead, HH’s goons throw Peter off a roof (A roof the little boy, Gabriel, is playing on), laughing about “dropping him off” somewhere. Which is, of course, just what he needed, so he could finally become Spider-Man. And just in time, too, because a big Hydra spaceship descends on the building. Also, remember that vampire they ditched? He’s actually bound up elsewhere in the building, and when the Hydra guys blow out a window, he frees himself and feasts on his guards.
I mean, come on. The kid hitting Spider-Man for putting his uncle away is better than every page of every other comic in this block so far. Spidey helps the kid even though he doesn’t want it, and then we see him and Morbius independently tearing through all the Hydra goons in various parts of the building. On the roof, SHOC & Crown are having their final battle, Crown informing him anyone who uses their shared technology is slowly killed by it, and his time is coming. Spider-Man pops back up to get involved just as Crown announces he’s going to take everyone in the building with him.
And that’s that. A very goofy resolution, but given the circumstances, two guys made of energy shooting clouds of it at each other under a spaceship, I guess not so out of place. And that’s… basically the last we see of SHOC, also. Didn’t exactly set the world on fire, that guy. JR would much later slip him into a very tiny cameo in a Wolverine story, but that’s it. Oh, well. This issue once again runs 4 pages of excepts from reactions to SM 75. And behind that, a practice from this era that makes it hard for me to tell when a book is ending, a totally terrible 3-to-4-page showcase of art from a Marvel title they want you to buy. It’s usually collaged together weirdly and in black & white or just one color. It doesn’t sell the books too well. And this issue’s is selling… this issue. Usually it’s some book desperately in need of sales like Heroes for Hire, but this issue ends with 3 pages advertising the very comic you just read. Odd. Next time: An unusual detour.