The Shroud. Was it Steven Grant who wrote his appearance in MTU? Yep, MTU 94. That’s interesting. Well, we open on Spider-Man swingin’ around, getting hit so hard by his Spidey Sense that it hurts.
Sal’s Spider-Man looks sharper than he has in a long time here. More like when he first started inking himself. That’s interesting, I wonder why. Shroud recalls Spider-Man’s danger sense from their last encounter (Incorrectly referenced as MTU 84, editor Mark Powers!), and decided standing still and fading away would keep him from being discovered, and it did. Shroud’s doing his weird thing of “infiltrating the underworld” by pretending to be a bad guy, which, since he doesn’t get used much, I think remains his status quo for like 30 years. Well, anyway, Spider-Man swings by The Jameson residence, where Marla is worried about her missing husband from the backups. John Jameson is there, trying to comfort her, and also saying his dad has always cared too much about the paper. That established, Spider-Man arrives at the hospital where Flash is recovering, saying he’s waited too long to visit. He is maybe not the only one who thinks so.
Ouch! Flash then randomly quotes the poet Rainer Maria Rilke at Peter, who is very surprised Flash reads poetry, and then says he’s been thinking about them. About how they were enemies in school, and wants to know if they’re really friends now. Peter says of course, but Flash is really hung up on the old days, thinking about how much they hated each other.
For a guy whose run on this title is going to end up being 7 whole issues, Grant sure is making some big changes! A dejected Peter goes home to find MJ gone, working on getting their new place set up, telling him to grab dinner out in a note. He could use a friend, but he’ll settle for a swing. Meanwhile, some bad guys do an arms deal right in front of the rubble of Dr. Strange’s house, which seems ridiculous, and The Shroud is still there, hours later, which also seems ridiculous, and he pounces on them.
This is all very hodge podge. Spidey and Shroud mix it up for a page, and Shroud gets the upper hand, and then this happens…
He was hanging out in the ruins of Dr. Strange’s house all day by ACCIDENT? What kind of sense does that make!? Spidey and Shroud punch the weird flying faces a bit, then Shroud leaves Spider-Man to deal with them. He’s not into that, and catches Shroud and steals his bag of stolen gun money, and the masks are strangely not after them.
Right-o! That leaves us with the back-up story, where Vince Evans is now inking, and where JJJ storms back into The Bugle, having not killed himself after all, I guess. He orders all his appointments canceled and all department heads in his office in half an hour, saying there’s going to be some changes. Alone in his office, he ruminates on how this is all Spider-Man’s fault, how telling the truth about Spider-Man has made his paper a laughing stock. As he throws away a framed paper reporting that they won a Pulitzer, he says the cost of telling the truth was too high, and it’s time to rebuild.
This confusing and nonsensical development drops like a bad habit once Grant’s gone, but that’s yet another major change. This guy was really going for it, and not even in ASM. One more issue of TAC for this block, let’s see how this Shroud thing works out.