We are back to the last few months of 1993, where we’ll begin the final trek through Michelinie’s tenure on ASM and (many, many) associated products. But first, we find out what SMU is when it’s not bookending a famously bad crossover. Not too excited about the sensational return of Annex.
Tom DeFalco, Ron Lim, Jim Sanders III and John Kalisz here with the thrilling first appearance of Dilbert Trilby. We saw him not too long ago in SMU 18, retracting Doc Ock’s obituary. Naturally, also by DeFalco. He seems like a real jerk! Aw, jeez. Trilby begins telling this kid Doc Ock’s life story… and it’s just like what was in SMU 18. Sometimes the panels were copied outright! Thankfully, we cut to Peter Parker & Ben Urich at the scene of Ock’s attack, so as not to make this issue and the future one so redundant…
Ok. That cut to a random lady was weird. Elsewhere, Trilby gets us to the death of Ock’s dad and his high school graduation, same as the other comic right down to panels that were recreated verbatim, then we’re with Spider-Man, who thinks he’s been swinging all over town checking Ock’s old haunts and talking to former goons, trying to figure out what he’s up to. He catches up to a ridiculously named “Smooth Eddie Rollins” to ask him about Ock. Then we get Ock meeting that Mary Alice lady shortly before his accident, minus Carolyn Trainer being retconned in.
Boy am I glad for that 3rd page. I thought this was gonna be bad for a second. Ock puts a crack in the gas main, leaving Spider-Man to seal it as he flees. Spidey gets a tracer on Ock, then gets the gas pipe webbed well enough to hold until the experts arrive. Meanwhile, Trilby gets through Ock’s wedding to Mary Alice being called off because his mom was an awful jerk, this time with the detail that Ock used his influence over his cousin from Lethal Foes to make Mary Alice lose her job in atomic research (Very classy). In the present, Spider-Man tracks Ock to his lair, and whatever he’s up to, he’s so serious about it that he keeps working on it with 2 tentacles while fighting Spider-Man with the others. Then Trilby recounts Ock becoming insufferable at work, finding out his Mom is dating someone, and her having a heart attack, then him blowing himself up, all described a 2nd time in SMU 18. In the present, Spidey and Ock’s battle continues for a couple pages, with some exceptionally bad patter, until…
But… Trilby’ JUST GOT DONE telling that kid about Mary Alice! How does he not think she’s important?? Ugh. Uuuuugh! Tom DeFalco, man. Well, whatever, feature 2 this issue is Kurt Busiek, Aaron Lopresti, Sam Delarosa and John Kalisz bringing Busiek’s creation Corona, last seen in TAC 177, back for a new adventure. A splash page shows Spider-Man beginning to take some photos of these guys…
Eve Todd McFarlane would be iffy about the proportions on that bottom Spider-Man. Spidey wonders why the goons were told to delay him instead of kill him as “The Operator” calls in some extra muscle.
Corona and Spider-Man are quickly fighting through the sky, Spidey winding up falling onto a rooftop, where Corona says he made her a promise, but he lied. Back in the alley, whatever illicit transaction was underway concludes, and “The Operator” speeds away with the goods. Corona says her condition is Spider-Man’s fault, but that she’s under strict orders, so she just leaves. Our beleaguered hero goes to get his camera, then goes back to The Forrester Building to try to see what’s up with Corona’s brother, but is told he moved out. However, he sees a functioning lab going, and doesn’t buy it. So he goes home, and when MJ asks him what he’s been up to, he recaps Corona’s origin, with this addition:
Peter says he’s wanting to track down Cedric Forrester, and Robbie refers him to Jake Conover, who apparently told him Cedric is now renting lab space at ESU, because we jump ahead to Spider-Man confirming that and swinging in the window. He demands to know what’s going on, and Cedric obliges.
What a cool guy. So, he and Spider-Man break into the building, but are immediately set upon by the goons from earlier. In the battle, Spider-Man tells Cedric to let him know what machine controls Corona so he can break it, but Cedric says he doesn’t want to free her, just regain control of him. What a cool guy!
Corona uses her weird matter warping powers to trap Spider-Man in a melted wall, then Flynn comes in and announces he’s sold Corona’s services to Silvermane for 4 million dollars. So, Cedric offers 5 million for her, and Spider-Man realizes this whole thing was just negotiating tactics. And so does Corona.
Spidey smashes loose, and begins taunting Corona mercilessly, causing her to lash out and destroy all the machines, including whichever one was allowing Flynn to control her. Then he quickly explains himself while continuing to dodge her attacks.
It seems the answer was “no,” as she only has one more minor appearance, many years hence. This issue is rounded out by an Annex short I can’t be bothered to talk about, because I just don’t care.