Writers: Mark Waid and Tom Peyer
Artists: Salvador Larroca (p), Danny Miki (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Peter Parker has been found in the guise of the Green Goblin and is grilled by Rhino, Vulture and the Ox. Parker uses Gwen Stacy as a hostage to make his escape but before doing so tells her that he's going "where he belongs." When she asks if he will kill her, he replies that the Goblin "has already killed her." He takes off in the Goblin Glider with a Sentinel hot on his trail. Meanwhile, the revelation Spidey is a human has stirred up an anti-human backlash which a mutant talk show host is quick to point out to J. Jonah Jameson. Their conversation is interrupted by a newsflash showing a sentinel cam revealing Parker dressed as the Goblin. Meanwhile, back at Parker's house, Ben and Captain Stacy wonder how they will find Peter, but Gwen has a plan. Jameson seeks protection from Spiderman and asks Norman Osborn for help. Osborn supplies him with the number for one Mr. Smythe, telling him, "He builds machines." Uncle Ben, Gwen and Captain Stacy break into Jonah's place but are surprised by Jameson attacking them in a Spider Slayer. Spidey shows up in time to stop Jameson and to retrieve his journal from him. At least that's what he thinks.
Comments: This book continues to race toward its climax with surprising revelations and some satisfying action sequences. Peter's comments to Gwen strongly suggest the fabric of the "House of M" reality may be beginning to crumble. I don't follow the events in the main House of M book, so I am not sure if events there are tied up to this issue's story, but I suspect they might be. At any rate, it makes sense for Spiderman, Wolverine and some of the other key Marvel characters to be the first to see through the "House of M" reality smokescreen. It's very cool to see a Sentinel in a Spiderman book, especially one hunting down humans instead of mutants. What's also clever is the fact the supporting cast is as engaging in this series as the lead hero. For example, Gwen quickly gets over her grief and takes steps towards finding Peter. All the characteristics which made her an interesting character so many years ago are utilized by Waid and Peyer plus they also give her a backbone, something which many female characters in comics are sorely lacking. The more things change...
It's a real treat to see Jameson hiring Smythe to build him a Spider Slayer suit, although it would have been more of a treat to see a more extended battle between Spiderman and Jameson in the suit. The artwork by Larroca continues to be solid and the water coloring used in the interior pages continue to give it that hazy dreamlike quality.
Final Word: Never put it in writing, that's what the old saying advises, and it's certainly true in this case as all the characters scramble to get their hands on Peter's journal. The fireworks are coming in the final issue as the contents of Parker's journal will surely finally be revealed. Yet, the final outcome including the identity of the real Green Goblin is not as important. This series is a matter of enjoying the ride, the destination is only the payoff, the frosting on the proverbial cake. Admirably, the creators have managed to utilize the Spiderman cast in an enjoyable and well crafted alternate reality, if not an entirely memorable one.
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