The Transparent Fox:
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #90-91
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #90, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #91
...with Spidey not appearing until the closing panel.
Considering issue #89 was also basically a Black Cat solo story, it's a pretty bold move. But she was a popular character, and for this issue it serves very well as a "while Spidey was away at Secret Wars" story.
The Black Cat is looking for Spider-Man, all while debating whether or not she'll tell him about her new super-powers, and if so, if she'll tell the truth about how she got them. Since she doesn't care at all for Peter Parker and is kind of oblivious to the concept of a secret identity, she winds up causing a lot of future trouble for Peter, showing up at Jean DeWolff's office and Avengers Mansion, which is reasonable, but also his apartment...
...the Daily Bugle...
...and even Aunt May's house while dressed as the Black Cat.
It's pretty clear that Joe Robertson knows Peter's secret ID, and he cuts the Black Cat off before she accidentally spills the beans.
While at the Avengers Mansion, the Vision offers her a slot on the Avengers (!) and also recounts all of the Avengers with questionable history, including Hulk, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and himself (since he was built by Ultron).
Issue #91 begins stupidly, preposterously, with the Black Cat fleeing from Spider-Man since she doesn't recognize him.
Maybe (maybe!) she'd be suspicious enough to challenge him right when she first saw him, but we soon learn that this scene takes place after a long train ride back from Aunt May's house in Long Island. And Spidey's dialogue is deliberately misleading. Atrocious!
Anyway, once that is settled and Spidey explains where he's been (and the Black Cat opts to not let him know about her powers), we move on to a plot about the Blob and Unus. Unus' forcefield went out of control again...
...and this time the Blob was too late to help him, so Unus has died. Striken with grief, the Blob goes on a rampage.
Spider-Man tries to stop him, but he's unprepared for the Blob's powers, which is pretty cool.
He also continues to be overprotective of the Black Cat (even after he said earlier in the issue that he wouldn't be), but it turns out to be the Black Cat's bad luck powers that make it possible for the Blob to be defeated (that and the fact that he's just overcome with grief and not rampaging with any purpose).
During the fight with the Blob, we see a character in silhouette observing the battle. It's the Answer, a new super-villain we'll see more of next issue.
In a subplot, Flash Thompson shows up at Peter's apartment wanting to talk about problems with his relationship with Sha Shan (he doesn't like that she's becoming independent) and the trouble he's having reintegrating into civilian society after being in the army, but Peter has to chase him away because the Black Cat shows up at his window to tell him about the Blob.
Generally decent writing (weak scripting) and art but that opening scene from #91 just threw me.
Also, a little bit of sexual innuendo. Surprising.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: In issue #91, Joe Robertson tells Peter that the photo assignment he got in Amazing Spider-Man #253 was a fluke and he shouldn't expect any more assignments for the time being. Later in ASM #253, Peter wonders about the Black Cat's recent suspicious activity. So the events of the two issues are intertwined. Prior to that, issue #90 takes place while Spidey is away at Secret Wars and/or after he gets back but is busy with the events of Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Marvel Team-Up #141. There's a gap in time between Peter Parker #90 and #91, but it's said that the time was spent on a train from Long Island to Manhattan.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
The title to #91 is a lyric to the old blues song "Born Under a Bad Sign" popularized by Cream.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 2, 2011 7:37 PM
Did Unus stay dead? It seemed like the Marvel Handbook published soon after this issue wanted to leave the matter open.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 11, 2013 12:53 AM
No. He showed up during Grant Morrison's run on X-Men.
Posted by: ChrisKafka | July 11, 2013 2:05 AM
Thanks. I always kind of like Unus. Straightforward yet uncommon power, down-to- Earth motivations, and a genuine friendship with anothet villain. He kind of stands out by virtue of NOT being weird.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | July 11, 2013 2:10 AM
Is this the most explicit they ever were that Joe Robertson knew Peter was Spider-Man? I was always kind of skeptical of that idea, but it's hard to argue with that panel up there.
Posted by: S | July 11, 2013 7:58 PM
I don't know if it was ever more explicit, but now you have me wondering when it was first implied. Seems like something i should have been tracking. I recently ran across this scene in Amazing Spider-Man #196, but i'm sure that's not the first time.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 11, 2013 11:28 PM
There's a storyline around 1989 where Robertson leads Pete to ponder the ethics of selling staged photos of himself. But I don't think Joe is explicit about knowing Pete is Spidey even then. My memories are foggy, but that seemed like an important arc for Joe and Pete. It would have been a little before or after the intro of Tombstone.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | July 12, 2013 1:14 AM
Poor Blob I felt sorry for him when he started crying and didn't like that they played up him blocking traffic as comedy.
Posted by: david banes | February 7, 2016 3:10 PM
In the mid-1980s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Unus had an entry in the regular section, not the Book of the Dead, so apparently Marvel thought Unus was possibly still alive. Interesting that he appeared to be dead for years.
Posted by: mikrolik | August 1, 2016 11:59 AM
There's a bit during the Clone Saga, I think in Spider-Man Unlimited v.1 #14, where Robbie is clearly thrown for a loop at seeing Peter Parker and Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) at the same time.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 1, 2016 3:19 PM
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