The Transparent Fox:
Characters Appearing: Aunt May, Black Cat, Jean DeWolff, Nate Lubenski, Spider-Man, Venom Symbiote
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man annual #4
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man annual #4
Before she married Ben Parker, Aunt May loved another man -- a criminal! Now he's back, and if he can't have her -- no one will!
What?!? How dare they introduce some nonsense into Aunt May's backstory. What editor allowed Mantlo to get away with such a thing?!
Reading, it however, it really falls into the Mostly Harmless category. Not saying it's a good story. It's just a sentimental little tale about a guy that Aunt May used to know during the Great Depression. He was definitely a small time criminal but May was too naive to realize it...
...and the relationship didn't get far before he was put away for murder. Decades later, he's released on parole and writing senile letters to May, but after indulging in nostalgia for a while...
...she gently sends him packing. Simple enough, and not so bad, but still unnecessary.
Besides, the only thing we need to know about Aunt May that happened before Amazing Fantasy #15 is that she used to selfishly keep a mermaid prisoner.
A back-up story has Spidey and the Black Cat spending a quiet evening at home.
One of Black Cat's friends, a former cat burglar colleague named Tamara Blake (in her first and only appearance), decides to have a little fun with her...
...and gets worried when the Black Cat freaks out over the secrets that she's keeping from Spider-Man.
Despite the serious-ish ending, it's a silly story; about what you'd expect from a back-up in an annual.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Despite the fact that this should be a throwaway story, it requires annoyingly tight placement. That seems to happen a lot with these throwaway stories. The problem is that Spider-Man is definitely wearing the symbiote suit. But he references his current list of villains that are plaguing him: the Puma, the Rose, and the Answer. The Puma was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #256. ASM #256-258 all run together in a single arc, at the end of which Spider-Man no longer has the symbiote costume. The MCP solves this by finding a gap during Amazing Spider-Man #258 (and it also places Marvel Team-Up #146 in that gap). We'll just have to do the same.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Hey, Amazing Spider-Man Family #7 seems to have flashbacks in the same timeframe as those May has in this annual, giving the criminal the name Johnny Jerome.
Posted by: Max_Spider | March 15, 2014 9:33 PM
"That's right! It was me, Tamara Blake, Felicia's oldest friend, who you have never heard of before and will never see again!"
Posted by: TCP | April 20, 2015 2:50 PM
I'm not surprised Felicia never talks to or about Tamara Blake after this, as she's the worst 'friend' ever! She sneaks into Felicia's home while she's obviously cooking dinner for her boyfriend and steals the present he just gave her, then puts her in the position of having to lie to him (and ruining dinner and seperating them) all so she can spend time messing with Felicia's head. She involves the police, jeopardising her attempt to stay on the right side of the law and then smashes the present... and is surprised that Felicia is upset! As if that wasn't enough, she then invites herself round and destroys the rest of Felicia's quality time with her boyfriend, while with all the perceptiveness of a brick thinking that they don't seem very happy together. No @#!@! I can only imagine what a version of this story narrated by Black Cat or Spider-man would be like.
"You tell her to leave!"
Posted by: Benway | November 4, 2016 9:12 PM
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