Spectacular Spider-Man #168-170
Issue(s): Spectacular Spider-Man #168, Spectacular Spider-Man #169, Spectacular Spider-Man #170
...tricks Spider-Man into starting a fight with the Avengers.
Spider-Man recruits the "Outlaws", the same group of heroes that backed him up in Web of Spider-Man #50.
The Space Phantom continues to fan the flames...
...but eventually he gets caught and the battle ends.
The Space Phantom turns out to be working for Calculus, one of Gerry Conway's Young Gods. Calculus didn't want the Space Phantom to start fights, but he did want to manipulate everyone into stopping the Kingpin from gaining access to an ancient terror that was on land that the Kingpin purchased.
The terror is in fact a swarm of orangutang-eating microscopic bugs.
Saddest thing i ever saw in a comic!
The combined heroes manage to lock it back up in its casket, with enough time left over for Sersi to put the moves on Puma.
Spider-Man is called both an "honorary Avenger" and "former Avenger" in this arc.
Only Spider-Man knows that Calculus was behind everything.
What else is going on in these issues? The Daily Bugle is getting rebuilt in the fastest reconstruction effort not done by Damage Control.
Mary Jane tells Joy Mercado, of all people, that she's been having thoughts about another man.
As for Jason Jerome himself, he's getting the full super-villain treatment. I mean, he's just some dude, right?
Later, Kristy catches MJ making out with Jerome.
Put the main plot in these issues in the same "big dumb fun" category as the Hulk story in the concurrently published Web of Spider-Man issues. You have to gloss over the fact that no one even considers the possibility of mind control or similar shenanigans (shape shifters) and just accept that you're getting a three issue Misunderstanding Fight instigated by the Space Phantom, who is working for a guy you probably never heard of. Taken together with the Hulk story, it does feel like Conway's books are pretty directionless. The one "direction" this book has is the awful Jason Jerome plot, but that's not a positive thing.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after Web of Spider-Man #69-70, when Kristy Watson gets out of the hospital.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showCalculus, Captain America, Edna Gortch, Glory Grant, Jason Jerome, Joy Mercado, Kingpin, Kristy Watson, Mary Jane Watson, Normie Osborn, Prowler, Puma, Quasar, Rocket Racer, Sandman, Sersi, She-Hulk, Space Phantom, Spider-Man, Thor
1990 was a bad year for apes at Marvel!
Posted by: Berend | June 23, 2015 6:40 PM
And Thor's hammer takes the swarm to a forested world, the trees of which are eventually used to make books, and one day the Doctor will come to the Library...
Posted by: Erik Robbins | June 23, 2015 7:26 PM
Interesting how Mary Jane is subtly different in these issues. She is starting to look noticeably more mature, perhaps 30ish, her face rougher, her shape slightly overweight.
I assume that is implied to be the reason why she is thinking so much of Jason Jerome; she is getting older and feeling insecure about her own attractiveness. In a nutshell, it is mid life crisis.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | June 23, 2015 8:38 PM
This is another example of Conway's unusual interpretation of Peter's spider-sense. How does Peter's Spider-Sense enable him to determine he's fighting a colony and not a single opponent?
Posted by: Michael | June 23, 2015 10:54 PM
the problem with the outlaws is, aside from the Sandman, they are weak and lame. Not a team that should give the avengers pause.
Fnord, your reviews are really helping me remember why I gave up on 90s comics.
Posted by: kveto | June 24, 2015 8:22 AM
Sandman is pretty damn powerful, and Puma's quick and strong to give at least some trouble (see Avengers 304)... but yeah, if I was up against Thor, Quasar, Sersi and She-Hulk, I'd wish I knew some other heroes beyond a window cleaner and a skateboarder. That's not going to slow them down much. I do think Luis has a point that Buscema does seem to be depicting MJ as a little older here, and yes by "comic book supermodel" standards she does seem slightly heavier. Dunno if it's intentional or not. (Maybe this is the comic book equivalent of gossip magazines assuming skinny celebrities are pregnant because they notice they've put on three pounds.) I do think there's an overall decrease in comics quality in 1990, but right now we still have peak Peter David Hulk and Walt Simonson FF, plus Claremont-Lee X-Men (certainly not my favourite era, but big for a lot of people), Gruenwald Cap (admittedly the quality is about to go downhill), Nocenti Daredevil (not for everyone, and ends this year, but I love it) with Byrne + JrJr's Iron Man about to start (which i prefer to most Byrne of this era). So there's still some decent stuff, even if general quality is down. If you think 1990 is bad, it will seem like one of the best years of the 90s comics to come...
Posted by: Jonathan | June 24, 2015 9:25 AM
@Erik Robbins i really loved that Doctor Who reference
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | July 22, 2015 5:51 PM
WTF is up with Kristy's weird fascination with calling everyone cousin followed by their name?
Posted by: JC | October 24, 2015 9:42 AM
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