Credits: Louise Simonson (writer), Greg LaRocque (penciler), Jim Mooney (inker), Phil Felix (letterer), Dr. Martin (colorist)
The Plot: The Vulturions add poison darts to their arsenal, hoping to become the Kingpin’s new assassins. They lead Spider-Man into a fight outside of Kingpin’s window to show their talents, unaware that Kingpin is trying to shield his sickly wife from violence. Spider-Man defeats the Vulturions, but succumbs to their poison darts. When he recovers, the Kingpin arranges for the return of the expensive hat Spider-Man lost during the fight.
The Subplots: Peter Parker buys a hat for Aunt May’s birthday at Saks Fifth Avenue. He’s forced to carry the hat during his fight with the Vulturions because Randi, Candy, and Bambi are blocking the skylight entrance to his apartment. Mary Jane waits impatiently as Peter is late to visit their infant godson in the hospital. She’s flustered when Harry and Liz suggest that she’s dating Peter again. J. Jonah Jameson is thinking of a new project outside of the Daily Bugle, and brags that he’s stealing Peter away from Robbie Robertson (mistakenly called “Robinson” in this issue).
*See _________ For Details: The Kingpin tried to kill Spider-Man in Peter Parker #100, so Spider-Man is unsure why he’s thanking him for defeating the Vulturions.
Review: The Vulturions aren’t exactly inspired villains, but Simonson is successful in creating enough distractions during the fight that it really doesn’t matter. This is traditional Spidey material, as a series of complications from Peter Parker’s personal life interferes with his crime-fighting career. It’s an enjoyable, light read, but it doesn’t present a strong case for the necessity of a third Spider-Man series. One of the earliest attempts at differentiating this title from the others was the idea that Peter Parker would travel in this book as a photographer for NOW Magazine. That’s what Jameson is hinting at during his subplot scene, but due to behind-the-scenes disarray, it’s several months before this idea goes anywhere. Why exactly it was so hard to get this idea off the ground is mystifying. Even if the book had a series of fill-in writers, how hard would it have been to explain to them that Peter Parker travels in this book, so don’t set the story in New York City?