Credits: Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: Dr. Doom equips Goliath with a mechanism that forces him to absorb the cosmic energy Spider-Man radiates. During their fight in Battery Park, Goliath is forced to painfully grow larger and larger as Spider-Man uses his new powers against him. Spider-Man notices the connection, but has to use his powers again when Goliath attacks a nearby ferry. Overcome with energy, Goliath falls into the water and doesn’t emerge.
The Subplots: Peter seeks guidance from Aunt May, who’s dealing with Nathan’s terminal diagnosis. Thomas Fireheart refuses to buy pictures from Nick Katzenberg that show Spider-Man in a bad light. When Spider-Man swings by Fireheart’s office to express his aversion to the Daily Bugle’s new direction, Glory Grant walks in. Overwhelmed at the sight of Spider-Man, she runs away.
Web of Continuity: An image of Captain Universe is super-imposed over Spider-Man when he strains to use his powers and snatch the ferry away from Goliath. You could say this is too obvious a hint, but I had no idea who Captain Universe was or what he looked like when these issues were released.
*See _________ For Details: Spider-Man first fought this version of Goliath in Spectacular #49, when he was known as the Smuggler.
Creative Differences: A re-lettered word balloon on page 9 has Peter reiterating that Nathan only has a few weeks left.
Review: Spider-Man still has cosmic powers, he still doesn’t like them, and Acts of Vengeance continues. Now, Peter turns to Aunt May for advice on how to deal with his powers, phrasing the question as “What would you do if you had the power of life and death?” Alex Saviuk gives Aunt May a reaction shot that would only seem appropriate if Peter abruptly flashed her, but the rest of the scene is executed quite well. Aunt May takes the surprising stance that this power would in essence be a burden, since no human should be forced to decide which lives ought to be saved. She gives a monologue on the cycle of life and accepting death, tying the “hypothetical” dilemma Peter’s brought to her with Nathan’s terminal illness. “Acceptance…is the only power of life and death a human being ever needs.” Regardless of the crossover event and gimmicky alteration to the status quo, Conway still remembers this title is about the characters, which is why his run always stuck with me. If Conway had actually brought some resolution to Glory Grant’s subplot, instead of this issue’s four-panel tease, this would be almost perfect.