Credits: Gerry Conway (plot), David Michelinie (script), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: A disoriented Spider-Man recovers the energy-transference device and returns to New York. He places the device in a bus station locker, and later tries to make amends with Betty. Spider-Man continues to grow sicker, until he transforms into the Spider-Hulk. When he eventually returns to his normal form, he realizes the device transferred energy from the Hulk into him. Spider-Man returns for the device, only to discover it’s been stolen. He finds the thieves and inadvertently changes into Spider-Hulk again. One of the thieves uses the device on Spider-Hulk and transforms him back to normal, although the device is destroyed during the scuffle.
The Subplots: None.
Web of Continuity: The name of the scientist in the previous issue is given as Armand Jones.
Review: No, we’re not ready for Spider-Hulk. I don’t think anyone even wants Spider-Hulk. Conway never shied away from ridiculous ideas during this era (the Living Brain…Phreak-Out…Banjo, the Appalachian mutant…), but those stories were usually propped up with ongoing subplots that could keep the readers’ interest piqued for the next issue. As long as Spider-Man acts like Spider-Man and the ongoing plotlines are advanced, I can live with a goofy villain. I could even live with Spider-Hulk for an issue, if it the supporting cast still had something to do and the overall momentum wasn’t lost. This issue, however, is a rushed conclusion to a silly idea with barely any other ideas to distract from the ridiculousness. If you don’t like Spider-Hulk, too bad, because that’s all you’re getting. Unfortunately, this marks the end of Conway’s second tenure on Spider-Man. Not only is he unable to script the final issue (due to his television writing commitments), but everyone assumed he would be coming back in a few issues, so there isn’t even a goodbye message. There isn’t even a letters page, just a house ad for the Star Mighty Mouse series. If Web ever had anything approaching a golden age, it would have to be the Conway/Saviuk run. And although Saviuk remains loyal to the book for years to come, the title still endures a stretch of filler before a new writer is finally named.