Credits: Kurt Busiek (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Brad K. Joyce (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: Spider-Man searches for Man-Mountain Marko, who’s allegedly kidnapped a child. He discovers that the Maggia’s genetic enhancements, and his steroid habit, have left Marko unstable. Spider-Man finds the unhinged Marko’s home, but is unable to rescue the boy quietly. Marko gives Spider-Man a challenge, but is eventually defeated.
The Subplots: None.
Web of Continuity: Marko is haunted by an incident from the past, when a small teenager unexpectedly knocked him to the ground in response to Marko’s harassment. It’s clear that the teenager is supposed to be Peter Parker, circa the earliest issues of Amazing, but I believe this is a new incident created for this story.
Forever Young: Marko, who’s clearly well into adulthood, is shown to be close to Peter’s age in the flashback.
Review: Kurt Busiek’s fill-in run continues, giving us an early example of his affection for obscure characters, and another brief “untold tale” of Spider-Man’s past. It’s possible I’m getting the dates wrong, but I wonder if the WWF’s early ‘90s steroid scandal was an inspiration for this story. Hero rescues kid from steroid-crazed villain is a pretty standard starting point, but Busiek puts some effort into tailoring the story for Spider-Man. Spidey’s given a cold throughout the issue, making Mary Jane the voice of reason who insists that he can take the occasional sick day. Spidey thinks he’s come to a reasonable compromise by simply rescuing the kid and leaving Marko for the police, only to discover that the kid actually idolizes Marko and can’t wait to see him finally beat up Spider-Man. It’s like Spider-Man always has bad luck or something. There’s not much to the ending --Spider-Man just hits Marko until he finally falls over -- but the little boy does change loyalties when he witnesses Spidey’s performance in the fight. True to his character, Spider-Man complains about the kid’s lack of loyalty and swings away. Another enjoyable, if not very memorable, issue from Busiek.