Originally posted Dec. 16, 2008
Like everyone promised me, I think PPSSM really started to find itself in these issues and I really enjoyed the majority of the stories.
One of the things I noticed is that in the beginning it seemed like PPSSM couldn't figure out if it was something new or a second Marvel Team-Up. For instance issue 17 and 18, which resolved the Champions storyline had absolutely nothing to do with ongoing storylines and come off as Angel team up issues.
The series gets back on track with issue 19 which is nostalgic because it features the Enforcers. There were so many great bits in this issue, like the new Ox saying "Take away your fancy costume and then what are you?" and Spidey quipping, "I don't know naked?"
At the end of the issue Lightmaster sees Hector Ayala coming out of the diner after the fight and assumes he's Spider-man. I was happy to see Lightmaster return. I was afraid he was a one shot villain. Issue 20 was great, Lightmaster captures Ayala and his identity as the White Tiger ends up revealed to the public. This was a twist I was very surprised by. It seems like Bill Mantlo used the White Tiger as a parallel to Spider-man. By seeing what happens to the White Tiger when his identity is revealed we kind of see what would happen if Spider-man's identity was revealed. I kept waiting for an old villain of the Tiger's to put one of Ayala's family in danger, but it didn't happen in this volume.
Issue 21 was a Scorpion stand alone story with fantastic art by Jim Mooney. I find it kind of sad that after more than 10 years of issues the Scorpion still hasn't told the world why he hates JJJ.
The next two issues are again reminiscent of a MT-U issue as both feature Moon Knight, before he had his own series.
Issue 24 is definitely the clunker of this bunch. Peter Parker goes to a disco and fights the Hypno-Hustler. I looked at the cover and knew it wasn't gonna be pretty. The guest art by Frank Springer was great. The first few pages where Peter nabs some muggers on the subway were amusing. It started making no sense when you meet the villain who has some sort of Hypno powers, but also has three back up singers with the same powers. Spidey beats him by making him listen to his own back up singers.
But fear not from here on out it's top notch issues.
Issue 25 starts the Carrion/Maggia saga. The reader is left to wonder who this new villain Carrion is, all we know is that he hates Spider-Man. Then the Maggia and their leader the Masked Marauder rob a bank and when Spider-man tries to stop them he gets blasted by a opti-blast, which makes him blind. This all leads to an awesome team up with Daredevil, where Spidey bitches and moans about being blind and worthless never suspecting that his pal Daredevil has been blind all along. I kept wishing that Daredevil would take Spidey down to meet Stick who could teach him to listen to his senses, but alas Stick had not yet been created. Issue 27 and 28 feature art by Frank Miller!
At the end of issue 28 we find that Carrion definitely knows Peter's secret identity and the reader is in great suspense as to how he knows.
Issues 29-30 feature a lot of action. Carrion is an excellent villain because he has interesting and different powers. He can kill with a touch but he is so insane that he endlessly toys with Spidey. The stakes of the battle are high since he knows Parker is Spider-man and could reveal it to the world at anytime. The only thing I didn't like about these issues is that Carrion constantly calls Spider-man Parker, but the White Tiger never seems to hear that even when they're in the same room. I guess he was too busy fighting Carrion's lackey, Darter.
Issue 31 ends the Carrion saga. The spider Amoeba thing he creates is just kind of odd. To me this issue wasn't as good as the build up.