Greetings, and welcome to another week of comic book greatness! In this edition of Ye Olde School Café, we’ll watch the soul of Peter Parker dive further into disparity in the classic Birth of Venom story! Last week, we saw the emergence of Peter’s new costume, A.K.A. the Symbiote, then we watched as he disappointed Aunt May, and Robbie at the Bugle. This all left Peter feeling hurt and lonely. He was very curious about the actions of this new costume, as well. It can seemingly read his thoughts and conform to anything he thinks of (as far as outward appearance). Now, let’s dig deeper into the downward spiral that leads to Peter Parker being driven over the edge….
As Spider-Man watches the NYPD extract the Hobgoblin‘s van out of the Hudson River (ASM #251), he seems a little overwhelmed by the fact that his new costume can obey his every thought. We see a quick interlude with a shadowy figure talking to someone at the scene of the van being pulled out of the river, and just as quickly they are gone. Spidey does some web-swinging, but all he can think about is Aunt May scolding him for dropping out of college, and his argument with the Black Cat. He spots a payphone and swings down to call May. He gets through, but she won’t answer the phone because she’s still angry with him. He immediately gets even more discouraged than he was before. One by one, the police escort vehicles get distracted, until finally the tow truck is all alone. The driver gets sidetracked by a young woman, and the van gets lifted off of the back of the truck by a magnet from a nearby junkyard.
Meanwhile, Peter goes to the Bugle, but nobody wants his pictures. He talks with Betty about how Robbie is really pushing everyone. After Aunt May’s boyfriend talks to Peter about May, Peter then is informed by Betty that the Hobgoblin’s van never made it to the police impound lot. Peter quickly exits, and then Spidey is on the trail of the crooks. As he finds them and engages them in a fight, he’s blindsided by Jack O’ Lantern and a pumpkin bomb. Spidey and Jack fight all over the city, and the two end up fighting in a department store. Eventually, Spidey gets the drop on him, and uses his super strength to deliver a punch that he thinks KOs Jack. A few moments later, though, Jack is up and they go at it again. Spidey has to leave the fight with Jack to save some civilians, and he gets away. Peter then rushes uptown to meet Aunt May, but she left long ago because Peter is very late due to the fight with Jack. Peter then is left all alone and feeling like he can’t get a break with anybody.
In the next issue, we see the master thief the Cat prowling around an apartment. He finds his way inside and tries to steal a vase. He grabs the vase, but then gets the living crap scared out of him when the vase transforms into an ape! The Cat almost has a heart attack, and can’t believe his eyes when the ape starts going wild. Peter has since hung up his costume and gone to sleep. Unbeknownst to him, his new suit creeps along the floor and bonds with him while he slumbers. Back at the apartment, the Cat is visibly shaken from the recent events, and is even more surprised when he meets the master of the apes – The Red Ghost himself! The Ghost explains to the Cat that he set him up to meet him, and also gain his employment. The Ghost shows his guest a machine that will not only sustain his powers, but augment them as well. He needs the Cat to steal money for him to continue with the machine’s construction, though.
The next evening, Spidey heads out to search for Jack O’Lantern, and the stolen battle van of the Hobgoblin. The Cat is also on the prowl tonight, and with the help of the Super Apes, he is breaking into a jewelry store. The Apes aren’t very smart, though, and they rip off the door rather than letting Cat pick the locks. This sets off the alarm and they quickly grab the safe and run. The police show up and distract the Apes long enough for the Cat to escape down an alleyway. He doesn’t get too far before the Apes catch up with him and give him a beating. Spidey then swings into action and smacks the Apes, and puts them in full retreat mode. After talking with the Cat, Spidey follows the Apes back to Red Ghost’s lair. Immediately, a fight breaks out with Spidey and the Apes. Spidey baits one of the Apes into smashing the Ghost’s machines and Red Ghost goes crazy. As it seems like Spidey is ready to turn him over to the cops, the Ghost uses one last trick up his sleeve and disappears. Spidey feels like a jerk for letting the Ghost get away, and he didn’t even do what he set out to do this night anyway.
That’s it for now, but come back next week for more anguish, pain, and suffering, as Peter is confronted by Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, the Black Cat, and, oh yeah, a new enemy that is just as fast, agile, and strong as Spider-Man! See you next week!