before here I don't really like Christmas. It's just so overwhelming and inescapable that I just find it fucking exhausting. Oh well, I suppose I should review a few Christmas comic. Tis the season and all.
This issue is from my personal all time favorite time in Spidey history. The time right after the Clone Saga and right before the relaunch. There was so many great stories going on at the time, the Identity Crisis story where Spidey took on four different costumed personas, the confrontation between Norman Osborn and the original Green Goblin, and even a mini series that finally definitively established who the original Hobgoblin was. And in the back ground of all of it Norman had set himself back up as a 'legitimate businessman' making him essentially untouchable. In fact when Spidey did lose his cool and beat the crap out of Norman it ended up with Spidey facing charges and a one million dollar bounty on his head.
The issue largely consists of Peter swinging around as Spidey trying to do some last minute Christmas shopping. He looks for gifts for Mary Jane and Aunt Anna (MJ's aunt who was serving as a surrogate Aunt May since May was dead at the time). At one point while Peter was at the Bugle a coworker named Billy Walters gives him a present. Feeling guilty that he hadn't even of thought of Billy, and knowing that he was a Spider-man fan he showed up as Spidey and let Billy take a few pics with him telling him Peter sent him. Billy Walters had an interesting character arch. He was a new photographer and followed Peter around. Billy had just moved to New York and had no friends and tried to befriend Peter. Billy was a friendly guy, even if his over enthusiasm was a bit annoying at times, but Peter had to constantly ditch him to go do Spider-man stuff. The rejection he felt from Peter was helped push him move back out of New York. It was kind of sad. Far as I know Billy was never heard from again after that.
Also in this issue we have a very brief fight with Hydro-man. Hydro-man had recently escaped whatever super villain prison he was being kept in and was trying to keep a low profile. He noticed two men walking behind him with big duffel bags and assumed they were SHIELD agents and that the bags must have tech to deal with him. So Hydro-man attacked the two men who were actually just civilians and had laundry in their duffel bags. The draws Spideys attention and the two have a pointless fight before Hydro-man flees.
And that fight sort of sums up this issue. Pointless filler. Interesting story the preview for this issue in earlier issues actually said the story was going to be Peter and MJ on a cruise and I think it was going to be Looter attacking them. For whatever reason that ended up scrapped in favor of this Christmas story.
It's a well written enough story. And the art by Todd Nauck is solid. The regular artist on the book at the time was Mike Wieringo, Todd was just a fill in. Nauck is no Wieringo, but it was pretty good art and Todd's always worked well on lighthearted stories like this. This is by no means a great story, but it's not a bad one either. And if you're in the mood for a Christmas comic this month, you could certainly do worse