By Bob Gale (writer), Phil Jimenez (pencils), Andy Lanning (inks), Jeromy Cox (colors)

Bob Gale brings us another dense issue of Spider-Man! Like the previous issue, Gale packs the book with narrative and dialogue while Phil Jimenez fills each page with glorious panel work. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth, reading wise, but is the issue good? It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

I wouldn’t say the book’s boring or lacking on the humor front. I’m just not really sure if I like “The Freak” or not. He’s a pretty silly, ugly villain, and I find it hilarious that he’s got the dirtiest mouth in the Marvel Universe. But humor aside, he’s completely forgettable and not iconic in any sense. I mean, he’s basically this half human, platypus zombie looking thing – what’s so scary about that? And his powers? He can track Peter’s scent and he’s got super human strength and webbed hands. Webbed hands?! Who the heck thought of this concept?!

Now, if you can not be too distracted by this guy and just read the story for what it is, you’ll be plenty entertained. The opening panel will make you laugh out loud. Hell, the way the cops act throughout this book is pretty darn ridiculous. As soon as The Freak shows up on the scene, Officer O’Neil almost instantly shoots him in the head! What’s up with him not being suspended or put on leave while an investigation takes place?! Like I said, it’s ridiculous, and yet funny as hell.

There’s other plot points touched upon like Jameson finally getting a copy of the Daily Bugle, DB finally calling Peter by his proper name, and Carly’s father running for mayor, but most of this issue is centered around The Freak, his transformation, and his revenge against Spider-Man. I really can’t give anymore accolades to Phil Jimenez. He’s a stunning artist – perfect for Spider-Man. I don’t know if he designed The Freak or not, but I suppose Jimenez is drawing him as well as he can.

As the last page begs the hilarious question: Does Marvel hate politicians so much that they’re going to kill another? We’ll find out next, week! The book is still fun, no doubt about it. But it’s very hard to overlook the book’s one glaring flaw: The Freak. (Grade: B-)

– J. Montes

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