Today we take a look at what is essentially considered to be the final chapter in the Alien Costume Saga. This issue is so chalked full of stuff that I’ll just keep my words to a minimum up here and let the overview below do all the talking except for three little words: The Amazing Bag-Man!
Read on, True Believers….
“THE SINISTER SECRET OF SPIDER-MAN’S NEW COSTUME!”
Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Issue Summary: Mary Jane reveals that she has known all along that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Before Peter can explain himself, Black Cat enters the apartment through a window, prompting Mary Jane to storm out. Peter then accidentally shoots a web at Black Cat while in his civilian clothing which causes him great concern as he didn’t know the Alien Costume could shoot web while not in the guise of Spider-Man.
In New Mexico, Puma starts gathering intel on Spider-Man.
After repairing his damaged apartment and endless unanswered phone calls to Mary Jane, Peter falls asleep in a chair. We see the Alien Costume envelope Peter and prowl the night with his body while Peter is in a dream state. During a dream sequence, Peter is caught in the middle of battle between his new black costume and his original red & blue costume. Now physically back in his bed, Peter wakes up just before the two costumes manage to tear him in half.
Spider-Man finally pays a visit to Mr. Fantastic to have his new costume analysed. After a series of tests, Mr. Fantastic determines that the Alien Costume is actually a highly evolved symbiote that has attached itself both mentally and physically to Spider-Man. In a panic, Spider-Man attempts to remove the costume but fails until the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic use flames and a sonic gun to trap the symbiote.
Hobgoblin proposes an alliance with the Rose to exact revenge on Spider-Man and to overthrow the Kingpin of crime.
The Human Torch digs up one of his old Fantastic Four outfits and lends it to Spider-Man so he can make his way home. With no mask available, Spider-Man is forced to wear a paper bag on his head and as luck would have it, he had to intervene in a police shootout with liquor store robbers.
Mary Jane visits Peter at his apartment to talk, while we see the symbiote thrashing in his containment cell at the Baxter Building.
Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:
- Page 1 – Peter Parke, Spectacular Spider-Man #94 & #95
- Page 1 – Amazing Spider-Man #256 & #257
- Page 2 – Amazing Spider-Man #257
- Page 4 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
- Page 6 – Amazing Spider-Man #257
- Page 15 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
- Page 21 – Thor #349
Notable Character Appearances:
- Black Cat
- Human Torch
- Jenna Taylor
- Mary Jane Watson
- Mr. Fantastic
Blogger’s Thoughts: It’s kind of funny because my first introduction to the Alien Costume Saga actually came from the 1990’s Spider-Man Animated series. In that story, the symbiote was a stowaway on a space shuttle returning from the moon and it latched onto Spider-Man when he rescued the pilots after it crash landed. Then later on, when Peter found out the costume was alive; he used the bells of a church tower to drive it away (and effectively into the “welcoming arms” of a disgruntled Eddie Brock). The Spider-Man 3 live-action movie also followed a similar plot for the Alien Costume. In contrast, the original version from the Amazing Spider-Man comic book ends with a little less of a bang. In its defence though, it would be almost 4 years before readers were be introduced to the villainous Venom which was the result of the symbiote bonding with its second human host, Eddie Brock. Truncating and then expanding the saga like the animated series and live-action film did does heighten the impact of Peter and the symbiote parting ways compared to what the reader will experience in this issue.
Ron Frenz got to flex his artistic muscles a little more in this issue as it contains many drama filled moments that required the artist to convey a range of emotions through facial expressions. Mary Jane and Peter looked great in this issue. Changing Peter’s look to his former one from those early (Steve Ditko) issues during the dream sequence was a brilliant touch. Even with all of his amazing powers, Peter Parker still subconsciously sees himself as that socially awkward bookworm from high school.
Amazing Spider-Man #258 was another pivitol issue packed with content provided by Tom DeFalco and executed perfectly by Ron Frenz, Josef Rubinstein and Bob Sharen.
Who knew that even 30 years later, people would still fondly remember Peter Parker being the butt end of Johnny Storm’s joke by having to wear a Fantastic Four uniform with a paper bag on his head and a “Kick Me” sign on his back. The Amazing Bag-Man!
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