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  1. #61
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Taking a detour for Amazing Fantasy #1000, which seems appropriate if today is Spider-Man day.

    It's an anthology of stories dealing with Spider-Man's legacy with impressive creative teams.
    My favorite story is Dan Slott & Jim Cheung's Sinister 60th, for how well-established the 60 year old Peter Parker is and for telling an appropriate story about a significant challenge. In the context of what's going on in the regular Amazing Spider-Man comics, it's nice to see him happily married in the future. So much happens in 8 pages, and I'm not even getting into the little details.
    Michael Cho tells a story of a crook who Spider-Man keeps fighting, and why that matters. It's well-told, and the visuals are amazing.
    Armando Iannucci (Veep, The Death of Stalin) and Ryan Stegman tell a story about a new villain for the modern era. It's short enough that it avoids the commentary getting grating, and they put some thought into the background of the villain.
    Rainbow Rowell & Oliver Coipel tell a story about Peter trying something new as a photographer. It's pleasant.
    Ho Che Anderson & Giuseppe Camuncoli might have the weirdest story, as a woman with psychotic fears of spiders is saved by a guy dressed like them. It has decent horror vibes, a generous understanding of struggles with mental illness and a fair take on Spidey.
    Kurt Busiek & Terry Dodson bring back someone from another story from Amazing Fantasy #15, which is a cute idea. The story works, with Spidey coming up with a solution over an enemy who outclasses him.
    Jonathan Hickman & Marco Checchetto feature Spider-Man trying to get advice from different dimension's spider-men. This might be divisive for the focus on why things usually don't work out for Peter, although there's a good explanation of the Parker luck. This is a departure in style for Checchetto, whose work with colorist Frank Martin seems painted. It's astounding.

    Neil Gaiman & Steve McNiven add some context to Neil's famous encounter with Ditko. McNiven's work looks quite different than usual, although it's appropriate for the material and emphasizes the difference between the real world and Spider-Man's world.

    The last piece is from an unpublished mini-series written by Mike Pasciullo, who passed away after 18 years of working for Marvel's publicity department. Todd Nauck illustrates it, and it's a decent sequence with Spider-Man giving advice to a newbie hero.
    A
    Last edited by Mister Mets; 08-07-2023 at 12:12 PM.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  2. #62
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    So we have two consecutive single issue stories tying into major events.

    Amazing Spider-Man #9

    This one is the Hellfire Gala. There's an excuse for bringing Spider-Man into this, as Mary Jane has a professional connection to the X-Men and it makes sense for Logan to send Peter an invitation as a prank. This issue ends up being important to the Peter/ MJ story, considering that this is the most time they spend together in year one of this run. The argument at the end is a departure from their more civil exchange in a previous issue, so that is jarring.
    Otherwise, I didn't care for the main story. Moira Mactaggert possesses Mary Jane's body as part of a plan against the X-Men, which immediately connects this to her convoluted backstory. I don't have much of a sense of the stakes with the main fight scenes pitting Spider-Man and Wolverine against generic henchmen.
    It highlights an issue with crossovers. They have to work for readers who barely know what's going on in another book, are following that other book carefully or have an incomplete knowledge of what's going on in the other books. I read the first few months of the Hickman era X-Men books, which may be relatively hard to write for, since I'll have a decent understanding of some stuff (Why is Moira Mactaggert so different than she was in the Claremont run?) but there are other things that would be a bit different than I remember, since the status quo would've changed a little bit in the months of comics before the Hellfire Gala. Another issue is the structure on a month-long crossover where you see different strands in different issues. The X-Men: Hellfire Gala one-shot probably explains enough about what's going on with them, but you shouldn't need to read it to appreciate what's going on in a Spider-Man issue.
    Patrick Gleason's art is fine, but this is the worst issue of the run (probably including the Beyond era.) The A-plot is just dull. There are some okay gags about Spider-Man being out of place with the world of the X-Men, but it's a meh issue.
    C



    Amazing Spider-Man #10
    This tie-in is much better. I haven't read Judgment Day, but the story here remains accessible, and the way it affects Spider-Man's world is powerful. Once you've got the gist of Celestials judging humanity and taking the forms of people important to them, it's a good way to push Peter and leads to some nice moments with how the supporting cast handles the same challenge. And there's fun responses from Marvel civilians. It feels a bit like an issue of Marvels, which is the perfect approach for an event tie-in.

    Nick Dragotta joins for this issue, and he's solid. He's great at facial expressions, so he's able to depict people reacting to extraordinary circumstances, and has a suitably imposing take on the judges, even if the forms they take may be innocuous.
    Jonah gets in a pretty big scene, and I am starting to wonder if John Romita Jr doesn't like drawing the character given how he's a regular presence in the run, except for the issues drawn by the main artist.
    And this is the issue where it becomes clear that the most important supporting character is Norman Osborn. He appears in most stories, and is a regular presence in Peter's life. In fairness, the concept of a cleansed murderer trying to make good is fine.
    A
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  3. #63
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Amazing Spider-Man #11-13
    Obviously John Romita Jr has a history with Goblins, so it definitely makes sense to have him on this story. He drew the first Hobgoblin stories in the 80s. He drew a redesign in the 90s, while illustrating multiple conflicts with the Norman Osborn Green Goblin. He illustrated the big story with the defeat of Menace in 2009. He might have the best record on the planet for drawing impressive goblin fight scenes, and it continues here.
    This is a mythos heavy story, tying in Roderick Kingsley to ongoing stories involving Ned Leeds (resurrected in Nick Spencer's run), Norman Osborn and a character from the Beyond storyline.

    It's pretty decent. I like Peter catching up on Betty & Ned, the trap Ned finds himself in and his delusional mannerisms. There are some good fight scenes with the Hobgoblin, and the story brings back the initial mystery and unpredictability, given the secrets behind the surface. It ends with a cliffhanger, although there will likely be a follow-up, and it does end with the reader aware of what's going on, even if some characters might not know how to get out of a bad situation.
    Norman Osborn continues to be the main supporting character, although it works for a goblins story.
    The highlight may be a conversation between Spider-Man & the Black Cat, which takes into account their history and where they might go next.
    B+



    * Edit- This is a story where someone saves Spider-Man, although he was outnumbered at the time.
    Last edited by Mister Mets; 08-03-2023 at 08:06 AM.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  4. #64
    Mighty Member Alex_Of_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Amazing Spider-Man #10
    This tie-in is much better. I haven't read Judgment Day, but the story here remains accessible, and the way it affects Spider-Man's world is powerful. Once you've got the gist of Celestials judging humanity and taking the forms of people important to them, it's a good way to push Peter and leads to some nice moments with how the supporting cast handles the same challenge. And there's fun responses from Marvel civilians. It feels a bit like an issue of Marvels, which is the perfect approach for an event tie-in.

    Nick Dragotta joins for this issue, and he's solid. He's great at facial expressions, so he's able to depict people reacting to extraordinary circumstances, and has a suitably imposing take on the judges, even if the forms they take may be innocuous.
    Jonah gets in a pretty big scene, and I am starting to wonder if John Romita Jr doesn't like drawing the character given how he's a regular presence in the run, except for the issues drawn by the main artist.
    And this is the issue where it becomes clear that the most important supporting character is Norman Osborn. He appears in most stories, and is a regular presence in Peter's life. In fairness, the concept of a cleansed murderer trying to make good is fine.
    A
    imho a crucial, under-examined issue in understanding Peter's shifting headspace under Zeb's pen.

    all the way up to issue #9 we get a slow rollout of the Peter-MJ-Paul mystery, with the big blowout between Peter and MJ in #9. We don't know the details, but we know that he want to be close to her again, and she doesn't. If nothing else, that's very clear.

    Meanwhile the Felicia\Peter attraction is simmering. She helps him outta a funk in World Without Love, then initiates a kiss in #900. Peter's receptive, but more stunned than anything.

    Finally, we get Ghost-Gwen in #10. The other girl. She sees him with superhuman clarity, and judges him worthy. The celestial brings real deal Gwen for a spell, and she confirms it. Peter's gonna be okay.

    "Your heart...is full, open and alive."

    The very next issue, Spidey asks Felicia out on a date. He's serious in making it work between them, as he is ready to move on from keeping a candle on the window for MJ. It's such a profound shift that I'm genuinely floored that Zeb and Nick Draggota make it work (for me!) within the 20-page confines of a freaking guest artist cross-over tie-in. Top tier talent stuff

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post




    * Edit- This is a story where someone saves Spider-Man, although he was outnumbered at the time.
    The tumbling word balloons in the panel of Peter rolling across the floor make me very, very happy. Comics!!!

  5. #65
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Of_X View Post
    imho a crucial, under-examined issue in understanding Peter's shifting headspace under Zeb's pen.

    all the way up to issue #9 we get a slow rollout of the Peter-MJ-Paul mystery, with the big blowout between Peter and MJ in #9. We don't know the details, but we know that he want to be close to her again, and she doesn't. If nothing else, that's very clear.

    Meanwhile the Felicia\Peter attraction is simmering. She helps him outta a funk in World Without Love, then initiates a kiss in #900. Peter's receptive, but more stunned than anything.

    Finally, we get Ghost-Gwen in #10. The other girl. She sees him with superhuman clarity, and judges him worthy. The celestial brings real deal Gwen for a spell, and she confirms it. Peter's gonna be okay.

    "Your heart...is full, open and alive."

    The very next issue, Spidey asks Felicia out on a date. He's serious in making it work between them, as he is ready to move on from keeping a candle on the window for MJ. It's such a profound shift that I'm genuinely floored that Zeb and Nick Draggota make it work (for me!) within the 20-page confines of a freaking guest artist cross-over tie-in. Top tier talent stuff
    It's hard to look at the Black Cat romance in this run as anything but a huge misfire.

  6. #66
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    It's with these issues I feel like you start to see that Wells seems incapable of letting Peter be really useful or actually taking care of stuff on his own because in the Hellfire Gala issue he defers to the X-Men's lead and barely contributes anything and in the Hobgoblin arc he has to get saved by Norman. And it gets worse from here.

    More continued character assassination of MJ. At least she had some contribution to leading the X-Men to her.

    Dragotta's faces felt a little too plastic-y and sameface to me. Also Peter doing all this hero stuff but it feels hollow when it feels like he's doing it because the Gwen Ghost is following him. Wells Peter just feels like he's going through the motions.

    Wells can not write Kamala Khan.

    Also Felicia acts like he's being confident and mature in asking her out yet he still comes off like a wussy guy chasing a rebound. If she didn't have passionate feelings for him I don't think she'd ever give him the time of day, Peter's mostly just lucky but it feels like he's taking advantage of Felicia to a certain extent.

  7. #67
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    It'll be interesting to see the perspective of someone who clearly likes this run talk about Dark Web and then Dead Language. (With a few issues by another writer nestled in between those two stories.)

    https://leagueofcomicgeeks.com/comic...ing-spider-man

    The League of Comic Geeks ratings got lower and lower with Dark Web and Dead Language. The recent Doc Ock story picked things up somewhat, but the annual got a middling score.

  8. #68
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Getting to the Dark Web preludes...

    Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man/ Venom Special 2022
    This is a preview of "Dark Web" where John Romita Jr draws Spider-Man saving a guy from a mailbox, and then trying to explain himself after.
    It's funny. It's gotta be fun for the artists, so I'm glad John Romita Jr got to do this sequence. I'd like to imagine that he had a few good days doing it.
    It's obvious that this is a retread of the early 90s (maybe late 80s) crossover Inferno, where Todd Macfarlane and Sal Buscema drew similar sequences in their books. This is something we've seen before, but on the other hand, we've also seen stories with Hobgoblin before (hell, we've seen stories with multiple Hobgoblins) so whether it's a remake is not going to factor too much into my thoughts on the comic.
    B+



    Amazing Spider-Man #14
    A prelude issue revealing what Ben Reilly has been up to since the Beyond story. The seasons format is clever, and provides an excuse to bring in multiple artists, which is a win-win (it's not as much of a commitment for an individual artist and it makes for a faster turnaround.)
    "Spring" with Michael Dowling gets to the question of why Janine would stick with Ben and there's a good sense of reacting as best they can to confused circumstances. The art's a bit bland.
    "Summer" with Kyle Hotz shows how Ben met Madelyne Pryor, tying it into Beyond and getting to the obvious connection. Hotz's style works for Ben's state of mind, and the craziness in limbo. We do get another clue about what Peter did before #1, with Ben thinking it's nuts that Peter is working with Norman Osborn to save the love of his life. I like that aside.
    "Fall" with Terry Dodson gives the origin of Hallows Eve. It builds on what Janine would be worried about, and the tools she has at her disposal after months in limbo.

    "Winter" with Ryan Stegman resolves the story of the debt collector, as Ben falls off the deep end, while believing himself to be in the right. It's a tricky sell, but it works for me, especially with Ben thanking Madeyline for all she's done for him.
    All in all, it's a decent prelude/ info-dump/ origin for a spinoff character.
    A-
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Amazing Spider-Man #14
    A prelude issue revealing what Ben Reilly has been up to since the Beyond story. The seasons format is clever, and provides an excuse to bring in multiple artists, which is a win-win (it's not as much of a commitment for an individual artist and it makes for a faster turnaround.)
    "Spring" with Michael Dowling gets to the question of why Janine would stick with Ben and there's a good sense of reacting as best they can to confused circumstances. The art's a bit bland.
    "Summer" with Kyle Hotz shows how Ben met Madelyne Pryor, tying it into Beyond and getting to the obvious connection. Hotz's style works for Ben's state of mind, and the craziness in limbo. We do get another clue about what Peter did before #1, with Ben thinking it's nuts that Peter is working with Norman Osborn to save the love of his life. I like that aside.
    "Fall" with Terry Dodson gives the origin of Hallows Eve. It builds on what Janine would be worried about, and the tools she has at her disposal after months in limbo.

    "Winter" with Ryan Stegman resolves the story of the debt collector, as Ben falls off the deep end, while believing himself to be in the right. It's a tricky sell, but it works for me, especially with Ben thanking Madeyline for all she's done for him.
    All in all, it's a decent prelude/ info-dump/ origin for a spinoff character.
    A-
    Is this the issue with the absolutely ludicrous resolution to the debt collector subplot?
    1312

  10. #70
    Really Feeling It! Kevinroc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan View Post
    Is this the issue with the absolutely ludicrous resolution to the debt collector subplot?
    Yes. That happens in issue #14.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinroc View Post
    Yes. That happens in issue #14.
    Every time I see someone praise this run, I think of that completely inane way to resolve a subplot and wonder if we’re reading the same books.
    1312

  12. #72
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Dark Web: Dusk/ Amazing Spider-Man #15-18/ Dark Web: Dawn
    It's a reasonably accessible structure for a crossover, bookended by two specials with Adam Kubert on art and the main events in Amazing Spider-Man illustrated by Ed McGuiness. There are side stories with Gold Goblin, Ms. Marvel, Venom, the X-Men and MJ/ Black Cat. There was a similar approach to Spider-Verse years back. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I remember Secret Invasion being weaker than the Avengers and Mighty Avengers issues by the same writer, since those fleshed out what comic readers didn't know they should care about.


    Dark Web #1 or Dusk begins with a nightmare sequence which gets in to Ben's mindset. Peter & friends honor Harry's memory at the coffee bean, and we get some ribbing with Jonah, a gentle scene with MJ (this is the better approach with the character than the end of Issue 9) and Norman's discomfort with everything. Madelyne Pryor has Venom on her side. The X-Men are in New York for Christmas, which is a bit old-fashioned, but pleasant. I like Madelyn Pryor's spell's connection to music and some of the examples of things going weird in the Inferno retread. Chasm attacks Gold Goblin and old-fashioned Venom is back. It's a promising opening and works with Kubert's style.


    In the main Spider-Man comics, the weirdness definitely works with McGuinness's very different cartoony style. There are plenty of fun sequences, with things continuing to get demonic (a baby-stroller tries to eat a baby) and I do like the resolution of the Spider-Man VS Venom fight, and Ben's version of events from the last issue of Beyond. As a general rule, I like Wells' take on Spider-Man's voice, especially when Spidey's frustrated.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  13. #73
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Spider-Man spends a few issues in limbo with Robbie and Jonah (Robbie's more of an afterthought, but Jonah has some good moments responding to all the weirdness and forced to play-act for demons.) Some demons are turned into weird variants of Spider-Man enemies, and a demon Spidey saves is inspired to become Rek-rap. There's a theory that Ed McGuinness likes drawing weird variants of characters (Lots of Bizarro stories in his Superman runs, Red Hulk in his Hulk run, the Spider-Man/ Deadpool fusion in that title) so this plays to his strengths.


    Madelyne Pryor seems to have changed her mind due to events in the Dark Web: X-Men mini-series, pushing Ben/ Chasm to go rogue. That leads to a final showdown, which is a relatively standard crossover structure, but it often works.
    The big finale one-shot works as a conclusion to the Amazing Spider-Man issues of Dark Web, as well as the Gold Goblin, Ms Marvel and X-Men mini-series. The details remain accessible even if I'm not eager to read Venom or the X-Men mini-series just yet. The big battle royale is okay, but just not as clever as other sequences in the same storyline.
    Grade: B


    There is a weirdness here about time. There's a news report talking about people old enough to remember Inferno, but due to the sliding timescale, that would be like five years ago. It'd be like a reporter talking about people old enough to remember the few seconds La La Land won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
    Amazing Spider-Man #14 suggested that Inferno kicks off with winter, but here it starts with December 13, just before. And Wells' next story in Amazing Spider-Man kicks off with a sudden snowstorm on a day that's supposed to be in the 70s.
    That kinda takes me out of the story, although it's more of a pet peeve that's often weird with most comics shared in shared universes. Movies are able to use time-sensitive events as story engines, mainly because the characters don't have that many adventures, and it works in TV, although that may be about there being more content, and generally close to real-time (with exceptions like 24 or Succession.)
    I sometimes think that if I was EIC, I would mandate consistency, so that comics published 2025-2028 would cover one calendar year, and there would be some kind of organized chart about when events occur in relation to one another (I wouldn't kick off my stint this way, just in case that might interfere with existing stories.)

    Before I tackle Dead Language, I'll go for the Mary Jane & Black Cat mini-series, Gold Goblin mini-series, Dark Web: Ms. Marvel, Slott/ Bagley's End of Spider-Verse, the Joe Kelly/ Terry Dodson fill-in story. I might also reread Amazing Spider-Man #555-557, since that story introduces the main bad guy.

    So far, the stories do make sense and seem to have a consistent flow, but it's a bit odd to have this big crossover at this point in Wells' run. We get a showdown between Peter and Ben Reilly, which is something we kind of need after the end of Chasm, but it is a bit weird with the Peter Parker side of things, especially with Norman Osborn mainly off to his mini-series and Mary Jane & Black Cat mainly off to theirs. The main narrative for Amazing Spider-Man focuses on Peter's relationships with Ben Reilly & J Jonah Jameson, which is fine, but doesn't do the best job of seeding Wells' next storyline, which has a lot of hype.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post


    Spider-Man spends a few issues in limbo with Robbie and Jonah (Robbie's more of an afterthought, but Jonah has some good moments responding to all the weirdness and forced to play-act for demons.) Some demons are turned into weird variants of Spider-Man enemies, and a demon Spidey saves is inspired to become Rek-rap. There's a theory that Ed McGuinness likes drawing weird variants of characters (Lots of Bizarro stories in his Superman runs, Red Hulk in his Hulk run, the Spider-Man/ Deadpool fusion in that title) so this plays to his strengths.


    Madelyne Pryor seems to have changed her mind due to events in the Dark Web: X-Men mini-series, pushing Ben/ Chasm to go rogue. That leads to a final showdown, which is a relatively standard crossover structure, but it often works.
    The big finale one-shot works as a conclusion to the Amazing Spider-Man issues of Dark Web, as well as the Gold Goblin, Ms Marvel and X-Men mini-series. The details remain accessible even if I'm not eager to read Venom or the X-Men mini-series just yet. The big battle royale is okay, but just not as clever as other sequences in the same storyline.
    Grade: B


    There is a weirdness here about time. There's a news report talking about people old enough to remember Inferno, but due to the sliding timescale, that would be like five years ago. It'd be like a reporter talking about people old enough to remember the few seconds La La Land won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
    Amazing Spider-Man #14 suggested that Inferno kicks off with winter, but here it starts with December 13, just before. And Wells' next story in Amazing Spider-Man kicks off with a sudden snowstorm on a day that's supposed to be in the 70s.
    That kinda takes me out of the story, although it's more of a pet peeve that's often weird with most comics shared in shared universes. Movies are able to use time-sensitive events as story engines, mainly because the characters don't have that many adventures, and it works in TV, although that may be about there being more content, and generally close to real-time (with exceptions like 24 or Succession.)
    I sometimes think that if I was EIC, I would mandate consistency, so that comics published 2025-2028 would cover one calendar year, and there would be some kind of organized chart about when events occur in relation to one another (I wouldn't kick off my stint this way, just in case that might interfere with existing stories.)

    Before I tackle Dead Language, I'll go for the Mary Jane & Black Cat mini-series, Gold Goblin mini-series, Dark Web: Ms. Marvel, Slott/ Bagley's End of Spider-Verse, the Joe Kelly/ Terry Dodson fill-in story. I might also reread Amazing Spider-Man #555-557, since that story introduces the main bad guy.

    So far, the stories do make sense and seem to have a consistent flow, but it's a bit odd to have this big crossover at this point in Wells' run. We get a showdown between Peter and Ben Reilly, which is something we kind of need after the end of Chasm, but it is a bit weird with the Peter Parker side of things, especially with Norman Osborn mainly off to his mini-series and Mary Jane & Black Cat mainly off to theirs. The main narrative for Amazing Spider-Man focuses on Peter's relationships with Ben Reilly & J Jonah Jameson, which is fine, but doesn't do the best job of seeding Wells' next storyline, which has a lot of hype.
    Out of sheer curiosity, what's a Spider-Man story that you utterly hate?

  15. #75
    Extraordinary Member Jman27's Avatar
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    Peter did beat Venom in this event without help now that I'm thinking about it
    Last edited by Jman27; 08-05-2023 at 11:16 AM.
    "He's pure power and doesn't even know it. He's the best of us."-Matt Murdock

    "I need a reason to take the mask off."-Peter Parker

    "My heart half-breaks at how easy it is to lie to him. It breaks all the way when he believes me without question." Felicia Hardy

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