Amazing Spider-Man #40-42 (2002): 1st Shade

Spidey meets Shade–a guy who has to send someone into a void in order to maintain his human form on Earth. One person per day.

The source of this curse is occult. Jake was in prison with a spellcaster, who he interrupted during a ritual and tried to steal the magical power. The cellmate, Richard Cranston, was unable to stop Jake from stealing it but he was able to divert it into something bad…so this happened to Jake. Spider-Man finds out this origin story while interviewing Cranston…

…while wearing a trenchcoat disguise! (We haven’t seen one of these in a long time!)

Naturally, Spider-Man seeks help from Doctor Strange.


Together they send Jake permanently to that astral void. In so doing, Spider-Man himself takes a trip to the void and is able to return to Earth in Astral form and visit his true love…



Meanwhile, Aunt May tells off J. Jonah Jameson for his coverage of Spider-Man and struggles with whether to tell Mary Jane that Peter is Spider-Man. (MJ knows this already–it’s why she broke up with him.). She also tells Peter to wash his costume.

This is the most straightforward Spider-Man story so far in the JMS run.

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