SPIDER-MAN #82-87 (1997-1998)

It’s time for a Friends of Humanity arc.

Paul Stacy enrolls at ESU–he’s the son of Captain Stacy’s brother, and both of them are obsessed with Spider-Man’s role in the death of both Captain and Gwen Stacy. It leads to Paul to get involved with the on-campus faction of the anti-mutant group Friends of Humanity, who hire Shocker to kill Spider-Man and, later, Paul Stacy (when he starts to see signs of the group’s fringey/violent behavior).

After Shocker flees, and Spider-Man tracks down Paul Stacy just in time to stop him from killing himself by jumping off the same bridge where Gwen died at the hands of Green Goblin.

The best part of this arc is #84, which has a rematch between Juggernaut and Spider-Man.

It’s kind of a standalone story, but it does also further the ongoing FoH plot.

Their first battle, in Amazing Spider-Man #229-230, is one of the best stories of all time–and it was also drawn by John Romita Jr, who draws most of the issues covered in this post.

I also liked it when someone called Shocker, “Quilt Man.”

That was funny.

At the end of #86, Trapster–formerly known as Paste Pot Pete–shows up in a new costume and with another good line about having a bonding experience.

Get it? Because he uses glue gun weapons?

And a guy with a shotgun shows up at Aunt Anna’s house, where MJ and Peter are living.

It’s all resolved in #87, with the “hits” on both Spider-Man and Peter Parker being called off, and the big reveal that the Friends of Humanity were funded and supported by Norman Osborn, who basically has become the evil Nick Fury/Kingpin of Crimes Against Spider-Man.

Solid story, with enough ties to overall Marvel Universe continuity to make it relevant beyond itself, but not so much that it gets bogged down or confusing.

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