Making sense of this Spider-Man world.

Making sense of this Spider-Man world.

Peter David

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Web of Spider-Man #43 (1988)

“Cult of Love, Part 4: Autodafe, or…Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”

Rating: 4/5

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Alex Saviuk

Peter and the gang manage to make lots of progress in deprogramming Betty. Then a bunch of the members of the cult break into Flash’s apartment and attack. Flash, Peter, and Betty are kidnapped, but the reverend manages to escape. At the cult house, somebody accidentally starts a fire and in the confusion, Peter breaks free and frees the others. They escape the burning house, but the leader of the cult isn’t so lucky as he’s caught in falling debris.

Web of Spider-Man #42 (1988)

“Cult of Love, Part 3: Pressure”

Rating: 3/5

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Alex Saviuk

Peter doesn’t know whether or not he’s convinced that what he saw was real. He’s not even sure he should take Betty out of this place, because she seems to happy and at peace. The leader tells him he knows he’s Spider-Man (or at least came in dressed as Spider-Man earlier) and then tells him to leave and think about joining. MJ has cold feet about doing the lingerie shoot, but after a brush off from Peter on the phone, decides wholeheartedly to do it. Flash gets help from the reverend to go capture Betty. Flash and a team of SWAT-looking guys break into the compound and kidnap Betty. Flash calls Peter, who shows up to find Flash and the reverend with Betty tied to a chair.

Web of Spider-Man #41 (1988)

“Cult of Love, Part 2: That Old-Time Religion”

Rating: 3/5

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Alex Saviuk

Spider-Man’s being chased by the cult members and Betty pulls his mask off, but he manages to give them the slip by getting in a vent. Ben Urich and Flash Thompson investigate the cult. Peter ducks into a supply closet and puts on a cult uniform, then blends in with the other members to keep an eye on Betty. Ben and Flash meet with a reverend to find out more about the cult. The reverend tells them that the cult leader is a con artist. He pretends to be able to perform miracles. Peter watches one of these shows and looks like he fell for it. MJ’s friend convinces her to do a lingerie shoot.

Web of Spider-Man #40 (1988)

“Cult of Love, Part 1: All You Need is Love”

Rating: 4/5

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Alex Saviuk

Another “kidnapped by a cult” story. This time, Betty Leeds is taken in by the “Students of Love” cult and everybody is worried when she’s missing for weeks. When Spider-Man and Flash encounter a welcome wagon from the cult, they are far from loving. Spider-Man and Flash beat the pants off them and send ‘em packing, and then Spidey chases one of them to the big house where they keep all their kidnapees and he finds Betty.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #136 (1988)

“Sin-Eater Released, Part 3: Sin-ister”

Rating: 5/5

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Sal Buscema

Electro takes control of a New York power station and blacks out most of New York. Spidey’s guilt over crippling Stan has made it tough to fight Electro, but inspiring words from MJ and Stan help him go to the power station to face Electro. Stan loses his grip on sanity and Sin-Eater comes back to life. Spider-Man manages to defeat Electro via water and web trickery. Sin-Eater shows up outside and grabs a kid, saying he’ll kill him. When he throws the kid out of his way, the police unleash a fury of gunfire into him. Stan didn’t even load the gun. He just staged it to get himself killed so the Sin-Eater couldn’t live anymore.

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