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"A Hot Time In The Old Town" - 22 Pages
The Gathering Of Five Part 2 of 5. Continued from Sensational Spider-Man #32. Continued in Spider-Man #96.
There's only one more issue to go in
this historical titles before the re-boot begins, and the next to last
issue is the second part of The Gathering Of Five storyline that began in
Sensational Spider-Man #32.
In that issue, Norman Osborn has the villain named Override steal him an
ancient fragment of rock, that when combined with the other matching
(puzzle-like) pieces, can grant participants in a ceremony great powers.
But there are also risks involved with the ceremony, and we are all about
to find out soon enough. Spider-Man was unable to stop Override last issue
when distracted with saving some guards from danger that Override placed
them in, but Spidey is back on the case!
The second part of the storyline begins with Spider-Man following the Molten Man through the city, as the Molten Man makes his way through the streets burning everything in his way, including cars, buses, what have you. The Molten Man was last seen in Sensational Spider-Man #5 & Amazing Spider-Man #412. Just why the Molten Man is running amok through the streets of New York is unknown at this point, but Spider-Man tends to find out. The Molten Man seems to be just running without any purpose, not stopping for anything or anyone. Spider-Man has very high doubts that what Molty is doing is on the up and up, based on the fact that he is an employee of Norman Osborn. When Spider-Man catches up to the Molten Man, he tries to talk to him, but Molty ignores his every word and runs right through him and a building. The Molten Man is acting very much like he is sleepwalking or like he has been hypnotized. The Molten Man sets off the sprinkler system inside the building, creating a scalding steam throughout. While Spider-Man saves the people in the building from the steam, the Molten Man gets away, and Spidey is unable to locate him again.
Elsewhere, in a pawn shop in the city, Norman Osborn finds yet another owner of one of the rock fragments necessary to begin the gathering of the five ceremony. The shop owner, named Maxwell, tells Osborn of a 3 out of 5 chance of success from the impending ceremony, but Osborn is very intent on succeeding where many have failed in the past. Back to Spider-Man, where he has learned that he burnt a hole in the ground all the way to the sewer system. Spider-Man begins to see steam, and with the knowledge that it must have been the Molten Man that created the steam. Spider-Man then begins to follow the steam until it becomes to hot for him. He tries to escape through a manhole on the street but is unable to, due to a truck that is parked right on the manhole cover. He eventually gets out, but not before almost tipping the truck over and the people inside it. Spider-Man gets a map of the city where he can look and see where the Molten Man may be heading for. The point to which Spider-Man thinks that the Molten Man is heading for is a pier where Joe Robertson and Alison Mongrain just arrived from France on a steamer. Alison and Joe met at the end of Sensational Spider-Man #32, and it is apparent that Mongrain is privy to some important information. As the two get off the steamer, and explosion occurs knocking them over, the man responsible for the explosion reveals himself as the Molten Man, and he is intent on killing Alison Mongrain. Joe Robertson valiantly tries to stop Raxton, but he is no match for his super strength. Begging for mercy, Alison is close to getting the life beat out of her by the Molten Man, but once again, Robertson tries to be the hero and attacks the Molten Man with a crowbar. Molty whacks him away, and then goes after him again, until Spider-Man swings in to the rescue. Spider-Man prepares for his battle with the Molten Man by covering his fists with some flame resistant webbing, then goes after Raxton and lands the first punch. On the next page, Blade (who looks alot like actor Wesley Snipes) comes out and joins the action...Wait a minute, its an ad for a movie...Anyway, Spider-Man hits the Molten Man again and the battle rages on.
Aside from the fight between Spider-Man and the Molten Man, Alison Mongrain and Joe Robertson have a talk. Alison tells Joe that she has to find Peter Parker, but Joe wants to help Spider-Man in his battle with the Molten Man. Mongrain then threatens to leave without him at that point, changing Robertson's mind. Just as they leave, the pier that Spider-Man and Molty are fighting on begins to collapse due to the Molten Man's extreme heat he is emitting. They both fall into the water below with Spider-Man emerging from the water first. He swims around looking for Raxton, but again cannot seem to find him. Elsewhere, in the office of Norman Osborn, he and Maxwell meet, but are interrupted by a report from a Scrier to Osborn that the Molten Man has failed to kill his "target". After apologizing for the interruption, Osborn and Maxwell add the second piece of the rock fragment to to first one that Osborn had stolen in Sensational Spider-Man #32. It is at this point where we learn about the "gifts" that can be obtained by the gathering of the five ceremony: Ultimate Power, Knowledge, and Immortality are three of the very desirable gifts, but the other two gifts are death and madness. This is the risks taken in the ceremony, but also if a participant lacks the purest of motives, he gifts will never quite be what they seem to be.
Maxwell's last words ending the issue sums it up best: "He who gains the gift he craves may find it, in the end, more a curse than a blessing!" As you can see, things are heating up, and there are now three participants (Osborn, Maxwell, and Override/ Greg Herd). Check out Spider-Man #96 for part three of The Gathering Of Five.