Peter Parker: Spider-Man (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
March 1999
Story Title: 

Howard Mackie (writer), John Romita jr & Scott Hana (pencils), Gregory Wright (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Liz Agraphiotis (letters), Ralph Macchio (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Betty Brant and Ben Urich interview various eyewitnesses about a battle they just saw between Spider-Man, Iceman and the villain Shadrac. After they ended Shadrac’s enormous pain he had had since getting his new powers, he thanked the heroes and continued his job, going after a man named Dolman. The battle led into the sewers, where they found Dolman threatening an old man, who had stole his Stipple device from him, and wanted to take it back. Believing the old man’s story that Dolman would use it for evil, the heroes decide to help him out. Shadrac had a change of heart after Bobby and Spidey used their combined powers again to stop his pain, and seemingly sacrificed his life to stop Dolman. The heroes and the old man escaped to the surface, and recovered. However, Dolman and Shadrac still live, though as a whole new person. Thanks to his new powers the Gathering had given him, Shadrac had used his old Override powers to merge together with Dolman, and can now prevent whatever evil he might try to do in the future.

Full Summary: 

A snowy, January day in midtown, Manhattan…

Betty interviews an eye witness, who has just seen a team-up battle with Spider-Man and Iceman, who fought the villain known as Shadrac! After putting the advances of Snagel, the witness, aside, Betty finally manages to get the man to tell his story.

Iceman and Spidey came face to face with the flaming skeletal maniac, who had earlier informed the two heroes that he couldn’t control his powers. So, he had come up with the idea to freeze his blood to put them out. And since they had no better idea, Iceman went for it. While Spider-Man webbed Shadrac up, Iceman stuck his hands into the skeleton, and used his powers on the guy. However, while the plan goes as expected, and fails. The ice and a heavy wind blow both heroes to the back of the street, and they wait until the smoke clears to find out what happened to Shadrac.

Shadrac merges triumphantly, claiming he feels a lot better now, though he might not look like it thanks to his skeleton. He explains that the pain he received after the so-called gift he had earlier got after foolishly trusting Norman Osborn and his Gathering of Five, namely the Living Death, finally isn’t so bad anymore. Shadrac finds some bandages, and wraps his face and part of his body up in it. He mentions that Dolman had sent him to find the Pawnbroker and, since too much time has already been lost, Shadrac takes off to continue his job. A confused Spidey and Iceman follow their adversary, realizing that if Osborn really is involved, things are probably not good.

Snagel claims that that’s everything he saw, and once again asks Betty out, but she says no. Meanwhile, Ben Urich is also trying to get more info about the battle, and interviews the stubborn Ms. Stipple. She has read Urich’s work at the Bugle, and isn’t impressed by it. Faking that he’ll do his best to get the Bugle to refund her money, Ben convinces Stipple to tell her story. Stipple was shopping at the pawnshop, looking at the fine jewelry they had there, until things got weird.

The wall behind her exploded, and Shadrac came through it, still followed by Spider-Man and Iceman. Spidey told Stipple to stay calm and, before she fainted, Stipple could see them all disappear through a trap door. In the crowd also stands a confused Mary Jane. She is spotted by Daily Bugle fashion reporter Judy, and she asks MJ what she thinks about this all. MJ isn’t sure. Her car had just stopped when being caught in traffic on the way to the airport, so MJ decided to come see what was wrong. Judy informs her that Spider-Man was involved, and since her boss, Jameson, hates the guy, Judy wants a second opinion. MJ defends that she isn’t sure, but truly believes that Spider-Man is one of the few heroes who’s being treated like a criminal, and always has been misunderstood. She ends the interview, and continues her way.

Jameson arrives and calls MJ names, thinking she knows nothing about Spider-Man. He notices three odd-looking people and walks over to them, asking what they think they’re doing. Terry Kwan explains that she and her friends are from the Tricorp Foundation, who try to study the nature of Spider-Man’s powers. Jameson is all for examining on Spider-Man of course, but that’s not up to Flash Thompson. He too was standing in the watching crowd, and tries to change Jameson’s mind on Spider-Man by saying he’s the greatest hero this city will ever have. Jameson calls Flash stupid, and to go away, since Osborn’s no longer in charge of the Bugle and Flash no longer of any use to him. Flash gets the picture and, after again telling Jameson that he truly is wrong about both him and Spider-Man, he takes goodbye from Betty and leaves.

Judy has caught everything on tape, but Jameson erases it, thinking it’s not worth a print. He wants to go explore the story himself and interviews a nearby hobo, who claims to have seen everything. He even agrees to tell Jameson all about it, so Jameson stands ready with his tape recorder. The hobo explains that he was lying in the sewers to sleep, like he has for a few years now, until he saw an old man descending the ladder and running away. Next, an explosion followed. The poor man jumped away, and next saw another man following. Since he looked like the type not to mess with, the hobo chose to not.

Spider-Man, Iceman and Shadrac also followed, and after recognizing the two heroes, the hobo followed them. He found the super powered characters in a big cavern deeper down the sewers, and the cavern had a deep chasm in the middle. The creepy-looking man had the old man in his holding grip, and it looked like the others weren’t happy with the development, Spider-Man and Iceman included.

The man named Dolman, who surrounded himself with pure energy, ordered the heroes to back off and leave, claiming these events weren’t of their concern. But he wanted Shadrac to stay and have words with him after having finished with the old man. Dolman further mentioned that Obsorn and the old man had stole something which rightfully belonged to him for much longer than any of the heroes might believe. Dolman just wanted to take it back and prevent Obsorn from trapping him in the chasm behind them.

The old man claims otherwise, and explains that if Dolman touches the Spindle device he stole, he would be too powerful and destroy the entire city. The old man believes that this is true, since he gained the knowledge from the Ceremony. Spidey agrees to help the old man instead, and so does Bobby, because the X-Men owe Dolman for the trouble he had given the X-Men a few years back.

Dolman shouts that he isn’t their average villain, and that the Spindle truly belongs to him, as they have been one for many years. Plus, Dolman obtains a bit of each of the Five Gift’s powers, and also knows how to use them. Dolman uses a blast to blow both Spidey and Iceman to the back of the room. A concerned Shadrac follows them, informing that it’s not wise to go up against Dolman without a plan. He thinks to know what to do, but isn’t able to explain, since his pain gets worse again. Dolman has attacked him with one of his electrical powers, and tells Shadrac that he seems to have forgotten one other side of his years in contact with the center piece, and that the center piece contains all the powers.

Dolman makes Shadrac remember that he made the man into what he is today and made a name for him, after that rather ridiculous former identity as Override. Shadrac can’t fight the pain anymore and won’t be anyone’s puppet any longer. Shadrac warns Spidey and Bobby to run away. He unleashes an awesome amount of fire through the room, but Dolman still stands, laughing. Shadrac tries another attack, but Dolman explains that Shadrac can’t defeat him, since he has only gotten a meager amount of powers from the Gathering. Spidey and Iceman decide to go help Shadrac, and Bobby prepares to protect them behind one of his ice shields, but Shadrac has heard them and knocks them out with his powers.

Spidey realizes what’s going on, and orders Bobby to grab his wrist and freeze it. Bobby panics, but does as told. Once frozen up, Spidey shoots some of his webs against Shadrac, trapping him. But now Spidey’s webs are made of ice and, since it’s so many of them and they have captured Shadrac, he thanks Spider-Man, as he has silenced his pain once more. Dolman senses the power of the Spindle and decides to go after it. He uses his powers to make the cave around them collapse, giving him the chance to escape. The old man warns the heroes not to let Dolman escape, fearing it might turn out as a disaster. Shadrac warns the heroes to take the old man and leave, promising he’ll finish it.

They do as told, and Shadrac confronts Dolman. Realizing he won’t be strong enough to defeat Dolman in this state, Shadrac decides to use his old Override powers instead, and manages to defeat the villain! After Spider-Man and Iceman have managed to get into safety, they watch the cavern explode, with fire coming out of the small openings.

The hobo stops his story. Jameson thanks him, but wants to know how the hobo escaped. His mood changes and feels pain, and decides to leave. Jameson turns around, and meets up with Spider-Man and Iceman. He’s angry with them for almost ruining the city and tells them he knows all about it, thanks to the hobo who saw everything. Spidey and Bobby are confused, since they never saw the hobo. Jameson tries to introduce them, but he’s already gone!

The hobo has disappeared into the crowd, and reveals himself to be… Dolman! Dolman is glad to have escaped, though an unfortunate thing has happened. He suddenly transforms into Shadrac, who explains that Dolman can now no longer escape him, since now they are one. As a consequence of the Gathering, Shadrac’s powers have expanded and can override whatever evil Dolman tries to do from now on. He transforms back into Dolman, who feels sad about his loss, and wanders off.

Characters Involved: 


Mary Jane Watson




J. Jonah Jameson

Betty Brant, Ben Urich, Judy Lumley (Daily Bugle reporters)

Flash Thompson

Byron Snagel, Doris Stipple (eye witnesses to the Shadrac battle)

Dr. Thorson, Javier, Terry Kwan (Tricorp scientists)

various bystanders (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Greg Herd as Shadrac, and witnesses Byron Snagel and Doris Stipple.

Shadrac first appeared as Override in Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1. He worked together with his wife, Annie, who is known in the underworld as Aura. They were in a group of mercenaries formed by Lady Octopus. After being defeated by Spider-Man, they both became bounty hunters, though in another confrontation Annie was badly injured and her life now depended on a hospital machine. Greg didn’t know what to do, but Norman Osborn, Spider-Man’s mortal enemy, came with a solution. Greg eventually gave into the offer to pay for the expensive doctor bills, and became Shadrac and part of Osborn’s Gathering Five group.

Issue Information: 
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