"The Molten Man Breaks Out!"
Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Giacoia and Hunt.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by P Goldberg.
Superman's a jerk. I know this because there's a website dedicated to the fact.
Sadly, he's not the only one. If there's anything this tale proves, it's that Spider-Man can match him, jerkness for jerkness. Even after he knows why the Molten Man's stealing bits of meteorite, he still keeps trying to stop him. Why? By stopping him he's reducing the chances of Raxton being cured, and therefore increasing his menace.
Speaking of the villain, just what's going on with his speech patterns? One moment he's talking like one of the Kingpin's hired goons, the next he's talking like Dr Doom. It comes across like, in different parts of the tale, he's being written by two different writers who lacked the time to swap notes.
Interesting that, last issue, we were told it was radio-active rocks that were causing Peter Parker's brush with death. This issue we're told it's radiation from Raxton's body. Perhaps Gerry Conway thought better of last month's explanation. After all, would deadly, radio-active meteorites really be publicly displayed in glass cases at a museum? There's no denying it makes more sense to blame it on Moltie instead.
Unfortunately, despite that, the rocks still seem to be heavily radio-active anyway. Looking at inconsistencies in the tale - and in Raxton's speech patterns - I'm wondering if it actually had more than one writer. Did editor Roy Thomas have a hand in some parts? Or could Gerry Conway simply not make his mind up about a number of things? Either way, like the damp squib of a death Raxton endures, it's a somewhat disappointing finale to a tale that started so well.
As for the hospital intern who abandons the seemingly dying Peter Parker, to deal with a, "Much more important," matter, I trust he won't be keeping his job for very long.