Web of Spider-Man (vol 1) #74 VF

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ART ATTACK! PART 2 - ART AND SOUL

Kristy Watson has dragged Peter Parker out to see the hottest performance artist in Manhattan, the young man known only as Spark. Peter finds the entire performance ridiculous. It's then that Spark's monologue is interrupted by a woman named Bora appears on the stage and begins whipping up a freezing wind that threatens to freeze Spark alive. Suddenly, a light bulb appears out of thin air and floats above Spark. When Spark reaches for the bulb he is electrocuted, leaving a charred husk on the stage. This shocks the audience who begins to panic. After Bora warns the audience of the dangers of knowledge, the lights suddenly go out. When they come back on and Spark is on the stage alone, no worse for wear. However, save for Kristy Watson, the audience is not impressed with the performance. Insulted, Spark shouts at the audience, and storms off the stage. With the show over, Peter tells Kristy that they should go and get some refreshments.  Backstage, Spark is still upset at the lukewarm reception he got from the audience. Going over the various sketches of his performance, he rants and raves to Bora about how people cannot appreciate his art. That's when they are interrupted by the villain known as the Painter, their leader. Covered in cockroaches that are chittering in a strange language, the Painter suggests that the problem Spark is facing is looking at things from the wrong perspective. He suggests that if Spark is willing to die for his art, perhaps he should instead kill for it. Outside in the lobby, Peter feels bad for making fun of Kristy, since he brought her here to encourage her interest in the arts after seeing Alicia Master's art exhibit recently.  As he looks around, Peter is surprised to see a painting of a foot wearing a sock with a hole in the big toe. He remembers seeing the painting years ago and wonders how it could still be in circulation.  Peter is then approached by two patrons who mistake him for the artist Peter Nicholas. When they ask Parker his opinion of the work of art, his sense of humor offends the woman who then storm away.  It's then that Kristy catches up with Peter, having found Peter Nicholas. She introduces Peter to Nicholas, who had saved her during Spider-Man's battle with the Headmen.  After introductions are made, Peter makes fun of Kristy for having a crush on Nicholas. Embarrassed, Kristy also storms off, calling Peter a monster.  Parker tells Nicholas not to worry about it, as she was crushing over Spark earlier. Peter Nicholas becomes somber, telling Parker that he has heard some negative things about Spark and his allies.  Back in the dressing room, Spark has the Painter gripped in a headlock and threatens to cut his throat with a straight razor. The Painter uses his magic paint brush to transform Spark's hands into large, useless appendages in order to free himself. After this show of power, the Painter reminds both Spark and Bora that he has gathered them together as the Avant Guard to transcend their own mortality. The Painter intends to use their art to show the masses true enlightenment and uses his magic brush to begin transforming Spark into the embodiment of his own rage. Outside, as Peter Nicholas sketches a picture of Kristy, he tells Parker about the strange stories about the Avant Guard. He tells how they have been involved in strange and arcane rituals. Nicholas also vaguely remembers Bora, but since he has been stricken with amnesia, he can't exactly remember when.  Suddenly, Spark comes crashing into the room, his body massive in size and crackling with electricity. As the crowd flees, Kristy ushers Nicholas out, telling him that Peter needs to stay and take photos for the Daily Bugle.  This gives Peter the opportunity to slip away and change into Spider-Man and face Spark. Although Spark is stronger and can channel electricity, Spider-Man manages to punch him in the nose. Noticing that his nose is bleeding prompts Spark to stop and ponder the artistic merits of using his blood for paint. Tired of Spark's babbling, Spider-Man picks up a stamchion and hits Spark over the head from behind. When Spider-Man webs Spark up, the youth breaks free. The two tussle across the art gallery until they go smashing out a show window out into the street. When Spider-Man tries to land another blow, Spark suddenly vanishes. Spark doesn't go far, as he was summoned back to the dressing room by the Painter. Spark is upset that the Painter had interrupted his performance. However, the Painter explains that they must complete their greatest masterpiece. Pulling a cloth off of a canvass, the Painter works on completing his latest painting which depicts the entire city frozen under tons of ice and snow. The central focus of this painting is none other than Spider-Man who is also depicted as being encased in ice.


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