When I went to pick up my copy of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (which will get it's own blog entry), I decided I'd finally buy a few issues from Howard Mackie's run on Peter Parker: Spider-Man, the one before the '99 reboot. Mackie gets a bad rap, much of which comes from the aforementioned reboot, which is considered by many to be one of the worst periods in Spidey history, if not the worst. The stick of that particular Spidey era came from a writer who admitted to being burned out on the character, tons of editorial interference, and just plain horrid writing. Outside a few issues here and there, I understand it was pretty bad. Before the reboot, he put out some nice stories. I enjoyed the issues he did when Ben Reily was Spidey and though I didn't like John Romita Jr's art at the time, I've come to have a huge appreciation for his style now.
The Mackie issues I picked up were before the reboot era. I bought two and both were in the dollar bin. The first that I read was PPSM #82. We've got Spidey dealing with an riot on campus, which circles around people's fear of mutants. I'll get right to the point; this issue sucked. I'd hoped I would like it, but it sucked. Paul Stacy is a d-bag and the mutant hate group thing doesn't seem done anywhere near as well as it is in the current pages of Amazing Spider-Girl. I agree with the reviewer of SpiderFan.org of this issue. I would have scored it the same, had I reviewed it.
Thankfully, PPSM #94 was a much better read. Spidey and Jill Stacy are investigating the murder of Joey Z, and it's bringing them both all kinds of trouble. Even without knowing why the Kingpin or Ox was involved, this was one was pretty entertaining. For those not in the know, Joey Z was a dude that Norman Osborn killed and set Spidey up to take the blame. Spidey is haunted by his death, even though he never knew the guy, and Jill thinks that if she can find out about Joey, she'll find out who Spidey is and know just how her cousin, Gwen died. At the end, Spidey shows up at Jill's place to have a chat about her cousin. I wasn't crazy about the hinting at a possible relationship with Peter and Jill, but hey, we all know where that went and it didn't take away my liking of this issues. One of Mackie's better efforts.