Synopsis for “Gold Rush!”
Story continued from Secret Wars II #2…
The Kingpin is woken up at 3:00 am with some troubling news. He places a call to a man Bainbridge. As he waits for the man to answer, he figures out the financial worth of the current crisis and realizes that it could make the great depression seem like prosperous times. When Bainbridge answers the phone, the Kingpin explains what must be done…
While elsewhere in Manhattan, Mary Jane Watson cannot sleep, her mind keeps coming back to the fact that she had recently revealed to Peter Parker that she’s known that he’s secretly Spider-Man for years[Continuity 1]. She struggles with the fact that she can’t be with someone that risks their lives on a daily basis, and although she is still friends with Peter she cannot shake the feelings she has for him. As she considers the strange twist of fate she finds herself in, she notices that there is a fire some blocks away and wonders what the cause of it could be.
At the site of the fire is the man of Mary Jane’s thoughts, Spider-Man who is at the scene of the office building that formerly housed the Heroes for Hire until the Beyonder recently turned the structure entirely into gold just moments ago. Realizing that there might be people trapped inside the building despite the late hour, Spider-Man enters the building and begins finding those who are trapped inside and finds that everything except for humans has been turned into gold.[Continuity 2] As Spidey searches for survivors, those few who are still up at this late hour find it almost impossible to believe that a building can be turned into gold. However, before anyone can capitalize on this, the Kingpin calls in to his contacts in Washington D.C. to assist in closing off the area to prevent people from making off or learning about this sudden cache of gold, as it could cause a financial crisis. Hard pressed for resources, the government makes a deal with the Kingpin even though they realize that they are making a deal with the proverbial devil.
Unaware of this deal, Spider-Man continues to rescue those trapped in the building as two police officers arrive. When the cops wonder how they will keep the public away from a giant pile of gold, they soon find themselves surrounded by a heavily armed guard of gangsters and street thugs. They are soon relieved by government agent Charles Anderson who explains to the two officers that these men as assisting in keeping the area secure until the military arrives. When Spider-Man returns to the outside he recognizes some of the armed men as enforcers for the Kingpin. He also witnesses as the owner of the building, Henry Trumpsley, is forced to accept a check buying his property and is escorted off the property.
When Anderson tells Spider-Man to leave, the Wall-Crawler refuses to tell him that he can rescue the people trapped inside easier. Despite being shot at, Spider-Man slips back inside, wondering what the Kingpin has to do with the recovery. Seeing that he is unable to stop Spider-Man, and hard pressed for resources, Anderson orders the men to hold their fire and let Spider-Man do his job.
As the work continues on, over in Queens Aunt May and her fiancée Nathan Lubensky mull over the financial problems they’re having keeping their elderly boarding house afloat.
By this time, the military has arrived and begun slowly removing the gold and shipping it out of the area and a massive barrier is being erected around the block to prevent people from seeing it. By the time the press arrives, there is speculation going around as to what the military is clearing out of the area. Inside the wreckage, Spider-Man continues to pull people out of the building. For the most part, everyone is alive, but he does come across one dead body within the wreckage. After bringing the body out, Spidey decides to take a break and take into consideration that scope of what the Beyonder has done. Everything, including simple trash, has been turned into gold, a discarded notebook that was considered trash hours earlier is now worth a small fortune. When Peter considers how much he and his Aunt May could benefit from something as small as a solid gold notebook, Peter wrestles with his desires and what he feels is the right thing to do and leaves the notebook behind. Spider-Man’s attention is drawn to another individual who is trapped in the building. However, upon closer inspection, the Wall-Crawler learns that the reason why the man is trapped is that he was attempting to carry out all his personal possessions that had been turned into gold and that the weight of it all had pinned him to the floor. The man is unwilling to give it all up until the roof begins to collapse over their head and he begs Spider-Man to save him.
With the last of the people out of the building, Spider-Man is about to web-sling away when he notices a black limo pull up to Anderson. Spider-Man is shocked to see that it is his old foe the Kingpin, and becomes angry when he witnesses a number of soldiers loading several gold typewriters into his limo. Furious that he must struggle through life while a known criminal like the Kingpin gets free gold from the government, Spider-Man finally has enough and decides to get what he believes he deserves. Jumping back into the ruins of the building, he recovers the gold notepad that he previously decided to leave behind. Exiting the building he confronts Anderson and tells him that he saw the transaction between him and the Kingpin and shows him that he intends to keep a reward for himself. After angrily chastising the government official, Spider-Man swings off leaving Anderson to consider what he has just done.
This story and Secret Wars II continues in Amazing Spider-Man #268…
Synopsis for “”Welcome… …to My Nightmare!””
Peter Parker is having a dream wherein he has arrived at the Daily Bugle completely naked to see if Joe Robertson is in. Betty Leeds sends him through, not noticing that he is not wearing clothes. Likewise, Peter doesn’t seem the least bit concerned that the Daily Bugle staff is comprised of heroes and villains. Betty warns Peter that Joe is in a bad mood, but he assures her that he can handle it. However, when he arrives outside Robertson’s office he is shocked to see the Hulk come smashing out. With this threat before him, Peter’s original Spider-Man costume begins to appear upon him. The other people in the Bugle begin to run, telling Spider-Man to run. With the Hulk looming over him, Spider-Man can’t find a way to fight back. Thinking a change of costume will confuse the Hulk, Spider-Man’s costume suddenly changes to his black and white costume and flees from the Daily Bugle building. Suddenly, the Daily Bugle building collapses. Examining the rubble, Spider-Man discovers the Hulk is still alive. As his costume continues to alternate between red-and-blue and black-and-white, he tries to battle the gamma-spawned monster. Despite his efforts, the wall-crawler is grabbed by the Hulk and tossed at the Brooklyn Bridge. However, instead of being splattered against the metal frame of the bridge, he rips through it like a piece of canvas. On the other side, the web-slinger finds himself falling into a void. He hears a voice calling out for help, but can’t find any way to save himself from falling.
Suddenly, Peter Parker wakes up and realizes that this was all a dream. Even though he is in his Spider-Man costume and has a coffee machine in his apartment, Peter doesn’t realize that he’s still dreaming. When he hears someone cry for help, he looks out his window and sees his Aunt May’s home down below. Fearing the worst, Peter puts on his mask and swings down to the house. There, Spider-Man watches in horror as the Burglar with an automatic weapon mowing down his Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Gwen and George Stacy, Mary Jane, and Betty Leeds.[Continuity 1] Horrified to see all his loved ones dead, Peter demands to know why the Burglar killed them. Fleeing the scene, the Burglar tells him that this is what Spider-Man wanted, that he needs guilt to keep going. Spider-Man denies this and in a fit of rage follows after the Burglar. Suddenly, Spider-Man finds himself replaying his confrontation with the Burglar at the Acme Warehouse.[Continuity 2] Spider-Man knocks the crook out, but this time when he gets a good look, he has the face of Peter Parker. This is a shock to Peter but this puts him in a state of despair that he believes that Spider-Man is actually responsible for the death of his loved ones.
Accepting defeat, Spider-Man doesn’t resist when the Hulk comes smashing through the wall to destroy him. However, when the Hulk smashes the floor, it breaks away and the pair both fall into some water below. Once again he hears a voice calling out for help and begins swimming toward the voice. This leads him into a sewer where he finds the creature that calls itself Nightmare. It begs Spider-Man for help as the Hulk has been chasing him and begs Spider-Man to save him before his realm is destroyed. Spider-Man finally clues in to the fact that he is dreaming. However, Nightmare warns him that if he dies here, he will die in real life. When the Hulk catches up to them, Spider-Man lures the brute out to the surface. Spider-Man is surprised that this dreamscape looks just like Manhattan. Surfing in the air on a manhole cover, Spider-Man loses the Hulk around the Statue of Liberty. He returns to Nightmare and demands to know why Nightmare’s realm looks like Manhattan. Nightmare explains that his realm takes on aspects that are familiar to those who are trapped in it and that only an adept can see it as it truly is. When Spider-Man mentions the name of Doctor Strange, Nightmare curses his foe, blaming him for everything that has happened. Spider-Man demands answers, and Nightmare tells the wall-crawler that Doctor Strange cursed his realm with Bruce Banner’s sleeping mind.[Continuity 3]
Nightmare goes on to say that this dream-form of the Hulk is just as powerful as the real thing and that he chose Spider-Man due to his sense of responsibility and his previous experience battling the Hulk. That’s when the Hulk comes crashing through again. Spider-Man blinds the behemoth with some webbing, allowing them to flee. Nightmare takes Spider-Man to the very edge of his realm where there is nothing but a white void that Nightmare states is a realm of utter madness. When the Hulk catches up to them once again, Spider-Man battles it the best he can, and ultimately uses his superior agility to knock the Hulk into the void, destroying it. Exhausted, Spider-Man is glad it is over so he can finally return to the waking realm. However, Nightmare has other ideas, telling the hero that he intends to keep him in the Nightmare Realm to defend him forever. Suddenly, the Hulk reaches out from the void and grabs Nightmare dragging him in. Nightmare begs Spider-Man for help, reminding Spider-Man of his sense of responsibility. Instead, Spider-Man turns away trying to ignore Nightmare’s sickening screams. Spider-Man does have a responsibility to himself, as well as others. As he leaves Nightmare’s realm, he tries to ignore the horror he has seen, reminding himself that if he saved Nightmare, he’d be trapped in his realm forever and unable to save anyone ever again.
Suddenly, Spider-Man wakes up and is suprirsed to see his landlord, high neighbors, and the police standing at the foot of his bed. As it turns out, his nightmare was so intense his screams woke everyone up and they called the cops. His landlady Maimie Muggins is upset that he made such a racket. His neighbors are a little more sympathetic, when Peter tells him he forgot what the nightmare was about. However, he thinks that sometimes it is better that way.
Synopsis for “Local Superhero!”
Years Ago:[Continuity 1]
In the vastness of space, a planet explodes, hurtling debris across the universe. One such chunk ends up crashing in a junkyard on planet Earth in the small town of Smithville, Pennsylvania. The following morning, Frank Hopkins reports for work at the Smithville Savings Bank. He arrives late for work much to the annoyance of his employer. After being snubbed by Marge, the bank typist, he meets with his co-worker Irving. Irving has two tickets to an orchestra performance that evening and Frank accepts an invitation to join. That evening, Frank waits outside for Irving, who is running late. Suddenly, he hears a scream in a back alley and sees a pair of thugs tar and feathering Irving. Around his neck is an antisemitic sign reading “Jew Boy”. When Hopkins tries to stop them, he is beaten up and left in the alley. The two thugs then throw Irving in the back of a pick-up truck and attempt to flee. Frank grabs ahold of the tailgate and holds on for dear life. However, despite his heroic efforts, the speeding vehicle shakes him loose, sending Frank Hopkins rolling into the junkyard. Trying to get up, Frank uses the chunk of space rock to steady himself. Suddenly he feels funny and gets up with no further pain. Walking home, Hopkins dismisses this as nothing but adrenaline.
Returning home, Frank goes through old newspaper clippings of heroes like Captain America and the Human Torch, who were active in World War II. He wishes that there were heroes like that around in this day and age to prevent such acts of violence.[Continuity 2] The next morning, the front page story in the papers is about the beating of Irving Stein, who is now recovering in hospital. Reading this at work, Frank Hopkins once more wishes there was something that could have been done for poor Irving. At lunchtime, Frank goes out into the bank parking lot to eat his lunch. When he accidentally drops his apple under a car, he is surprised when he somehow manages to lift the car off the ground in order to retrieve it. Not believing what just happened, Hopkins attempts to lift the car again. He is surprised that he is able to lift it over his head. Putting it back down he wonders what he should do with this newfound power. When he walks around the front of the bank, he witnesses the two thugs who beat up Irving as they trip a young African-American boy. Suddenly, Frank Hopkins has some inspiration.
That evening, Frank returns home and gathers an old pair of long johns, some dye, and some markers and gets to work. Putting on this outfit and a mask, Frank Hopkins goes out looking for the guys who beat up his friend. He finds them roughing up a man who just walked out of a liquor store. Frank easily trounces these youths before the eyes of astonished bystanders, who proclaim him a hero.
Peter Parker is meeting with Joe Robertson at the offices of the Daily Bugle. He is upset that Joe is once again refusing to buy photos of Spider-Man. Joe tells him that if he used every photo of Spider-Man they have in his files, they could publish them for a year-and-a-half. Sympathetic of Peter’s situation, Joe assigns him to a story that Joe is researching for the Sunday Suppliment. It is regarding the true identity of the Smithville Thunderbolt, a local hero in Pennsylvania. With no other choice, Peter grudgingly accepts the assignment and is soon on a bus to Smithville. The whole way, Peter complains to himself about how hard it is to make a living now that Joe Robertson is less interested in photos of Spider-Man.[Continuity 3] Soon, Peter arrives in Smithville and once off the bus a young man runs by warning everyone of a fire. Peter sees a nearby abandoned home billowing with smoke. With everyone off the bus, Peter slips inside to change into Spider-Man to save anyone who is trapped inside.
However, no sooner is Spider-Man on a rooftop opposite the other building, he witnesses the Smithville Thunderbolt running onto the scene. The wall-crawler decides to sit back and watch things from the back of the burning building. As Spider-Man climbs into the building, the Thunderbolt leaps out with two children out the front. The web-slinger looks around but can hardly see through the smoke. Suddenly, his spider-sense begins going off, warning him of danger. However, he is too late to stop a huge bruiser in overalls from striking him from behind. The strength of the blow causes Spider-Man to break through the floor to the main level of the house. Looking at who he attacked, the mysterious attacker realizes that this isn’t the Smithville Thunderbolt and leaves. Spider-Man recovers from the blow and witnesses the Thunderbolt leap away. Wanting to learn more, Spider-Man tags the local hero with a spider-tracer. With the danger over, Spider-Man decides to change back into his civilian guise before he is spotted. Later, Peter Parker begins tracing the signal from the spider-tracer. It lures him to a dumpster, and Peter fears that the Thunderbolt discarded his tracer. Suddenly, someone from behind compliments him on his camera. It’s a woman, and when he thanks her for the compliment and that he uses it for journalism, the woman gets upset. Turns out, the woman is Roxanne DeWinter a reporter for the Smithville Gazette, and she views Peter’s presence as competition for her attempts at learning the Thunderbolts identity. However, she quickly changes her tone when she learns that Peter works for the Daily Bugle and insists on buying him lunch.
Soon the pair are sitting down at a diner where Roxanne explains that she is looking for a big scoop so she can finally get out of Smithville. She figures that learning the Thunderbolt’s true identity is her ticket out of town. She suggests that the two of them work together, but Peter declines, saying that he works better alone. He thanks her for lunch and heads out. However, Roxanne DeWinter refuses to be blown off so easily. Moments later, Peter is back at the dumpster, but doesn’t find any trace of his spider-tracer. Suddenly, he picks up a faint signal and leaps over the dumpster to track it, unaware that DeWinter is following after him. The signal leads Peter to a modest looking home. He then slips around to the side of the house and changes back into Spider-Man and tries to find a way inside so he can recover his spider-tracer. Not far away, Roxanne DeWinter has lost sight of Peter since going back for her car, but deduces that he is in the only inhabited house in the area. Inside the house, Spider-Man introduces himself to Frank Hopkins, who is shocked to see Spider-Man in his home. Saying he has come to recover his property and follows the signal to a closet. Before Frank can stop it, the wall-crawler opens it and is shocked to discover the costume belonging to the Smithville Thunderbolt.
Unaware that Roxanne DeWitter is listening outside his door, Frank Hopkins confesses that he is the Smithville Thunderbolt. He begs Spider-Man not to tell anyone because he believes he will be humiliated and ridiculed. He explains that he got his power a number of decades ago, but they are now starting to fade. He reveals that he has been using ordering scientific equipment to build devices that could roughly mimic is fading powers. Frank then reveals that with crime at an all time low in Smithville, he would manufacture dangers so he could still play hero. He reveals that he staged the “fire” in the house with smoke bombs and hide in the dumpster after his “daring” rescue. He once more begs Spider-Man not to reveal his secrets, fearing he will be laughed out of town. That’s when Spider-Man hears a creaking floorboard from behind a door and ues his webbing to open the door. Before they can react, Roxanne snaps a photo of Frank in costume with his mask off. As Spider-Man tries to recover the camera from Roxanne, his spider-sense begins to go off. Suddenly, the strong man that attacked Spider-Man earlier comes bursting through the wall. He intends to kill Frank, insisting that he is the true Smithville Thunderbolt.
Synopsis for “The Twilight Heroes”
Years Ago:[Continuity 1]
A planet explodes, sending debris across the universe. One piece came to the planet Earth, breaking in two as it entered the atmosphere. One half ended up in a junkyard in Smithville, Pennsylvania. The other half ends up crashing in a nearby farmers field.
One Year Ago:[Continuity 2]
Ludlow Grimes is toiling away, plowing his field by horse. Suddenly, his plow blade strikes a rock. Ludlow digs it out and suddenly feels strange, but dismisses it as getting too much sun. When his wife calls him back to the farmhouse for dinner, he simply tosses the rock away and heads in. Down at the homestead, Ludlow is greeted by his wife and children as they set the kitchen table. When Ludlow’s wife tries to swat a fly, Grimes offers to do it for her. With a single swat, Ludlow not only kills the fly but smashes through the front door with his bare hands. Ludlow is confused by what happened, but his family is frightened. His wife now thinks her husband is a monster and tells him to get out.
Ludlow Grimes has smashed his way into the home of Fred Hopkins, who has just been outted as the Smithville Thunderbolt by Spider-Man and reporter Roxanne DeWinter. Ludlow pronounces himself the true Smithville Thunderbolt and intends to kill Hopkins. Spider-Man gets between the two men and tells Frank to flee. However, Hopkins can’t bring himself to go, wishing there was something he could do, but doesn’t feel confident as his powers are fading. Meanwhile, Roxanne DeWinter snaps photos of the battle, intent on getting the scoop on this story in order to advance her career and get out of Smithville. Eventually, the Smithville Thunderbolt loses his nerve and flees. Spider-Man continues to struggle with Ludlow, and tells Roxanne to get out as well. However, she refuses to leave until she is finished her roll of film. Spider-Man, manages to briefly stun Grimes and tells Roxanne to get a move on. She agrees and tells Spider-Man that she will call the cops after to drops her film off to be developed. The pair begins to fight again, but Ludlow gets frightened off by the sound of a police siren and flees the scene. With an officer banging on the door, Spider-Man takes his leave as well, wondering what he should do next.
Changing back to Peter Parker, the hero goes to the Smithville Gazette to try and stop Roxanne from developing the film. However, he arrives too late, as she has finished processing the photos. He tells her that he knows what happened and who Frank Hopkins is and pleads with her to destroy the pictures. He tries to convince her that this revelation will ruin Frank’s life and he doesn’t deserve it after all he has done for the community. Roxanne refuses to listen because she is still chasing fame and heads off to the printers with her photos. Meanwhile, Frank Hopkins has changed back into his civilian clothes and returns to his home. Talking to the police, he pretends to have no idea what happened at his home. After assuring the police that he isn’t in any danger, he goes back into his home. There he pulls out his binder full of newspaper clippings of his exploits as the Thunderbolt. He laments on how he is a nobody without his powers, which are now fading. Knowing that Roxanne DeWinter will ruin his life with her exposé, he takes a gun out of his deskdrawer and briefly considers murdering her. However, he can’t bring himself to take a human life and decides to find some other way.
Elsewhere, Ludlow travels through a nearby swamp, confident that nobody will find him here. Looking at his reflection in the water, Grimes begins to think back to the events of the past year. He remembers how his wife thought he was a monster since he got his powers and kicking him out of his own home. He went to the local church for guidance, but the priest insisted that his powers were the product of the devil and shunned him. Soon, a lynch mob was out searching for him forcing him to flee into the wilderness. For a whole year, Ludlow lived off the land. One day he happened upon a newspaper article about the Smithville Thunderbolt and became jealous how he was respected and treated as a hero with his powers. Grimes then came up with his plan to kill the Thunderbolt and take his place so that he could be considered a hero. This all brought him to Hopkin’s home and his clash with Spider-Man. Later, as rain begins to fall over the town, Roxanne DeWinter drives the Smithville Gazette news van to the printers. Still intending to try and convince Roxanne to drop the story, Peter has changed back into Spider-Man and is hitching a ride on the roof of the van.
As they drive down a country road, they are spotted by a downed tree to block the road. When Roxanne is forced to stop, her car won’t move and rocks begin to tumble down toward the road. As Spider-Man leaps into action, Roxanne tries to flee, only to be carried to safety by the Smithville Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, Spider-Man discovers that the rockslide was fake, another one of the Thunderbolt’s fake rescues. Before the heroes can remove the tree, they are ambushed by Ludlow Grimes. As Roxanne slips into her van and tries to get away. However, when Spider-Man tosses Ludlow, it strikes the van knocking it over the side of the road and down a cliff. Seeing that the van is caught in some tree branches, the Thunderbolt overcomes his fears to climb down and try and save Roxanne. While Grimes and Spider-Man battle it out, Frank manages to save Roxanne, who is grateful that he had done so, even without his powers. By this point, Ludlow has knocked Spider-Man out and is annoyed to hear that Hopkins has no powers. Ludlow is about to lambaste Frank but sees how frightened he looks and realizes that they are the same. By the time Spider-Man recovers from Grimes’ beating, the situation has defused itself.
The next day, the life of Ludlow Grimes takes a fortuitous turn, as he is enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Finally finding a place to belong, Ludlow is finally happy. After witnessing this, Peter Parker is about to head out, when he sees that Roxanne still published the story about the Thunderbolt’s true identity. Furious, Peter goes down to the Gazette office and confronts DeWinter over this revelation. She still doesn’t care as she is confident that this will boost her career. Suddenly, they hear a mob heading toward Hopkin’s home, thinking it is a lynch mob, Peter rushes to see what he can do to stop them. However, much to his surprise, the townspeople have come to celebrate their local hero. Roxanne is about to gloat about how her story caused no harm she is suddenly silenced by the sound of a gunshot. Peter forces the front door open and discovers that Frank Hopkins committed suicide. Sadened by this turn of events, Peter Parker walks away without saying another word. Roxanne DeWinter, however, pulls a camera out of her handbag and takes a picture of Smithville’s fallen hero.
Ahhh yes, I had really forgotten just how political and left leaning most comic book artists were and are. The Government defines what is right and wrong, as they are the Highest Authority. Gawwwwww, that really chaps my britches. There is a scene in Issue #6 where Spiderman is going to rescue a man who is weighed down with gold items (that were his own before getting transformed to gold) and Spiderman lectures him on how it is now ALL the Governments because they said so and so he can’t take it with him because that would be illegal. It was so mind boggling wrong that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the issue. It was also a cross over issue within the larger Secret Wars II series. They did a good job of bringing me the reader up to speed in one page, but the FOMO (fear of missing out) being produced for the rest of the comics books dealing with Secret Wars II was almost palpable. 2 stars for hypocrisy by artists who were at the forefront of the dammed commie led hippie revolution.
Issue #7 was a dream/nightmare sequence where Nightmare drags Spiderman into the Nightmare realm to save him from a manifestation of the Hulk that Dr Strange sic’d on him. It was obviously filler and made almost zero sense but I just rolled with it. The funny thing was at the end of the issue the land lady had called the cops because Peter had been screaming in his sleep and she’s in his apartment along with 2 cops and 3 chicks in their nightwear and Peter’s lounging in bed with only briefs on and everybody’s totally cool with it all. Only in comicbook land. 3 stars for blondes in nightgowns though.
Issue #8 begins a multi-part story about some bank teller who touches a space blob and gets super strength. For a while. Then as it fades he begins faking things to keep up the appearance so people will still say nice things about him. Peter is sent on assignment to cover it and another local writer is involved. Peter finds the fake guy and right at the end of the issue some super brawny guy busts through the wall of the house claiming to be the real Smithville Thunderbolt. It was sad and pathetic. 2 stars for an old man who want the adulation of the unwashed masses.
Issue #9 is where I mentally checked out. The same goop infested some other guy who was a farmer. His ignorant wife rejected him when he accidentally tore a whole in the wall. A priest calls him an agent of Satan. The villagers chase him down with torches and pitchforks. I kid you not. Then “comic book logic” and next thing you know he’s working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the original Thunderbolt commits suicide because his identify was revealed in the local paper. 2 stars for big city bias and poor story quality.
This was some very poor story telling. It felt like everything was an idea the writers jotted down on a napkin at the tail end of a very short lunch. I realize that top quality story telling is almost impossible for a monthly comic book but my goodness, this stuff was bad. One thing is that Louise Simonson wasn’t involved and I think she was the guiding hand on the first few issues. I am super glad I am not reading these individually. I couldn’t handle just one a month. As it is, I’m going to be discussing with Dave the future of this buddy-read. These 4 issues really make me question if I actually want to read more, sigh.