SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for "Amazing Spider-Man" #25 by Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen and Giuseppe Camuncoli, on sale now.
The supersized "Amazing Spider-Man" #25 kicks off with "The Osborn Identity," a new story arc that presumably serves to reintroduce Peter Parker's worst nemesis back into Spider-Man's world. Meanwhile, one of the issue's backup stories gives another one of Spidey's major foes a rejuvenating overhaul.
The 40-page main story does indeed feature Osborn's expected return, but it also contains appearances from a couple of other characters that stand to impact the lives of both Spider-Man and Peter. In fact, the term "couple" might potentially hold an entirely different meaning for Peter, one that he hasn't had experience with for some time now.
Peter & Bobbi Sitting In A Tree…
Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, isn't a character commonly associated with Spider-Man, and most certainly isn't one that's had any kind of presence in the life of Peter Parker until recent months. Nonetheless, Spider-Man's mission to Delvadia in search of the elusive Norman Osborn finds both Mockingbird and her resources as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at his disposal, and she plays a significant role in apprehending the criminal thought to be Osborn, although it turns out to be a false lead. Later, Bobbi accompanies Peter to Hong Kong as their next lead on Osborn takes them across the world, coincidentally in conjunction with a fundraising event taking place at Parker Industries' Hong Kong division.
The transcontinental downtime gives Peter and Bobbi a chance to connect without with the masks, although not surprisingly, their initial banter involves superhero shoptalk, as the two trade Twitter-like summations of their worst tribulations as costumed heroes. Apparently sensing a kinship, Peter later awakens Bobbi during the flight and essentially hits on her with little warning... or style. Of course, such moments are primed for that old Parker luck to strike; Bobbi doesn't even get a chance to process Peter's bombshell when Aunt May herself pops up out of nowhere, announcing her last-minute decision to attend the fundraiser, and giving her nephew some grief for his not-so-suave moves. If that weren't enough, Harry Osborn announces his presence as well. Needless to say, further discussion of any possible dinner date between Peter and Bobbi is put on hold, at least for the duration of this issue.
It wouldn't be the first time Peter dated a fellow super-type, of course – he had that fairly long-running sort-of fling with Felicia Hardy, aka The Black Cat, although she was more interested in Spider-Man than the man behind the mask. More recently, he discovered an attraction to his origin twin Cindy Moon, aka Silk, although it was their mutual powers that led to their animal attraction more so than any kind of normal compatibility. And while Peter and another female ally only became an item in an alternate reality, some sexual subtext could be inferred from her occasional guest-appearances over the years – and that very same ally seemingly comes back this issue.
Silver Sable – Dead No More... If She Ever Was At All
It turns out that Spider-Man and Mockingbird aren't the only ones after Norman Osborn – in Delvadia, an invisible assailant brings down the headquarters of El Facoquero, the crime lord identity Osborn has assumed, and providing an unintended assist in his capture. The same accoster appears in Hong Kong, targeting Osborn in a sniper attack, but in searching for Osborn, Spider-Man and Mockingbird manage to foil the mystery character's deadly plans. Spidey manages to short-circuit the sniper's cloaking technology, revealing the presumed-dead Silver Sable as the attacker.
Readers might remember that Sable's apparent death in 2012's "Amazing Spider-Man" #687 was the first to take place on Spider-Man's watch since Spidey made his infamous "No one dies" vow. While the unexpected return of a friend believed to be dead is always cause for celebration, Peter should be especially pleased to see Sable appearing to be alive and well, considering his earlier pledge – a development that begs for exploration in future issues.
It's also a development that proves Madame Web's earlier claim that Sable had never died to be correct -- a claim Madame Web made only three issues after Sable's apparent drowning. In conjunction with the many resurrections seen in "The Clone Conspiracy," Peter's "No one dies" oath has become more akin to a simple statement of fact than it has any kind of promise.
Dan Slott's extra-sized story allows room for plenty of developments, but the hint of a fling, or more, for Peter and Bobbi in the same story as Sable's return seems to a beg for a connection, despite the two developments' independently generated beginnings. The notion of a romance between Peter and Silver doesn't seem quite as far-fetched with the idea of a potential relationship between Peter and Bobbi postulated only pages before. And a possible love triangle involving a mercenary and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is certainly something Peter never even would have had nightmares over back in his friendly neighborhood days.
While "The Osborn Identity" hints at an upcoming new or reinstated role for Norman Osborn in Spider-Man cast of characters, a subplot with some likelihood might be another identity entirely – namely that of Peter's future girlfriend. The drama stands to be further explored in "Amazing Spider-Man" #26, on sale April 5.