It's morning in America, and for Peter Parker and his peers, that means it's time for school. There are a few exceptions. Betty Brant has to go to work, and Sandman, well, he was still a bad guy back then, so we can only imagine. But most of Peter's acquaintances and tormentors are piling through the corridors of Midtown High, hassling Pete and discussing the upcoming prom. Liz Allan, however, tired of people considering her the future "Mrs. Flash Thompson," just wants to study with Peter, but a football thrown from the jealous Flash Thompson interrupts their conversation. Peter, taking great pains to conceal his secret identity (great responsibility, and all that) takes it smack in the head.
Schoolwork isn't going too well for Peter, either. After all, he's busting his tail trying to scoring a grant to E.S.U. and guys like his classmate Blake can just sit back and let their rich fathers hire a first year engineer to do their experiments for them. Blake upsets him so much that he later mouths off to Betty Brant and gets promptly left at the curb. And then there's the prom. As Peter puts it, "I'd rather crawl three miles through broken glass than spend a hundred plus dollars to watch the jerks who made fun of me for four years dance, drink, and be merry." Testy, testy. But mostly, Peter's tired of having to live up to his overdeveloped sense of responsibility while getting the shaft all the time. Coming back to school the next day and finding Blake showing off the virtual reality (grrrrr) machine he "built" and hearing the teacher practically promise him the economic grant doesn't help much. But the two buckets of water in his locker were the last straw, and he storms out of school in a rage.
"I bust my hump every day, no questions asked, just to be blown away by a cheesy weasel like Blake and humiliated by a bunch of morons?!?" Still carrying the chemicals he had planned to use in his grant experiment, Spider-Man is swinging over New York where he runs into the Sandman. It seems Sandy's trying to move up in the world and has taken a job as a mercenary for the "Sang du Mort Brotherhood," who apparently just wanted him to smash up a city block. It's obvious that Spidey's heart isn't into his work, leading the NYPD to suspect collusion. Not wanting to waste the effort, Spider-Man throws the chemicals into the Sandman's face, gumming up his works and leaving him easy pickings. Swinging away, Spidey vows that he's working "for one person... himself!"
The next day at school it's obvious that Peter's a different position. He's blowing off his lab appointment, flirting a little, and even accepts an offer to take Liz Allan to the prom (this time intercepting the football thrown his way.) All's well, right? Except those chemicals Spidey dumped on Sandman are doing some really nasty stuff to his bodily composition. To be continued...