Starting tomorrow I’m going to be employed, so that means The Spider-Man Challenge is going to need to be tweaked a bit. So as of today, I’m going to abbreviate the issue synopsis’s and focus more on my observations. Let’s do this.
So the Green Goblin’s back and out for revenge against Spider-Man
Meanwhile, Flash Thompson stars a Spider-Man Fan Club
Naturally, Flash won’t let him in, but Liz begins to scheme…
Meanwhile, Spider-Man shows up to stop a robbery, only to realize that he messed up filming on a movie! Now everyone’s laughing at him. Everyone’s a jerk!
Then this happens:
Then THIS happens:
Later, Spidey gets shown up by local jackass, Johnny Storm
Finally, the first meeting of Flash’s Spider-Man Fan Club comes together
Spider-Man shows up, but so does his nemesis. Why he’s surprised to see one of the dozens of dudes who want to kill him at an event advertised in the NEWSPAPER isn’t clear.
Everyone thinks it’s an act, but Storm wises up and jumps in. Peter changes back to dodge suspicion from Liz. But Peter overhears some very important news:
Green Goblin runs off and everyone leaves. Peter makes it to the hospital and the issue’s ending is a real downer.
Observations: This is an interesting issue, for a couple of reasons.
- Tone-wise, the end of the issue comes out of nowhere, but at the same time, it’s a great way to end the issue. This is the first issue where Spider-Man really loses. Yeah, alright, he’s been defeated in fights before, but he always makes a comeback by the end of the issue. But here, everyone thinks Spider-Man’s a coward, Green Goblin gets away, and Aunt May’s back in the hospital. It’s ballsy move and it totally pays off. Mad props to Lee and Ditko for taking that risk.
- With this issue, it seems really clear to me that the Human Torch is a recurring supporting character in this book. I love the friendly rivalry Lee builds up over time and giving Peter a superhero friend is an inspired touch. I picked up Dan Slott’s Spider-Man/Human Torch mini-series last week and it’s just a fun extension of stories like this. I can’t recommend it enough.
- Stories like this really just demonstrate how Aunt May needs to die already. Great supporting character, but this has been telegraphed for about 50 years. Aunt May still being alive is probably the hardest element of Spider-Man to suspend my disbelief about and I’m saying that as someone who likes the character.
- Flash Thompson sticking up for his idol is the saddest thing.
Final Thoughts: Really surprising issue, pretty standard Spider-Man story until the last couple of page. Comics like this are why Spider-Man is such a great concept. Tomorrow, Sandman and stuff.