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The Spider-Man Challenge Day 3: Amazing Spider-Man #2

“AHH A HANDFUL OF FEATHERS NOOO!!”

In this issue, Spider-Man fights the elderly!

“Duel To The Death With The Vulture!”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Steve Ditko

Synopsis: Daring super-villain The Vulture embarks on a series of daring heists in broad daylight. As no one can get a good picture of the flying crook, Peter seizes the opportunity. Fight ensues, Spider-Man gets tossed in a water tower and retreats to come up with a plan. Using a “magnetic inverter”, Spidey defeats The Vulture and manages to snap some pictures for J. Jonah Jameson. The issue ends with Peter paying off a year’s worth of rent for Aunt May and The Vulture in prison, plotting revenge.

Observations:

  • The Vulture is a character that writers in general aren’t sure what to do with. In the 90’s, tried to de-age him and currently we’ve got a completely new guy rocking the moniker. I think this issue demonstrates why he’s such a great natural foe for Spider-Man. The Vulture, along with The Chameleon, is the start of the series of predator-themed villains that make up the Spidey rogues gallery. He’s got a FANTASTIC look to him, great design on Ditko’s part. And a croneish old man is the perfect adversary for the fun and youthful Peter Parker.
  • It’s fascinating to me that Spider-Man doesn’t even think about, you know, stopping The Vulture until he gets attacked. Stan Lee knows how to write teenagers.
  • Even though he came up with his web shooters back in AF#15, I feel this issue (both stories, really) is the first real demonstration of Peter’s scientific ingenuity, which I feel is a great aspect to the character that’s underutilized frequently.
  • Jonah’s back, though I hadn’t realized that the Daily Bugle hadn’t showed up at this point. Funny that they keep NOW magazine and use it later on as mag that Ms.Marvel edits. This is also of course the start of the working relationship between Jonah and Peter, though the whole “anonymity” thing is kind of weak, I’m glad it’s dropped later on.

“The Uncanny Threat Of The Terrible Tinkerer”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Steve Ditko

Synopsis: While working as a lab assistant for “famous electronics expert” Professor Cobbwell, Peter Parker discovers that a local repairman and junk merchant (know only as “The Tinkerer”) is actually conspiring with aliens to steal military secrets (Cold War!). Spider-Man goes to investigate, gets captured, escapes, wrecks some dudes, gets left holding a mask of The Tinker’s face. Weird story all around.

  • Can we just talk about the design on The Tinkerer? It’s wonderful.Definitely one of Ditko’s best character designs, totally underrated. Love those eyebrows.

  • The aliens in this issue really feel out of place, which is probably why Wikipedia tells me they were retconned to be costumed henchman (one of them was even a pre-Mysterio Quentin Beck, even!). It’s even stranger that The Tinkerer went on to become if not a popular villain, then at least a well-used one.
  • With this issue, it seems like Lee’s finally cemented Spider-Man as a straightforward hero, even though he just seems to kind of stumble into trouble instead of patrolling.
  • For some reason, I expected Peter to have ditched the glasses by now. How does he see when he’s wearing the mask? Maybe it’s a Clark Kent thing, like he doesn’t actually need them?

Final Thoughts: A solid issue. The Vulture portion’s stronger than the Tinkerer story, but the run’s moving along nicely. Tomorrow’s the first Doctor Octopus story and it’s real good. Be there.

Gaaah

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About Max Robinson

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