The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.
“Marked For Destruction By Doctor Doom!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Synopsis: After seeing an anti-Spider-Man program on television, Dr. Doom decides to try and recruit Spider-Man to take on the Fantastic Four (reasoning that the team couldn’t handle both of them). Doom summons the hero via his patented “Spider-Wave Transmitter” and explains his proposition. After turning him down, Spider-Man covers Doom in his web, only discover it’s one of Doom’s robotic duplicates.
The real Doom reveals himself and they engage in a brief fight before Spider-Man flees into the harbor. Doom blows up their meeting place and Peter is able to snap a few pictures and sell them to The Bugle. While there, Peter notices Jameson’s secretary, Betty Brant, for the first time. Meanwhile, Flash Thompson decides to pull a prank on Peter by donning a homemade Spider-Man suit and scaring him. Unfortunately, Dr.Doom arrives with a device designed to track Spider-Man’s spider-sense and, missing a plainclothes Peter, nabs Flash instead. Holding “Spider-Man” hostage, Dr.Doom takes over the airwaves to announce that he’ll kill him in one hour unless the Fantastic Four surrender to him one at a time. Liz Allan calls him asking for his help in saving Flash but Peter is fine with leaving him until his conscience gets the better of him. Aunt May forbids he go out with menaces like Spider-Man and Doctor Doom about, so Peter fakes a blown fuse to get out of the house. Tracking him to an abandoned factory, Spider-Man shows up and fights a baffled Dr.Doom. Doom unleashes a series of high tech weapons on Spider-Man (Ice ray, electrical panels, perpetual motion machine, another Doombot) until the Fantastic Four show up. Fearing that he can’t possibly win against all five of his foes, Doom flees. Peter remembers he left Aunt May all alone and runs off, leaving the FF to rescue a terrified Flash Thompson. Jameson scolds Peter for managing to not get pictures of the Doom fight, but is reassured by Betty Brant that she thinks he’s “wonderful”. A smitten Peter returns to school, only to find Flash Thompson bragging about saving the day.
- Dr.Doom is my all-time favorite Marvel villain, so that’s an automatic plus in my book. This is probably the lightest issue to date: Doom’s array of spider-based technology, the Spider-Man/Flash mix up, The Fantastic Four basically just showing up at the end to clean up. It all works though.
- This is the first Spider-Man villain who isn’t created for the book. This was pretty instrumental in making Doom less of a Fantastic Four only foe and more of a general Marvel bad guy down the line.
- This is the first issue that Flash Thompson really *does* anything, so it’s nice to see that.
- Peter Parker not only sorta entertains the idea of teaming up with Doom, but almost doesn’t even rescue Flash from being MURDERED FOR DRESSING UP LIKE HIM. Just goes to show that everyone’s a dick in high school.
- It’s a good thing that Spidey checked to see if his Spider-Man Light Beam was working before he tackled Dr.Doom. That’s a real tide turner.
- I wasn’t a teenager in the 60’s, but I’m pretty sure no one went around abbreviating the phrase “Big Man On Campus”, Stan. I appreciate the note though.
Final Thoughts: In terms of raw creativity, this isn’t as good as the last couple of issues, but it’s still a perfectly enjoyable, fun issue. Of course, I’m a sucker for anything with Dr. Doom in it. Tomorrow, The first appearance of The Lizard and a trip to the Florida Everglades. Join me, won’t you?