Alright. It’s been a little while, but THE MISSION COMES FIRST.
The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday Monday sand Tuesdays, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.
“The End of Spider-Man!”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Synopsis: Last issue, everyone was stunned to see Spider-Man flee from his fight with the Green Goblin. This issue, they’re still stunned!
There’s also a great panel that has the Avengers kind of acting like dicks about the whole thing, the crown jewel being the Wasp’s inexplicable “Wasps and spiders are natural enemies…so I can’t honestly say I’m sorry for him!”. Shut up, Wasp.
Meanwhile, Peter is busy watching Aunt May at home and going to class. He’s worried because, once again, money’s tight.
Peter decides to try and make some money by hitting up a trading card company about doing Spider-Man cards. It doesn’t go well.
Afterwards, he comes across some would be jewel thieves but, fearing what would happen to Aunt May without him, decides to be someone’s lame neighbor and calls the cops instead. He tries to call Betty Brant, but she’s still mad at him for once again being seen within five feet of Liz Allan. Betty’s clearly upset about it and Aunt May’s heart attack, but it’s ok because J. JONAH JAMESON IS ALL SMILES.
Peter tries again to contact her, but Betty doesn’t trust herself to talk to him, so she refuses to answer. Peter mopes and flashes back to how he saved her from the Sinister Six (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, on stands now kiddies!). Peter sees Betty, tries to talk to her, she runs off, Jonah pops out his neck chords.
Spider-Man tries another get-rich-quick-scheme and offers to sell his web solution to a bunch of scientists. They’re amazed at first, but then dismiss it once they find out it isn’t permanent. Then, because he hasn’t ran into enough of his supporting cast, Sandman shows up!
Sandman attacks (I guess he escaped from prison? The annual had him in a normal jail cell, so not terribly surprising really) and Spider-Man tries to run away while being called a coward by his foe and the public alike. Peter manages to ditch him by changing back to Peter and heads home. Aunt May tells him it’s too bad Mrs.Watson’s Watkins’ niece isn’t around ( writing 80% of Marvel’s initial output meant Stan Lee sometimes fucked up character names). The Torch sees J. Jonah Jameson’s televised gloating about Spider-Man’s cowardice and refuses to believe he’s a coward.
He leaves a flaming message to meet at the Statue of Liberty, but Peter doesn’t show and Johnny’s very sad. Back at school, Flash Thompson still defends his idol and decides to dress up as Spider-Man, figuring Spider-Man will save him if he gets in trouble (What a terrible plan!). It goes about as well as you’d expect.
Betty tells Peter what happened and he runs to stop Flash, but Flash gets his ass handed to him by a bunch of car thieves until the police arrive. Peter tries to talk to him the next day, but gets blown off by an angry and bruised Flash. To top off his terrible week, Peter runs into Betty leaving a movie on the arm of another guy.
Sad Peter heads home and tosses off his Spider-Man stuff and decides to try just being Peter Parker for awhile. When he comes downstairs, he notices Aunt May is out of her wheelchair! She ‘s feeling better and proceeds to give Peter a much needed talking to about not being such a bitch.
The issue ends with Peter pulling out his Spider-Man costume. Fuck yeah.
- I like how the series has really transitioned from one-shot, fight-focusedissues with some ongoing plots to ongoing stories with alot going on. This issue is fantastic, if alittle slow. There’s surprisingly little action, but the sheer amount of plot makes up for it.
- Flash’s desperation is surprisingly subtle, especially for the period. It’s stuff like this that really demonstrate the quality writing Lee puts into Spider-Man.
- With this issue, you can really see the dissolution of Peter and Betty’s relationship. I love how realistically this is handled.
- Aunt May giving Peter that pep talk is such a great plot point, especially after how she’s been less of a character and more of a plot contrivance the last few issues.
Final Thoughts: This isn’t the first Spider-Man waffling about being Spider-Man story, it isn’t the last Spider-Man waffling about being Spider-Man story, but it’s a really good Spider-Man waffling about being Spider-Man story. ‘Nuff said. Next monday, Sandman rematch + The Enforcers = solid gold.