The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.
After a brief recap, our issue begins at the offices of the Daily Bugle. Spider-Man’s there to dish some payback on Jameson for his negative coverage and Betty Brant arrives in the nick of time to get her old job back (her replacement quit in a huff). Spider-Man changes back to Peter to talk to Betty and Jameson curmudgeons him out of the office. Meanwhile, Doctor Octopus is on the road:
Doc Ock is committing a string of crimes as he makes his way through the country, hoping to attract Spider-Man, but with no luck. He decides to head to New York and find him. Back at home, Aunt May feels Peter’s forehead and notices it’s alittle warm. Later, at Midtown high, Peter overhears Liz and Flash reading the newest Bugle anti-Spider-Man article and, after bickering with Flash, we get this gem:
Peter heads back to the Bugle, when suddenly Doc Ock shows up and starts messin’ up the place. Octavius kidnaps Betty and tells Jameson to print a challenge to Spider-Man to meet him at Coney Island and to send a photographer to take pictures or the girl dies. Jameson decides to cover the battle himself first hand and sends Peter as his photographer. Spider-Man arrives, but feels inexplicably weak. He attacks Doc Ock, but loses badly.
And then THIS HAPPENS
Doctor Octopus leaves to find the “real” Spider-Man and everyone just assumes Peter was “posing” as Spider-Man. Peter goes to the hospital and is told he has a 24 hour virus. A police officer takes him home and Peter rests/yells at himself in his dreams.
The next morning, Peter feels great! Aunt May somehow found out about what happened and scolds him for dressing up like “that DREADFUL Spider-Man!”, but Peter lies to her and throws out a bundle of rags he claims are the costume. Peter arrives at school and everyone’s talking about what happened. Flash rags on him, but Liz Allan is genuinely impressed and even goes so far as to dump Flash on the spot. Doc Ock is furious for being made a fool and unleashes some dangerous animals from a zoo. Liz tries to walk home with Peter, but he escapes while she’s distracted by Flash. He changes into Spider-Man and stumbles onto the escaped animals and, one by hone, rounds them up. Doc Ock continues on his destructive tantrum and Spider-Man shows up to fight him, now at full strength. The fight leads into an empty sculptor’s studio and some knocked over chemicals lead to a fire. The fire rages out of control and Spidey has to flee before he can rescue Octavius. Luckily, some firemen pull him out and deliver him to the police, with Octavius complaining that the fight wasn’t fair. Peter “shows up” and Liz invites him to a party, but, in a display of profound dickery, tells her off and leaves to find Betty.
- This issue marks the first time Spider-Man is unmasked and, I have to say, everyone refusing to believe he’s Spider-Man is pretty genius. I also like that it had some consequence, even if it was just having Liz now be a romantic interest for Peter.
- This is the first use of what becomes the standard Doc Ock costume. Boring, but I can see why they used a simple to draw/color green onesie.
- Betty sure got over her brother pretty quickly, huh?
- That Billy Graham line will never not be funny.
Final Thoughts: This is a really solid issue and one that’s pretty needed after the heaviness of last issue. The escaped animal bit felt like filler, but it wasn’t terrible or anything. The highlight of the issue is definitely the unmasking and it alone makes this issue pretty important continuity-wise. Monday: Be there for the first appearance of Mysterio. Will there be fog machines? It’s pretty likely.