AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. “Once More With…”
There are some interesting threads on this forum, already, covering issues of Marvel’s early series – ‘re-reading’’ of the Avengers and Journey into Mystery/Thor and so on and there was quite a good issue by issue thread on the Invaders around too, until it caught up with the present.
What is more rarely discussed are the later periods when these series were in full flow and while perhaps less iconic still number among them some classics… The examination of the Avengers from #101 onwards gets a credit here.
I therefore present to you an issue by issue critique/discussion forum for one of these mainstay Marvel titles.
Not beginning at the very debut – as others have that covered well – but (and I hope I don’t step on anyone’s creative toes here!) – I would like to pick up the Amazing Spider-Man title after a watershed/bookend issue provided an opportune point at which to begin …
Issue #50 featured that classic moment in Peter Parker’s life when he first thought he couldn’t go on and yet eventually realised he just couldn’t possibly give up being Spidey.
“Spider-Man No More!” draws breath for the title before it races on into it’s next phase – less discussed than the Ditko issues and the early Romita ‘End of the Green Goblin’ stuff the next issue builds on those early foundations and catapults our hero and the title to the second half of it’s first century of publishing and its next phase of greatness…
So, after “Spider-Man No-More!”
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With feeling…!”
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility…!”
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With in-depth discussion and critique…..
Or…
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN . “Once More With…”
…”With #51 (08/67)…..

Come back soon……

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Spidey swings to a sudden confrontation with the newly transformed Lizard who manages to escape down the sewers... due to heavy traffic.

The Lizard now seems to transform automatically like the Hulk.

Spidey goes on to meet Mrs Curt Connors who updates how Stegron had kidnapped their son Billy and triggered the Lizard's change.

This seems inauthentic in that a mother would have led with the kidnapping of her son by a monster instead of lamenting that their Christmas was ruined.

Elsewhere at the University Marla Madison puts J Jonah Jameson in his place - and his cigar out - before unveiling a/her new Spider- Slayer!

What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

Back in the sewers little Billy watches on as Stegron zaps dinosaur-skeletons and the change into flesh and blood! (It's allegedly temporary but...)

At this point the (ridiculous) change is said to be temporary. Later a big deal is made that Connors somehow reversed the magic ray gun to do away with their flesh. They should have chosen one or the other story point.

In the snow Spidey tries to find Stegron who is under a bridge losing strength as he gets colder and colder...eventually slipping into and beneath, the icy water..!

It’s neat that this happens without Spidey’s knowledge.

The cold affects Stegron so badly because he's cold-blooded. According to Supermegamonkey's review a reader complemented Wein over this, and the reply said the issue had been debated at Marvel.

Amazing Spider-Man #167 (04/77)
Writer - Len Wein - Editor Penciller - Ross Andru
Inker - Mike Esposito Background inks - David Hunt
Cover Art – John Romita
   "... Stalked by the Spider-Slayer!"
John Romita's cover here feels strangly badly composed don't you think? Splitting the action between a fight with the newest Spider-Slayer and 'Marvel's Most Shocking New Super-Star!" (really?) isn't a terrible idea but the positioning of the extra Spider-Man figure - NOT centrestage just throws the wole thing off and mekae me feel Romita (or someone) really wasn't happy with this cover.


The splash page by Ross Andru, by contrast, is glorious and even iconic as we see a gymnastic Spidey above the city on a screen being zapped from off-page. Perhaps benefitting from the return to background inks by Dave Hunt?  I love this splash.


The action pans backwards away from the screen to gradually reveal the newest (upright and humanoid) Spider-Slayer zapping the screen with Marla Maddison watching on, testing a chest-plate full of gizmos and ... a faceplate showing Jonah Jameson - projected, we learn from his true form sitting elsewhere wearing that shower-cap 'psycho-cybernetic helmet' via which he controls the Slayer.


The action cuts to a foggy highway and a truck menaced by a speeding 'glowin' ball floatin' alongside". The driver is mesmerised by this ball and crashed the truck. The ball fades to the form of a man (who neatly informs us the truckies are only stunned), that man rips off the back door of the truck and collects a small device before fading away into the night.
We learn from this weird guy that he is doing what he is ordered to do so in an attempt to 'regain my lost humanity' despite not wanting to and accepts the description of 'a cursed Will-O'-the-Wisp!"


So that's the introduction of "Marvel's Most Shocking New Super-Star" - I actually quite like this design, the flowing hair and the wisp/light effect is quite original and the name doesn't scream 'lame/loser' to me as it seems to for many readers. So far so acceptable.


The action cuts again to Peter Parker and Mary Jane meeting her Aunt Mrs Watson to watch his Aunt May protesting for Old people's rights - complete with sandwich board and loudhailer!
"We Will Not Be Moved!!"
"I can't believe it! My own doting Aunt... A Grey Panther!"
The question that follows this show of strength by May is, thankfully, addressed b y Peter, namely that if her 'weak' heart can take such action...perhaps it can take him revealing his secret Spider-Man identity!
This does need to be addressed and we are obviously left wondering here if a siesmic change in Peter's relationship with his Aunt is in the pipeline...


More sinister is a sudden feeling by Peter that he is being watched by some unseen person on the rooftops so he makes excuses, puts MJ on a bus, changes to Spider-Man in an abandoned building and runs straight into the New Spider-Slayer!
"Oops"
It's a great half-page panel confrontation.


Spidey learns of some of the anti-Spidey optional extras this time around including a blinding chest light - but Spider-sense helps Spidey avoid the lumbering robot which crashes into a wall allowing our hero to escape.
"No! Come Back!"
"Mr J, you have got to be kidding!"
I like this move, there is no purpose in staying to battle JJ's new toy here and no lost honour in leaving - treating it with the contempt it deserves is a refreshing spin.


Elsewhere we catch up with Harry Osborn and Liz Allen, trying to cheer up a depressed Flash Thompson.
They (and we) meet Harry's pschycho-analyst Dr Barton Hamilton in his flashy car who charms everyone. Harry is clearly taken with the man while Liz is less so but Flash considers seeing him for his own troubles...clearly we'll be meeting him again!


That evening, Joe Robertson leaves the Bugle, gets in his car and finds Spider-Man in his back seat. Spidey asks if JJ has been acting "any stranger than usual?" and although Joe mentions JJ has a mysterious envelope locked in his desk he ends the meeting with a rant at Spidey for invading his personal/home life.


Of course Spider-Man follows this up and breaks into the Bugle to locate the envelope.
A security guard nearly catches him but our hero gets away with the package. Before he checks it out though he spots the glowing ball we last saw at the crashed truck and watches it pass clean through a building wall.
He watches through a window as the ball becomes the figure we saw before and breaks into a wall safe... Spider-man turns the light on and we see the full figure of the 'Will-O'-The-Wisp!" revealed.


As he tries to stop him Spidey discovers the Wisp is not solid although still capable of punching him in the head - and out of the building!


Surprisingly the ball of light helps slow Spider-Man's fall - again showing the bad-guy may not be all that bad after all - and they confront each other again.
Spidey drops and then recovers JJ's envelope while the Wisp thinks the envelope is what he was out to steal from the safe. He glows bright and mesmerises our hero who can now no longer move a muscle.... and JJ arrives in the form of the new Spider-Slayer.
A three-way battle is set for....next issue!


So, not a bad issue, the arrival of Harry's doctor suggests future plotlines, the collection of JJ's evidence-envelope points to closure of a running one and we get great Andru art as we tie them all together.
He seems to become a laughing stock in fandom later but the Will-O'-the-Wisp is quite a menacing mystery here that I'm enjoying.

Just me?

Clearly he's under the thrawl of someone else - I just hope it's not the Kingpin again.

Next Issue "Warfare on the Great White Way!"


Come Back...

Amazing Spider-Man #168 (05/77)
Writer - Len Wein - Editor Penciller - Ross Andru
Inker - Mike Esposito Background inks - David Hunt
Cover Art – Ed Hannigan & John Romita
   "Murder on the Wind!"
Ed Hannigan pencils with John Romita's inks makes an interesting and fine enough cover here, the perspective is eye-catching and the Will-O'-The-Wisp actually looks quite threatening.
"Some men call me Will-O'-The-Wisp! But you can call me Death!"
The caption "Introducing the most senses-shattering New Super-Star of All!" seems to indicate an intention to at least have this guy become a hero-figure if not spin-off into his own adventures rather than Villain-of-the-month.
I don't think he caught the imagination as hoped.


Ross Andru turns in another fine splash page, the ice rink at the 'Rockefeller Plaza' with paralysed Spider-Man, menacing Will-O and attacking Spider-Slayer picking straight up from where we left off last issue.


Of all his attachments to his slayer, Jonah turn on his chest-searchlight (why would he do that?) which shines straight through the wierd Will-O and (who would have guessed it?) shines into Spider-Man's eyes, cancelling the hypnotic paralysis spell that had held him motionless between issues.
The Slayer passes through the Wisp, Spidey kicks it back and it falls on top of the Wisp. How he was intangiable and then knocked over is annoyingly vague.


Rather than continue the fight the Wisp cries out in obvious pain and disappears-

"My Head... The unbearable Agony...! But it's too soon... Too Soon!!"


This leaves Spidey and the Slayer to fight each other, ending as - despite being able to see behind himself - the Slayer slips on the ice into the plaza statues enabling Spider-Man to swing away to safety... with the prized envelope everyone was after!


Back at his lair Marla assures Jonah they'll learn from this defeat...


Back to his apartment Spidey checks the envelope contents,

"Oh...my...lord..."
This scene finally links back to that memorable one in ASM #151 when Peter threw his clone body in the incinerator...and someone watched him!!
We still don't know who but now Peter knows the photos exist...and Jonah has seen them!
"and, most importantly of All -- what am I supposed to do now?"
I'm not sure if anyone knew where this sub-plot was going even here but it is gripping.


We then catch up with the Will-O' who has appeared in front of a shadowed figure who seems to be influencing him... revealed to be "Jonas Harrow"
He may not look that familiar but we are reminded he is the (mad?)scientist behind the 're-creation' of Hammerhead and Kangaroo, recent adversaries of our hero.


He annonces he intends the Wisp to 'execute' Spider-Man. The Wisp argues he wants none of it but Harrow explains he has agizmo capable of 'mind-shattering Agony that awaits you should you refuse my command?"
"N-No! Not That! It would Destroy me!"

So there you have it, the Wisp is a helpless pawn in Harrow's plans, not a bad-guy per-se.


We catch back up with Peter, exiting his darkroom having put in motion a 'cock-eyed scheme' to get himself out of the photo-gate corner, before relaxing with MJ.


Later that night Spider-Man breaks back into Jonah's office again and replaces the envelope he took before.
Wondering if Jonah thinks Peter Parker has/had been killed and replaced Spidey is again attacked by the ball-of-light-version of the Will-O'-The-Wisp.


They battle and we watch the Wisp struggle with his orders to kill our hero, he notices Harrow in the crowd watching the fight and concludes he is close enough to destroy the Wisp if he disobeys.
The Wisp hypnotises onlookers as he did Spidey before but decides not to endanger others and take the fight to the rooftops.


He details his origin, an accident caused him to lose 'the natural magnetic adhesion of my body's very molecules', he turned to Harrow for help but he placed an implant in his skull to control his actions from then on, threatening to disperse his atoms if he refuses orders.


He holds Spider-Man and begins to send a shock through them both to kill our hero but he... resists!
"...I...Am ... Not...A ... Murderer!!"


He jumps from the rooftops and bursts into a blur of molecules and is...blown away on the wind..!


Spider-Man senses there is still a threat watching him from the crowd but swings away without discovering the source.
Harrow remains at large and just as determined to destroy our hero as ever....and the Will-O'-the -Wisp....is gone.....


Not a bad issue, entertaining battles and a long-time-coming revelation both of the villain and of the contents of that envelope so plotlines are moving forward which is always good.
Clearly Harrow will be back and presumably so will the Wisp -- if reaction is positive here? His powers are a bit vague but I liked his look in general.
The chest-light freeing hypnotised Spidey was the most annoyingly cluncky piece of writing for some time and drags the quality of this issue down I fear.


Nest Issue "It's the Photo-Finish of the conflict between J.Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker! Plus the most unexpected Super-foe of the month! Be here for... Confrontation!"
So - that'll be the final end conclusion for ever of the clone-saga...yes?
Oh dear.


Come Back...

One thing or another delayed my reading of ASM 167 and 168, but now I have.

The action cuts to a foggy highway and a truck menaced by a speeding 'glowin' ball floatin' alongside". The driver is mesmerised by this ball and crashed the truck. The ball fades to the form of a man (who neatly informs us the truckies are only stunned), that man rips off the back door of the truck and collects a small device before fading away into the night.

Considering how badly the truck crashed, I find it hard to believe that the men were only unconscious with minor injuries that “Wispy” could treat, proving he's not completely bad.

"No! Come Back!"
"Mr J, you have got to be kidding!"
I like this move, there is no purpose in staying to battle JJ's new toy here and no lost honour in leaving - treating it with the contempt it deserves is a refreshing spin.

The Spider-Slayers never impressed me. The most threatening one was the first one, which detected that Peter was Spider-Man, which was disbelieved by the observers.

Elsewhere we catch up with Harry Osborn and Liz Allen, trying to cheer up a depressed Flash Thompson.
They (and we) meet Harry's pschycho-analyst Dr Barton Hamilton in his flashy car who charms everyone. Harry is clearly taken with the man while Liz is less so but Flash considers seeing him for his own troubles...clearly we'll be meeting him again!

Dr Barton looks a lot like another version of what Stan Lee looked like back then.

Surprisingly the ball of light helps slow Spider-Man's fall - again showing the bad-guy may not be all that bad after all - and they confront each other again.

While falling, we are treated to this very stilted monologue from Spidey in this panel:


Later that night Spider-Man breaks back into Jonah's office again and replaces the envelope he took before.
Wondering if Jonah thinks Peter Parker has/had been killed and replaced Spidey is again attacked by the ball-of-light-version of the Will-O'-The-Wisp.

The most intriguing part of the story is the continuing threat of the photograph.

He details his origin, an accident caused him to lose 'the natural magnetic adhesion of my body's very molecules', he turned to Harrow for help but he placed an implant in his skull to control his actions from then on, threatening to disperse his atoms if he refuses orders.

It’s hard for me to reconcile implanting something in his skull with his ability to become intangible.

Amazing Spider-Man #169 (06/77)
Writer - Len Wein - Editor Penciller - Ross Andru
Inker - Mike Esposito Background inks - David Hunt
Cover Art – Al Milgrom & Frank Giacoia
  "Confrontation!"
Al Milgron does a great John Romita on this cover which is straightforward and dramatic. I love the background fading out to spotlight the only thing that matters here - Jonah confronting Peter with those photos - which I also love for actually depicting the same views as the photos do inside.
Simple but memorable. My kind of cover.


The inside story begins with Spider-Man (embarrassed at discovering a whole in his costume boot) foiling the hijacking of a Police van. A standard opening.


As an aside - I'm always confused - aren't you dear reader? - here Spidey's footwear is described as a boot but often is drawn to look more like a sock and for his spider-stickey-feet to work (as we often see Peter's bare feet adhering to walls etc) wouldn't he have to wear a pretty thin material layer - i.e. a sock rather than a boot...? These are important questions that keep us up at night aren't they...? ....no...? Just me then...again.


We cut away to JJ and Marla Madison repairing the recently defeated Spider-Slayer and Jonah deciding he needs to use an alternative method to defeat Spider-Man...


We cut away again to see Harry Osborn leaving a therapy session with Dr Bart Hamilton - who we recently met - feeling like a new man. (and not remembering the sessions! - red flag moment?) Fiance Liz Allen arrives and everyone are all smiles as the doctor calls in his next patient....what could be ominous here..?


Spidey returns home and changes to Peter as Jonah visits.
"Did you come all this way for a reason Jonah -- or are you just slumming?"
Jonah gets right on to it..."I've come here to Reveal you for the Imposter you are!!" and tries to rip Peter's mask off! "Hey, y-you're...not...wearing...a...mask."

It is a strong scene, physically violent showing the anger on Jonah's part, eventually he slams that envelope on the table. Peter has been waiting for this.
We again see the contents of that envelope, photos (actual comic panels!) from when Spider-Man threw Peter parker's clone/dead body into an incinerator as per ASM #151.
"Mr Jameson, there has to be some explanation for this!"
"Now that I'd like to hear!"
As if unrehearsed Peter searches and finds apparently 'old' photos of his and Spidey in the same poses as if used and copied/phot-shopped into the composite pictures Jonah has. "Do you notice any unusual similarities, Jonah?"
Peter sums up his case for the photos to be forgeries..."Nice try, buster... but since you're the only one with access to your original photos...who besides you sould have produced those forgeries??"
It's a great point and one Peter hadn't considered..."Cripes! I hadn't considered that!"
Quick thinking Peter puts the blame on then-roomate Harry while he was the Green Goblin and ... it actually works!
"Enough, Parker! You've convinced me!"
Peter uses the moment of Jonah appologising to ask for a raise which enrages JJ back to his usual self!
"Everything is finally back to normal!"
It's a fitting end to a tense scene, well written and well coreographed - signifiying Len Wein's absolute end to Gerry Conway's lingering Clone-sub-plot. It's still good now.
(Absolute end..? Sigh.)


Of course that scene is the most important of this issue - but there is still more going on...
There's a Stan Lee cameo (and some competition winners get their panel too!) as Spidey reviews the success of his ruse.


Eventually we and the plot, moves on... Spidey's Spider-Sense alerts him to several shadowed figures entering a building. he snatches one - wearing a hi-tech lackey's suit and pumps him for information.
Spidey enters the building to find the other guys, in the same uniforms, erecting a 'laser-cannon'. He fights them and the cannon's effects on the walls and roof - one of the bad-guys nearly breaks his fists punching our hero's stomach ( every now and then it's nice to be reminded of Spider-Man's strength levels) but eventually Spidey reveals the boss bad-guy hiding in the shadows.
The large build guy with the cigarette holder can only be ... "...Kingpin!" but much to our hero's surprise (and ours for once!) - it is not Wilson Fisk who steps from the shadows but... "My name is Doctor Faustus!"


There's your cliff-hanger!.
So, the Jonah's photos scene is very well done, ending that plothole in a pretty successful and convincing way.
The final reveal of Faustus comes after a bit of padding but is neatly done - we were all thinking it was the (yawn)Kingpin again weren't we? So good that that surprise was not given away by a cover too.


The laser cannon reminded me of a similar piece of hardware in Ross Andru's 'Tomorrow War' in MTU - anyone else remember the gun I'm thinking of?


All in all a much better issue than it could have been.
We are still hanging on to good at the moment.


Next Issue "Madness Is All In The Mind!" (Love that title!)
Come Back...

As an aside - I'm always confused - aren't you dear reader? - here Spidey's footwear is described as a boot but often is drawn to look more like a sock and for his spider-stickey-feet to work (as we often see Peter's bare feet adhering to walls etc) wouldn't he have to wear a pretty thin material layer - i.e. a sock rather than a boot...? These are important questions that keep us up at night aren't they...? ....no...? Just me then...again.

I’m of the same mind. It never really looked like a boot, and the thicker the material the harder it is to believe that his foot can stick to a surface.

We cut away again to see Harry Osborn leaving a therapy session with Dr Bart Hamilton - who we recently met - feeling like a new man. (and not remembering the sessions! - red flag moment?) Fiance Liz Allen arrives and everyone are all smiles as the doctor calls in his next patient....what could be ominous here..?

Of course there has to be something sketchy about Harry’s shrink, otherwise why pay so much attention to him?

Quick thinking Peter puts the blame on then-roomate Harry while he was the Green Goblin and ... it actually works!
"Enough, Parker! You've convinced me!"

It’s a nice resolution to the photo subplot. But who sent the photos to Jonah?

The large build guy with the cigarette holder can only be ... "...Kingpin!" but much to our hero's surprise (and ours for once!) - it is not Wilson Fisk who steps from the shadows but... "My name is Doctor Faustus!"

Nicely done. They purposely had us expecting the Kingpin.

3 : something that resembles or is likened to a boot
especially : an enclosing or protective casing or sheath (as for a rifle or over an electrical or mechanical connection)

Catching up (yet) again and giving my thoughts on ....

ASM 163-164 - I commented on part one a while back, and I'll save you the trouble of looking up what I said then.  In a nutshell, I agree with Richard that a Kingpin story where he goes toe to toe physically with Spidey is pretty ho hum, and this one was no exception.  

ASM 165-166 - The Lizard is one of Spidey's classic villains, going back to the very early days, as he debuted in ASM # 6.  He was also a callback to Marvel's Monster Era, which predates Fantastic Four #1.  I've always seen Stegron as a cheap imitation of the Lizard, and his master plan here is right out of old Lizzy's playbook - enslave humanity with an army of creatures like you backing you up.  I think this would have been more interesting if Lizzy and Steggy had a knock down pier six brawl and the Lizard brought a reptile army to fight off Stegron and his dinosaur buddies.  I think it's also kind of pathetic the way Stegron loses, with a bit of cold weather sealing his doom.

ASM 167-168 - Just like Richard, I agree that it was good writing to have Spidey treat JJJ and this latest version of the Spidey-Slayer with dismissive contempt.  Wein did a good job by building up this Slayer as the most dangerous one ever, and then twist it to basically say "and that still ain't much".  Where Richard and I differ is on Will O The Wisp.  While my friend has a soft spot for Wispy, all I have is disdain.  Somebody thought WOTW was going to be huge, with 2 covers back to back screaming that he was Marvel's next big thing.  It's kind of a mystery; if it was Len that was so high on him, why didn't he ever use him again?  If someone else, what happened?  Was the reaction that bad?  Granted, the story did the character few if any favors.  He isn't very heroic most of the time, his powers are vague and poorly defined, and he's in thrall to such a minor member of Spidey's rogues gallery that our hero doesn't even know Jonas Harrow exists.

I found these issues a bit of a chore to read through.  I read #163-169 in one sitting a few days back, and at times it felt like slogging through oatmeal.  I'm sure that it didn't help that a few days prior, I read Lee and Ditko's ASM #11-14.  Talk about a night and day difference!
In my opinion, Len Wein has some strengths.  He skillfully builds subplots.  He uses the supporting characters very well, and writes a good Peter Parker.  He knows when to have Spidey use humor, and when to be serious.  I see weaknesses too.  The main plots are kind of "out there" for Spidey.  Len doesn't have a great handle on the villains and their motivations to me.  Reading these stories back to back you see he repeats some tricks as both writer (Lizard! Stegron! And Spidey's caught in the middle!  Spider-Slayer! Will O The Wisp!  And Spidey's caught in the middle!) and editor (both Kingpin and Stegron appear on the cover and are in the title of the story, but are hidden in shadows until a "shocking" reveal; back to back covers proclaiming WOTW as Marvel's newest superstar, more overkill than a mistake, but still).

Len Wein co-created at least a couple of genuine superstars in Swamp Thing & Wolverine, but Will O' the Wisp fell far short of that and verified you can't make a character a "superstar" just by proclamation.  I usually enjoyed most of the stories I've read by Wein but he never particularly impressed me with his writing, at least not in the manner that his contemporaries such as Gerber, Englehart & Moench, did at their best.  Of course, as editor at DC, he was responsible for bringing onboard Alan Moore, one of the best comics writers ever in my estimation. 

As to the discussion on Spidey's footwear, certainly it wouldn't make much sense for it to be actual boots which would negate the sticking capacity of his feet.  Outside of Marie Severin's depiction in Not Brand Echh, however, Spidey's booties have never looked particularly sock-like, except in comparison to the boots of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, etc.  Also brings to my mind, in light of current events, the gloves too.  At the insistence of one of my co-workers, I have worn protective gloves the past few weeks at work but don't particularly like wearing them.  They do tear rather easily and are difficult to pull off.  One of the lighter magic aspects of superheroes for those that wear gloves, which is most of them, that they are rarely if ever shown to rip or be of any hindrance to the heroes, not even Daredevil when he's shown using a gloved hand to put his extra-sensitive touch powers to work such as to "read" printed text.                                                                                                                                                    

ASM 169 - while I found the previous issues somewhat mediocre as outlined in my post above, I have to say this was a good one.  First off, the cover really grabs your attention and would have done what a cover is supposed to do, make me want to buy the issue.  I think inker Frank Giacoia deserves at least half the credit that it looks to be a Romita Senior effort here rather than just Milgrom alone.  Milgrom was a competent enough artist that he could have done an ok job (yes I'm darning him with the faintest of praise).  When he has inked his own pencils, it looked more sketchy than this cover.  A great example of this would be his covers on Spectacular Spider-Man, he did most of them between #75-100.  It looked like on those covers he was trying to emulate Ditko without being able to pull it off, although in fairness that would be very tough to do.  In the 80s he did a lot of interior work on Avengers and West Coast Avengers.  When inked by Joe Sinnott, it looked great; with others, not so much.  Again just my opinion.

The confrontation, I mean ... "CONFRONTATION!" ... with Jonah was great.  Nice plot twist for Jonah to demand to know "who besides you could have produced those forgeries?", something Peter hadn't considered as stated, but brilliant on the spot thinking by our hero to successfully deflect this one too.

The rest of the issue was decent, with a good bit of mystery going on and not spoiled by the cover or title of the story.  Liked the little twist of the Kingpin fakeout turning out to be Dr. Faustus.  If it had been Fisk no one would have been surprised as it seemed everyone in the 70s was dying and then returning hale and hearty sometime later, especially the villains.  Returning five issues after appearing to die would have been a bit much though.  "What is Faustus up to?" may not be the greatest cliff hanger ever, but this was a good story and 'twill do.

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