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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Amazing Spider-Man #149 (10/75)
Writer - Gerry Conway Editor - Marv Wolfman
Penciller - Ross Andru Inker - Mike Esposito
Cover Art – Gil Kane & Frank Giacoia
  “Even If I Live, I DIE!"
A Gil Kane cover is always a winner with me but this is only kind of okay for him, it IS a scene out of the interior which is always welcome and it does the job - it's just not leaping off the page for me.
Spider-Man vs Spider-Man is a good hook but

"--Or Ned Leeds is DOOMED!" definatley feels a bit flat - Ned has never been that much of a sympathetic or beloved cast-member, kind of diminishes the stakes a tad.


One point regarding the credits - we have a temporary Editor here as Marv Wolfman steers the ship while Len Wein... prepares himself to write ASM!
This is Gerry Conway's LAST issue as writer for the forseable future and I wonder how much notice Len Wein had before he had to come up with a storyline to get out of the predicament Conway leaves behind? Interesting.


So, Conway's last issue begins right where the other left off with the revelation that the Jackal is Professor Warren, "But -- But that's -- INSANE--!" and a helpful full-page recap as to how we got to this point - then we move on forward awhile and location to an abandoned building where Spider-Man wakes to find himself strapped down next to Ned Leeds. Not impressed, Spidey easily frees himself and asks, "Anything you want to say before I tear you apart?"
"Only this, dear boy: You Haven't A Chance!" (Did you notice the colon ':' again!?)
They begin trading blows and very quickly the Jackal gets the upper hand (sorry!) ripping into Spider-Man with his claws again and again - not drugged this time but pretty effective.
(No explanation yet as to how he can outbattle the super-younger-hero.)
Over our defeated star the Jackal asks the questions we all are ... "Why? Why does he Hate me? Why is he going to kill me?"


At last we get the backstory Conway has been hiding all this time. Professor Warren 'admired' Gwen Stacy from their first meeting, he felt protective, 'fatherly' and when he read of her death (reading the skewed headline - from the Bugle no doubt- that she was slain by Spider-Man ) - "--Something died within Me too."
Later in his lab he and his lab assistant Anthony Serba successfully clone a frog which leads Warren to utilise the tissue samples we were previously informed he had taken from his entire study-class, telling Serba they were from rats - two samples.


Four weeks later, a very upset Serba announced to Warren "Those samples-- I've cloned both subjects -- and they're Human! We have to destroy them At Once!" This leads Warren to silence his assistant... by strangling him to death. At that moment Warren's mind fractures and he blames someone else for the murder not believeing it of himself. "The Jackal... That's who killed Serba... Not Me. The Jackal"


In a subtle piece of foreshadowing (?) Warren destroys Serba's body in an incinerator.


He then created the Jackal persona, looking after the clones, designing a costume and training himself physically. (That's it? A bit of working out and he can beat Spider-Man..?)
"At last, the day came----her clone casket opened with a pneumatic sigh-- " Clone-Gwen was completed, (no real explanation how she was aged but we do learn that although hypnosis brought it out, "Her memory was intact, but buried." -all of which needs a certain amount of disbelief-suspended eh?!)


Spider-Man recovers as the Jackal races away and leaves him with a venue for their next meeting that night - Shea stadium, along with a teaser... "There we will have our Final contest -- Between YOU and Your Hidden SELF!"


At the Bugle, MJ and JJJ are consoling Betty Brant/Leeds over Ned, Gwen and Peter being missing. Peter drops in and despite everyone protesting he claims not to have seen Ned in over a week but promises to find him and leaves.
We then move on to the stadium as arranged and the next stage of this encounter. This has felt like a bit of padding here, or a way of reminding us all where the supporting cast are etc, little seems to have been gained and we could have gone from Spider-Man and the Jackal running from their initial encounter with the clone-revelations into the stadium and this scene without the filler couldn't we?


Anyway, it's midnight and so the Stadium is deserted and very quickly the Jackal again attacks and drugs Spider-Man. "Sleep well, and when you awake-- You'll be a New Man!" - interesting line that - and with hindsight potentially loaded with all sorts of possibilities as to who ends up being who..?!
The scene finally set and Spider-Man wakes in the centre of the Stadium, "Wow. Ifeel like I've been stung by a Hornet" - AND so does Spider-Man, "Wow, I feel like I've been stung by a Hornet."
It's an epic moment. Two Spider-Men, both speaking the same lines, both equally invested in the situation.
Which one is which...?
Where does the second one come from...?
"In case you hadn't guessed, Spider-Man-- Gwen wasn't the Only clone I made!"


We quickly learn that the Jackal has given the clone of Peter the memories of Peter, "RNA - your memory cells!" - (really?)
"Both you and your clone believe yourselves to be -- Real. But only one of you IS--"
Adding to the predicament he explains that a bomb that he has next to a tied up Ned Leeds can only be defused by the REAL Spider-Man ! (How?)
This then sets the two Spider-Men into a fight with each other. Both ernest in their beliefs that they are the 'true' hero here, "You're NUTS!"


As the bomb countdown, um, counts down and the fight continues, even-sided, Clone-Gwen begins to show some independant thought and rebels against the Jackal, "You're nothing but a heartless fiend -- and I Hate you!"
This has the effect of shocking Warren to reality " Dear Heaven! I Killed Anthony Serba-- Not The JACKAL!" and he frees Ned,

"Hey! The Jackal released Ned!"
"No -- Not the Jackal: Professor Warren!" (Another colon':'!)


Although having freed Ned, the Jackal/Warren cannot get away quick enough and the bomb explodes -- "And as quickly as that, the game is over."
As the dust clears there is much rubble and we actually see the dead Warren under some of it while Spider-Man manages to free Ned who is alive and Gwen runs to check on our hero.
"The other ME?" He's gone Gwen." - So one of the two Peters is dead.
Pause for dramatic effect.
"Oh, I'm the REAL one, Gwen, believe me."
"But... how can you Tell...?"
"Simple. I... Uh... Far out."
Wow! What an ending! What a concept!


We get two Epilogues, the first ends with Clone-Gwen suggesting she and Peter don't live their lives like they were set in stone and she walks out to her own life. The tearful last panel is a real punch in the guts.


The second Epilogue sees Peter rerturning to his block, his Spider-Sense warning of someone in his apartment and as he hopes..."It's Her! It's Got to be Her!" we wonder 'does he mean Gwen or... "Mary Jane! Lady am I ever glad to see you." and the door and the issue close.
Let's not think too deeply about this-- why would his Spider-sense WARN him that MJ is in his apartment..?
It's an emotional ending to an emotional action-packed issue that has had incalculable ramifications ever since and whatever your view of those events...this one is a bona-fide classic.


I loved it.


What next for our hero? A  #150th Anniversary issue...?


Come Back...

Gwen Stacy's return, for all its future implications, lasted a mere five months. In fact, by the time she's written out in #149, reactions to her return were in the letters' page!

Still can't believe that Gen was allowed to leave or how she could survive on her own with no legitimate i.d. or credentials!

What If #30 (D'81) provided both a sequel and prequel to the Clone Saga!

Richard Mantle said:

Ned has never been that much of a sympathetic or beloved cast-member, kind of diminishes the stakes a tad.

Since I started with Spider-Man is ASM #9 I resented Ned because Betty Brant was Peter’s first love.

They begin trading blows and very quickly the Jackal gets the upper hand (sorry!) ripping into Spider-Man with his claws again and again - not drugged this time but pretty effective.
(No explanation yet as to how he can outbattle the super-younger-hero.)

Right after killing his assistant and having his psychotic break, the caption says that he spent several months, among other things, training himself “athletically.” He’s agile and he always makes sure Spidey is drugged. He isn’t so much trading blows as bobbing, weaving and doing acrobatics. He does pick up that wooden table and hit Spidey with it, so I guess he lifted weights, too. Mainly, Spidey is drugged.

At last we get the backstory Conway has been hiding all this time. Professor Warren 'admired' Gwen Stacy from their first meeting, he felt protective, 'fatherly' and when he read of her death (reading the skewed headline - from the Bugle no doubt- that she was slain by Spider-Man ) - "--Something died within Me too."

Yeah, he felt fatherly. And he hates Peter because he was “loved by Gwen Stacy.”

It isn’t said in the story, but I assume Warren realized Peter was Spider-Man when the clone showed he had spider-powers.

Later in his lab he and his lab assistant Anthony Serba successfully clone a frog which leads Warren to utilise the tissue samples we were previously informed he had taken from his entire study-class, telling Serba they were from rats - two samples.

It’s odd that he had only two samples (or chose only two) and that one would be of Peter Parker, who he resented even before he thought Peter killed Gwen. It’s also odd that Peter would allow someone to have tissue samples. In previous stories he was concerned that blood samples would reveal his secret.

"At last, the day came----her clone casket opened with a pneumatic sigh-- " Clone-Gwen was completed, (no real explanation how she was aged but we do learn that although hypnosis brought it out, "Her memory was intact, but buried." -all of which needs a certain amount of disbelief-suspended eh?!)

So Gwen not only aged to the same age as when her sample was taken, but her memories up to that same time were somehow stored in the tissue? So how come Peter’s clone had memories up to the point Spider-Man was knocked out, and therefore couldn’t distinguish between himself and the clone?

It’s strongly implied by Warren’s helping the naked object of his obsession from the “casket” and by Spidey’s reaction to “what you’ve done to that girl” that any fatherly feelings on Warren’s part are now gone.

At the Bugle, MJ and JJJ are consoling Betty Brant/Leeds over Ned, Gwen and Peter being missing. Peter drops in and despite everyone protesting he claims not to have seen Ned in over a week but promises to find him and leaves.

JJJ’s violent reaction to Peter’s saying he hadn’t seen Ned in over a week makes me wonder if JJJ saw Ned with Peter, but it was actually Peter’s clone. This is just dropped, I believe.

We quickly learn that the Jackal has given the clone of Peter the memories of Peter, "RNA - your memory cells!" - (really?)
"Both you and your clone believe yourselves to be -- Real. But only one of you IS--"
Adding to the predicament he explains that a bomb that he has next to a tied up Ned Leeds can only be defused by the REAL Spider-Man ! (How?)

RNA has nothing to do with memories, certainly not complex ones.

We’ve established that the doctor could tell that Gwen was a clone (how?), so the bomb can tell which Spidey is the clone. Simple, eh?

Although having freed Ned, the Jackal/Warren cannot get away quick enough and the bomb explodes -- "And as quickly as that, the game is over."

I don’t remember how they explained it, but I know that they brought Warren back for the (endless) clone saga. I was surprised that this issue didn’t show Peter’s clone being dumped into the smokestack. I now see that that sequence is in issue #151, issue after next.

We get two Epilogues, the first ends with Clone-Gwen suggesting she and Peter don't live their lives like they were set in stone and she walks out to her own life. The tearful last panel is a real punch in the guts.

Like Philip said, “Gwen” had no documents or money. So she works odd jobs (like The Fugitive and TV’s Hulk) and wound up getting fake ID’s? I guess we shouldn’t over-think it.

"Mary Jane! Lady am I ever glad to see you." and the door and the issue close.

The door also closed when Mary Jane was consoling Peter immediately after real-Gwen’s death. This time is even more suggestive.

Let's not think too deeply about this-- why would his Spider-sense WARN him that MJ is in his apartment..?

I don’t think any writer ever made coherent sense out of Spidey’s sense.

“So how come Peter’s clone had memories up to the point Spider-Man was knocked out, and therefore couldn’t distinguish between himself and the clone?”

I dunno...

?

In the What If story, the clone looked and acted slightly younger than the real Spidey.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“So how come Peter’s clone had memories up to the point Spider-Man was knocked out, and therefore couldn’t distinguish between himself and the clone?”

I dunno...

?

Amazing Spider-Man #150 (11/75)
Writer - Archie Goodwin Editor - Marv Wolfman
Penciller - Gil Kane Inker - Mike Esposito & Frank Giacoia
(Background inks - David Hunt)
Cover Art – Gil Kane & Frank Giacoia
   “Spider-Man... or Spider-Clone?"
A Gil Kane cover with no less than three arch-enemies and a (masked) nostril shot is obviously a joy but this is not quite a classic is it, not sure why?
"This Is It! Web-Head's Wonderous 150th ISSUE!"


First thing to realise here though is, while this may be an Anniversary issue - it is NORMAL size. Just let that settle in. I know!.


The splash page perfectly illustrates the 'problem' with this issue - it all feels very familiar!
Peter Parker, after Mary Jane has left (remember the door-closing epilogue last issue? 'One hour later' - she leaves. What did they do for that one hour? Is this significant? Ummm?) contemplates what we probably wondered about before he did - how do we know if he is the 'real' or the clone?


As Spider-Man he swings off to Dr Curt Conners' lab...and someone is watching him..!
Conners arrives and Spider-Man offloads his problems, Conners comes up with a raft of tests and a scientific montage ensues.


The tests take their toll on Spidey who is left 'woozy' but is left to rest and await the results.
Our hero is woken from his sleep by the Vulture, outside, calling his name.
Their last battle (ASM #64) is referenced as they fight in the air and after quite a struggle the Vulture explodes before he hits a wall. "H-He seemed to sort of... Explode..! Just disintergrate into...n-nothing!"


In case no one had read #100 (yes- that was what this familiar story reminds you of !)  "Am I dreaming..? Or Bananas...? Or... W-What?!"


With a 'Kwok!" Sandman attacks, "Why didn't my calendar say this was Old Villain's Night?"
- Everyone has noticed he's wearing his 'old' green striped top right..?
Their previous battles ' such as ASM 18-19 is referenced - kind of like we were highlighting an Anniversary by reminding readers of history..?


A water tower gets knocked towards Sandy who also disappears like the Vulture did. "N-Not a Trace--!"
Spider-Man decides to return to the lab and rest things out but... he gets hit by a cane.... yes...

"now you face... ... The Kingpin!"
Their fight is a lot shorter and also ends with a 'Whump!' - "GONE! Disintegrated into nothingness...!"


(Thankfully) It is acknowledged that this is a very similar scenario "*Our historic 100th Issue" -
Before he can get back to the lab, "Too Late, Spider-Man!" A newer bigger Spider-Slayer attacks, piloted by Professor Smythe.
The previous fighting has depleted Spidey's web-shooters making it easy for Smythe to grip him in a metalic arm and bash him back and forth against walls.


During this we learn that Smythe had created humanoid robots to look like the three villains that attacked with a plan to wear Spidey down before he attacked, which has worked well.
This is a new (and unconvincing) development for Smythe and while it does make a (slight) difference between these 'old-enemies' this issue and the 'fever-fuelled' ones from #100. So it's an original story - ok?


Losing conciousness Spider-Man also begins to lose hope, thinking life may not be worth the fight if he is indeed the clone. As he fades he worries about Aunt May and then is overwhelmed by a wave of love for Mary-Jane!
"--She's the one I care for!"
This makes Spidey realise that if he were the clone he would not feel as he does -- it's a powerful revelation -- "I'm The REAL Spider-Man!"


With renewed purpose and strength he quickly defeats Smythe and returns to Conners's lab, where the Doc sleeps.
Spidey webs (don't ask where the web came from for this?) up the documents with the test result in and - without reading them - throws them away!
"...He has already Found his Answer."
So, it's over. The clone mystery is over and done for ever! (?!)


It's a classic beat in the history of our hero now but it is a bit pedestrian for an Anniversary issue don't you think - way too reminiscent of what has gone before.
Behind the scenes, it should be noted that Gerry Conway has gone as writer - was this with little notice - was this with the question of 'spider-or-clone' unresolved or unaddressed? Was guest writer Archie Goodwin tasked with making a readable issue with little help or time?


Gil Kane's art is fine but nothing really sings in this issue does it? Maybe if we'd have had the Green Goblin thrown into this story it may have ramped up the thrill factor a little - robot or otherwise.


Ross Andru is back next issue -- and THAT scene is finally played out.


Come Back...

Richard Mantle said:

With a 'Kwok!" Sandman attacks, "Why didn't my calendar say this was Old Villain's Night?"
- Everyone has noticed he's wearing his 'old' green striped top right..?

I always liked Sandman’s original green shirt and brown pants. It’s what he was wearing in ASM #4, when he stopped being human, so IMO is part of him. Not sure which outfit he was wearing at the time this was published. I guess it was either the purple clothes he wore as part of the Frightful Four (in the Fantastic Four stories) or that horrible green armor they gave him for some illogical reason.

During this we learn that Smythe had created humanoid robots to look like the three villains that attacked with a plan to wear Spidey down before he attacked, which has worked well.

Tricking Spidey into not only wearing himself out on the three fake enemies and therefore causing him to think that the new spider-slayer was also a fake or a dream was clever. Too bad it wasn’t believable. Smythe never had any robots that looked remotely human, so suddenly he can make such perfect replicas of the old enemies? As you say, not very convincing.

Losng conciousness Spider-Man also begins to lose hope, thinking life may not be worth the fight if he is indeed the clone. As he fades he worries about Aunt May and then is overwhelmed by a wave of love for Mary-Jane!
"--She's the one I care for!"
This makes Spidey realise that if he were the clone he would not feel as he does -- it's a powerful revelation -- "I'm The REAL Spider-Man!"

I guess this makes sense. His feelings have evolved. Or have the feelings of the clone evolved?

With renewed purpose and strength he quickly defeats Smythe and returns to Conners's lab, where the Doc sleeps.
Spidey webs (don't ask where the web came from for this?) up the documents with the test result in and - without reading them - throws them away!
"...He has already Found his Answer."

He normally has other web cartridges in his belt. Presumably he loaded one before encountering Smythe? Much is made of Peter’s scientific leanings. I would think he would have wanted to read the results. Or was he afraid to read them? In any event, Conners knows the results.

It's a classic beat in the history of our hero now but it is a bit pedestrian for an Anniversary issue don't you think - way too reminiscent of what has gone before.

For a special issue, this wasn’t very special.

Behind the scenes, it should be noted that Gerry Conway has gone as writer - was this with little notice - was this with the question of 'spider-or-clone' unresolved or unaddressed? Was guest writer Archie Goodwin tasked with making a readable issue with little help or time?

Stan’s Soapbox* this issue tells us that Len Wein was becoming a “consulting editor” and writer while Marv Wolfman was now editing all of the color comics. Archie Goodwin was filling in on the 150th issue but was editing the black and white books. Len Wein takes over writing next issue.

Archie Goodwin was a terrific writer. He may have been “guided” in writing this. According to the Gerry Conway Wikipedia page, he began writing for DC Comics with titles cover-dated NOV75, the same as ASM 150.

*I’m reading scans of the original comics in the CD set covering the first 40 years of ASM.

I was reading Amazing Spider-Man regularly at this point in my young life but I missed this issue!

It's lot like Mysterio's illusions from #141-142, isn't it?

And how does one create a robot that turns to sand?

Spidey doesn't read Doc Connors' test results. That won't come back to haunt him, will it?

All right. The discussion is up to issue #150, and that’s when I said I’d start reading along (with the comics, not just the discussion). First, I would like to mention that #150 was only the third issue of the regular Spider-Man (i.e., not Marvel Team-Up or Marvel Tales or Giant-Size) I bought new off the stands. Somewhere along the line I had acquired #100 as a backissue, and I remember specifically buying #150 for that reason.

“(Remember the door-closing epilogue last issue? 'One hour later' - she leaves. What did they do for that one hour? Is this significant?”

Slight correction: it doesn‘t say “one hour later, she leaves,” it says “one hour ago, MJ was here.” (She could have been there all afternoon, for all we know.) But “What did they do for that one hour?” AFAIAC, they had sex (which is I’m pretty sure what you were driving at). “Is this significant?” Also AFAIAC, this is when Peter and Mary Jane lost their virginity… to each other. Consider: Gerry Conway was 22 years old when he wrote #149. I’m sure not only sex but also “pushing the envelope” are two topics that would have been foremost on his mind. Plus, if I were trying to convince someone that that’s is what happened without actually coming out and saying it, I would have used language close to what archie Goodwin used in #150: “Peter Parker could lose himself… in her, in their closeness, in their mutual need.”

When I read this for the first time, I got the gist of what was going on, but it would be several more years before I was to read “the clone saga” in its entirety. Having said that, I don’t buy Peter’s reasoning that he is the original because his thoughts were of Mary Jane. In my interpretation of events, he had just had lost his virginity to her an hour or so ago. Clone or not, she’s going to be on his mind.

“Gil Kane's art is fine but nothing really sings in this issue does it?”

Well, no, but it occurred to me yesterday that at least we get to see some good Gill Kane fight scenes with classic villains. Also, unlike #100, there was an actual villain, not just an hallucination (which, AFAIAC, #100’s four additional arms were, too). Unfortunately, Fantastic Four #100 set the precedent for lame Marvel “anniversary” issues for years to come.

“First thing to realize here though is, while this may be an Anniversary issue - it is NORMAL size.

Another slight correction (sorry). What happened in 1825 that this issue is commemorating? (I prefer the term "landmark.”)

Amazing Spider-Man #151 (12/75)
Writer - Len Wein - Editor Penciller - Ross Andru
Inker - John Romita Cover Art – John Romita
   “Skirmish Beneath The Streets"
It's a beautiful Romita cover with expertly rendered water but not too exciting a theme and even the "Can you guess the Shocking Secret Identity of Spidey's Super-Foe?" doesn't raise this cover above generic.

(Water, pressing weight on his shoulders, mystery villain? - Anyone else getting a Ditko/Master Planner vibe here?)


The first three pages act so much like an epilogue for the recent epic that I really wonder if they were actually written by the departing Conway - they certainly belong in the Clone -saga and I believe have been reprinted as a part since.
Spider-Man takes the dead body of his clone to an incinerator plant and drops him into the furnace while reminding us how both got here and... his spider-sense alarms him to a presence...a mystery for later...
Inspired scene - gotta believe it was written with very little idea of the future (kind of like the 'Remember' line in Star Trek II Wrath of Khan..?) but oh so memorable.


(Is there a case to be made that this was the end of the original Spider-Man? Certainly this is a watershed moment and possibly the beginning of another era for our hero.)


As if to illustrate this new beginning, at University Harry Osborn returns! He's very sappy and appears clear of any Green Goblin influences.
"So Harry Osborn is back in town. Wow."


The next scene puts us at JJJameson's penthouse where he is hosting an engagement party for Betty Brant and Ned Leeds. This is sooo out of character but tempered with Jonah's obvious discomfort having guests it kind of makes sense and works wonderfully in highlighting his pompous vanity.
"Er-- rumors? M-Me and... Robert Redford?"
"Mantovani? What group does he play with?"
"Count to ten, Jonah... Count to ten..."
"Try the Tuna-- or you're Fired."
"He'll allow nothing to be served that has more zing than he has."
It's a great scene.
Alongside the comedy we get the Clone debacle from Ned's point of view and get updates from news radio throughout of mysterious blackouts across the city.
As Jonah begins a speech their block is plunged into darkness, allowing Peter to get away, catch a lift from a helicopter, change into Spider-Man and look down at the buildings, discovering the blacked out areas spell out... "SHOCKER"
This seems kind of silly, dramatically it all looks good and it is a great beat in the pacing but ... why does the Shocker do this...? Who would actually work it out?
"--But This is downright Ridiculous!"


Spidey works out that his enemy must be underground affecting the cables and so into the sewers he goes. He finds our bad guy and the fighting begins.
"I don't know How you tumbled to my Plans Wall-crawler--" (Really? After literally spelling his name out..?)
The fight is a familiar one "Blasted Webbing-- Blinding me--!"


The Shocker gets away and blasts the roof down on Spidey who has ran out of webbing and gets knocked unconscious. He wakes, just as the water levels are raising around him...!
What is the Shocker's plan?
Why 'sign' his work?
Are we really supposed to fear Spider-Man may meet his end due to... rain water..?
How can Len Wein write a wonderful scene like the party and then a tired fight scene like this to end the issue?


Next Issue "City In The Dark!"


Come Back...

That was one of most iconic covers of the Bronze Age!

I know that no one believed that Harry was the Green Goblin in #137 but did they know about his actions from that story? That it was he who blew up his apartment, nearly killing Peter and Mary Jane? That he kidnapped Aunt May, Flash and MJ and almost killed one of them too? 

Did Flash and MJ know Harry was involved? If so, it's amazing that he could be released without notifying his victims! And allowed to enroll in the same college!

Richard Mantle said:

As if to illustrate this new beginning, at University Harry Osborn returns! He's very sappy and appears clear of any Green Goblin influences.

Harry almost seems like he’s back on drugs, but I guess he’s disoriented, having been recently released from the institution.

The next scene puts us at JJJameson's penthouse where he is hosting an engagement party for Betty Brant and Ned Leeds. This is sooo out of character but tempered with Jonah's obvious discomfort having guests it kind of makes sense and works wonderfully in highlighting his pompous vanity.

I think it works in that Betty has been with him since Peter was in high school. He likes her and it also makes him seem like a nicer guy than he is. He just can’t pull off the gracious host.

I don’t understand why the Shocker was writing is name in blacked-out city blocks. If he wants to get noticed there must be simpler ways to do it. How many people would ever know he wrote his name?

I always liked the Shocker. His brown and yellow outfit looked good and I thought he was the best Spidey villain created post-Ditko.

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