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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The only story I didn't care for from this time was the Stone Tablet. Man Mountin Marko was not a good villain, the ending was taken from at least one pre-FF#1 mystery comic, and years later another writer established the Tablet's effects were only temporary anyway. And now Silvermain isn't just old, he's a robot. After all that effort to get the Tablet it turned out the darned thing wasn't worth a hoot.

Hmm...I adored the stone tablet story. Yes, Marko wasn't any sort of match for Spidey, but I enjoyed the twists and turns of the whole thing.

Ron M. said:

The only story I didn't care for from this time was the Stone Tablet. Man Mountin Marko was not a good villain, the ending was taken from at least one pre-FF#1 mystery comic, and years later another writer established the Tablet's effects were only temporary anyway. And now Silvermain isn't just old, he's a robot. After all that effort to get the Tablet it turned out the darned thing wasn't worth a hoot.


Well Richard, Ock says, "It's Spider-Man! He broke in here! But don't worry ... I'll save you from him!" to May and then wants to take the battle outside. If he didn't care a little why not just gloat over the old dear collapsing?

I think we are forgiven for seeing Ock treating May to his more gallant side as a spark between them here.
Richard Willis said:

Doc Ock actually leaves to save May the stress – (is he actually soft on her?)

Come again? Ock shows no concern for her and leaves, surprised that Spidey is staying in the house, he assumes he's afraid to follow.

It's possible, but then again he could have just been continuing to try to con her in case she came to later and asked about the event, especially if he wanted to go on living there.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN  #55 (12/67)

Writer – Stan Lee – Co-Plot-John Romita – Penciller

Inker – Mike  Esposito

Cover Art – John Romita

“Doc Ock Wins!”

It is one of the most simple covers ever but one of the most effective and memorable.

Perfect. Nuff Said.

The issue opens with Spidey breaking into the hideout of Doc Ock’s minions in a frenzied search for the villain who’s upset him so much.

Ock appears on a screen telling of his plan to commit – of course, ‘the crime of the century!”.

We get a clue of what that might be as Colonel John Jameson briefs a select few on security for the nullifier we’d met before and one of the few is an Ock henchman in disguise…

We follow up on Aunt May’s recovery and feel Peter parker’s angst as she blames Spider-Man not Doc Ock for the damage of last issue.

The plot kicks in when the nullifier’s convoy is attacked by Ock, thanks to his insider knowledge and whisked off to a nearby munitions factory of Tony stark.

This creates a very strange ‘almost-crossover’ where we are told that elsewhere in the same factory grounds Iron man is fighting the Grey Gargoyle in Tales of Suspense #96 but we don’t actually see any part of that adventure and neither impacts on the other at all. So what was that about?

Doc Ock and Spidey battle each other in their inimitable style until Ock actually fires the nullifier at Spidey. Apparently Spidey’s powers make him more susceptible to the nullifiers effects and he collapses.

The last page serves as a powerful cliff-hanger as Spidey seemingly recovers from the nullifier only to reveal that he has no idea who he is, who Ock is and what they’re doing there.

“It seems that our costumed cut-up has really lost his memory!” – As if that wasn’t event enough, Ock slips in with an opportunity,

“The reason for your costume is--- you’re an arch criminal in the service of Dr.Octopus!” And Spidey believes him!

It’s a fantastic twist and a magnificent way to end the issue!

Romita’s art is magnificent as always throughout the issue with a very physical action packed battle between Spidey and Ock alongside comedy moments  like JJJ and Robbie Robertson discussing …”For all we know, Ock is really Spider-man..in disguise!" , and the sniping at each other over Peter of MJ and Gwen.

From beginning to end this whole issue is wonderful –and it’s only the ‘quiet’ middle act of this particular adventure!

A common theme of early comics the idea of losing your memory or losing your mind was particularly worrysome and scary to impressionable youngsters like me and I actually remeber being truely scared for our hero on reading this story, it was that powerful.

Come back…

I'm sure the idea was that perhaps readers of Amazing Spider-Man might be inclined to maybe pick up a copy of Tales of Suspense so they could see how the story unfolded there. In other words, a bit of cross-promotion.

Richard Mantle said:


This creates a very strange ‘almost-crossover’ where we are told that elsewhere in the same factory grounds Iron man is fighting the Grey Gargoyle in Tales of Suspense #96 but we don’t actually see any part of that adventure and neither impacts on the other at all. So what was that about?

That's not the only time that happened. An episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends mentioned Tony Stark, then shows us the reason he's not there is he's in space destroying meteors so they won't crash into Earth. After a few seconds of Iron Man zapping meteors with his repulsor rays the story goes back to Spider-Man and doesn't reference Stark or Iron Man again.
How can JJ say Ock might be Spider-Man in disguise? Haven't they been seen together fighting several times by now? Didn't he already get in enough trouble saying Electro and the Big Man were Spider-Man?

JJJ has a bit of an obsession with destroying Spider-Man, hence his willingness to say pretty much anything to discredit Spider-Man.  He's probably at a point where he's actually believing everything he says, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Ron M. said:


How can JJ say Ock might be Spider-Man in disguise? Haven't they been seen together fighting several times by now? Didn't he already get in enough trouble saying Electro and the Big Man were Spider-Man?

That would make JJ completely off his rocker. Eventually somebody would notice and throw a net over him.

Hmm... Spider-Slayer...the Scorpion...tons of baseless editorials against Spider-Man...yup, I'd say JJJ isn't exactly stable when it comes to Spider-Man.  In fact, he would rival Ock for Spider-Man's arch-nemesis if you look at the things he's done over the years.

One of the things I loved around about this time--well, a little bit later--was Robbie telling him that he needed to confine his issues with Spider-Man to his editorials, or he could find another editor. It made Robbie for me.

Ron M. said:

That would make JJ completely off his rocker. Eventually somebody would notice and throw a net over him.

I've always considered J. Jonah Jameson if not Spider-Man's No. 1 nemesis, at least one of his top five. Even in that classic What If--? story "What If Gwen Stacy Hadn't Died?", the Green Goblin considers Jonah "his greatest enemy save myself."

A couple of quick thoughts:

1. I remember as a boy wondering what Spidey was going to do about that hole in Aunt May's house. I was really quite concerned about it.

2. That Sgt. Fury with the all yellow-and-orange cover was the one I was (re-) reading when I heard the news that MLK had been assassinated. I was home sick, re-reading all my Sgt. Furys, with the TV on.

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