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 #160 (09/76)
Writer - Len Wein - Editor Penciller - Ross Andru
Inker - Mike Esposito Background inks - David Hunt
Cover Art – Gil Kane & John Romita
   "My Killer, The Car!"
Kane and Romita on cover duties again and they're loving this one aren't they? skewed perspective and ominous action with an undeniable touch of humour.
I love the detail on the shadowy villain in the foreground.


The issue opens in typical Ross Andru style, with Spider-Man swinging through the city and coming upon what seems to be a theft of fur coats.


The thieves are pretty hi-tec - the same group we've been seeing for a while and they drop a gas bomb on our hero.
Out of the haze Spidey is attacked... by his own car!

"The Spider-Mobile has Returned--"
So, the fact that Spidey couldn't find his car in the Hudson river (in #157) is kind of solved and clearly someone's trying to mess with his head - "Nobody is driving the Spider-Mobile!"


Spider-Man runs out of web in his shooters and his hands won't stick to walls -- his powers have gone! (It must be that gas?)
He manages to pole-vault away onto a Police car which chases the mobile which... disappears.


Leaving that as a mystery for later we cut to Peter Parker, with Mary Jane, visiting Aunt May in hospital. There they meet Harry Osborn and Liz Allen who join on in ( a definate couple now eh?).
Gotta love the piece of social commentary - May is no longer interested in Tony Orlando and Dawn - she's now "...really much more interested in Donnie and Marie Osmond."


Next cut is to the Bugle where Jonah gets through another temporary secretary - but this one was no push-over - "According to my contract, Mr. Jameson-- you can't fire me! But nevertheless-- I quit!"
It's another regular comedy scene but there is a sting in the tail and a very important one at that -- Jonah opens a special delivery package... "Th-These are the most Incredible Photos I've ever seen! And if what they show is True-- Then Spider-Man is Finished!"

Ominous eh?


Later at home Peter checks his web-shooters and Spider-powers and all is fine again. It is very annoying however that he puts his power-glitch down to "even the best of us can have our off-days." - come on!! Hasn't he battles the likes of Mysterio enough times to have worked out it might have been down to that gas..?
He goes searching the city until he finds some...'mist'... and even references Mysterio... as the Spider-Mobile returns to menace him again.
At least he climbs a wall expecting that to prevent the car being a threat...only for the car to start driving up the wall!!
That's a nice touch - but was spoilt by the cover really.


As Spidey loses his powers again the car leaps between buildings (no, honestly) and even webs Spidey into a captured package of luggage.
Eventually the car arrives at a rooftop where he confronts the villain responsible for this defeat...

"No! After all this time, it couldn't be -- Him!"
"I am indeed-- The Terrible Tinkerer!" (from way back in Amazing Spider-Man #2 - did you remember him..? No, neither did I.)
"But you -- you're an Alien!"
"Not at all, my boy. That mask I left you holding was merely a ruse--"
So, nope, no aliens in early ASM...just early Hulk, Avengers, FF...


This Tinkerer chappie has a big henchman called Toy who, ahem, 'toys' with Spider-Man until he falls for an insult and rips our hero out of his webbing trap,
"thanks for making things easy for me, bright-eyes!"
The Tinkerer and Spidey fight in the mobile until it crashes and until Spider-Man uses the car's web-canon to web up Toy.


The issue ends with the remains of the car being left outside the window of the offices of the creators of the Spider-Mobile and Spidey commenting..."And Good Riddance".
The Tinkerer alluded to him being employed by another (we know it's the Kingpin don't we?) but we do not see Spidey interrogate him for any reason behind his attack and indeed the entire Spider Vs Mobile issue feels a tad plot-light in the motivation department however fun it might have been to see the visuals.


Most interesting of all then in this issue is probably the 'next issue' blurb... can you imagine a world when this was first published when both Nightcrawler and even the Punisher were relatively new characters..?
"The Pulse-Pounding Punisher returns in pursuit of the most astonishing Guest-Star of all! (Or is it the other way around?) Be here for... "...And The Nightcrawler Came Prowling, Prowling...!"


(Ooh Jeff! A Crossover with your Punisher thread..?)


Come Back...

"(Ooh Jeff! A Crossover with your Punisher thread..?)"

There'll be a crossover with my Kingpin thread soon, too.

I don't think we'll duplicate efforts, though, because I write my "villain" posts from the villain's POV and skip over the regular sub-plots, etc.)

Today my "Marvel Fanfare," "Where Do You Draw the Line?" and "Ka-Zar" discussion will all be "crossing over, too.

I'll read Spider-Man #160 tonight and report back here tomorrow.

My recollection is someone questioned in lettercol whether it made sense for Spidey to leave the Spider-Mobile suspended like that given that his webbing dissolves after an hour. The answer was he used a special webbing for the purpose.

I feel that they just wanted to get rid of the Spider-Mobile for good. It was a silly attempt to give Spidey more merchandise to sell but Peter was no millionaire playboy! Where did he park it? How come no one saw him park it? How could he afford to maintain it? It literally caused more problems than it solved!

The Tinkerer, despite the silly name, would play an important role in the Spider-verse after this, designing weapons, armor and vehicles for various Spider-Foes!

Richard Mantle said:

He manages to pole-vault away onto a Police car which chases the mobile which... disappears.

Len Wein make at least two scripting boo-boos this issue. He refers to the police car as a “black-and-white” when we have been educated by Stan Lee (and much later by Law & Order) that New York City police cars are green-and-white. Also, the cops instantly recognize the spider-mobile when I’m pretty sure it disappeared so quickly that very few people saw it. The second jarring scripting error is that he refers to the “penultimate milkshake” when he obviously meant “ultimate.” Editing your own writing never really works.

At least he climbs a wall expecting that to prevent the car being a threat...only for the car to start driving up the wall!!
That's a nice touch - but was spoilt by the cover really.

Yeah. IMO, they also gave away the Terrible Tinkerer on the cover. He had such a distinctive look that the shadows didn’t disguise him. I wasn’t around for ASM #2 (I started with #9) but his first story had been reprinted long before this issue.

"But you -- you're an Alien!"
"Not at all, my boy. That mask I left you holding was merely a ruse--"
So, nope, no aliens in early ASM...just early Hulk, Avengers, FF...

Well, actually the dialogue in these two panels from ASM #2 makes it clear that the Tinkerer is an alien.

Regarding the Tinkerer, I acquired a reprint of Spider-Man #2 fairly early on, and he was the villain in a Hulk story when I was a kid in the ‘70s. I was actually surprised when I acquired Spider-Man #160, several years later as a backissue, that he hadn’t been a recurring villain for years. I never did like the alien angle, though (wasn’t right for Spider-Man) and I’m glad this story overturned it.

“Next cut is to the Bugle where Jonah gets through another…”

Temporary Secretary.

This early short Spidey story, which I believe was originally intended for Amazing Fantasy, shows the transitioning from the Atlas monster/twilight zone to full-blown Marvel superheroes. 

They could have written the original story establishing the Tinkerer as a traitorous earthman and reflected that in the dialogue. Overturning it seems to indicate that Spidey will never deal with aliens even though he eventually does deal with extraterrestrial threats. This revision is an example of EYKIW.

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