This issue of Amazing Spider-Man is interesting in that it’s the first issue to feature a villain that is not a traditional Spider-Man villain, namely Dr. Doom. In addition, this is an early example of the formation of a broader Marvel Universe, in which the various series are not in isolation from one another. This issue sees Dr. Doom zero in on Spider-Man as a possible ally to help him take down the Fantastic Four, which is a nice departure from a typical villain who wants to take over the city or world motivation. In addition, Dr. Doom’s motivations for targeting Spider-Man makes sense, as watching media it’s unsure if Spider-Man is a good guy or not and he is certainly an outcast.
However the whole hacking into Spider-Man’s spider signal by Dr. Doom as a way to move the plot forward was a bit hockey. This initial encounter between Dr. Doom and Spider-Man was extremely well-done and really highlighted both Dr. Doom’s arrogance and Spider-Man’s tendency for the quip. Also, it pokes at Lee’s overreliance on the trap door as a source of danger for the heroes, which was a nice touch. Spider-Man’s rejection of Doom’s offer for partnership and Doom’s displeasure at being rejected is an effective way to move the plot along, because the fact that Spider-Man is an unwilling pawn and Dr. Doom’s desire to be in control definitely fits his character. Thus Dr. Doom sets to work on a device to track down Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Flash Thompson decides to dress up like Spider-Man and scare Peter Parker by jumping out at him in costume. Unfortunately for Flash, Dr. Doom tracks down Spider-Man right as he dresses up and Peter Parker is walking by him, which naturally leads Dr. Doom to capture Flash and hold him hostage until the Fantastic Four surrender to him. While not the best plot device, the whole mistaken identity actually works in this case, given the comments made earlier in the issue and is actually a subtle use of foreshadow for once. Although the whole Liz calling Peter to tell him Flash is missing makes absolutely zero sense in regards to the characters’ relationship.
The ensuing encounter between Spider-Man and Dr. Doom is actually even better than the previous one and it really highlights just how dangerous Dr. Doom really is. In addition, the conflict between the two resolves in a way that actually makes sense from a story perspective. Also, this issue does a good job furthering Peter’s relationship with several supporting characters, such as Aunt May and Betty Brant, which has always been a strong point of this series.
- Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
- Writers: Stan Lee
- Pencilers: Steve Ditko
- Inkers: Steve Ditko
- Letterers: Sam Rosen
- Editors: Stan Lee