Amazing Spider-Man #7 (12/10/1963)

detailnn.jpgI think that there are two things that the Amazing Spider-Man series does so well compared to other series of this time period. The first one is that the series builds upon previous events, which other series don’t seem to do. Amazing Spider-Man #7 offers a good example of this. While most issues are satisfied with just briefly recapping the last encounter with a villain, the Amazing Spider-Man goes beyond that by incorporating lessons learned form the pervious encounter. For example, Amazing Spider-Man #7 sees the return of the Vulture, an individual that Spider-Man beat in their last encounter pretty handily due to an anti-magnetic device. Thus, this issue sees Spider-Man be over confident due to still having the device.

The other thing that this series does really well is that there are actually consequences to Spider-Man’s actions and encounters. For instance, due to being overconfident in his encounter with the Vulture, Spider-Man comes out of the encounter with a sprained arm. I mean seriously, how many heroes have had an injury up to this point? I can’t think of one. Another thing I’ve always liked about the Spider-Man series is the extensive supporting cast and the important roles they play in the series, such as the dynamics between Peter and Flash, and Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson. When was the last time Don Blake changing into Thor caused him any issues?

Overall, this another solid issue in the series and worth a read. The Vulture, while not one of Spider-Man’s best villains, still is a solid character. In addition, this issue sees further development in the relationship between Betty Brant and Peter. Also, J. Jonah Jameson getting his mouth webbed was just a classic Spider-Man move.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Steve Ditko
  • Inkers: Steve Ditko
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Steve Ditko
  • Editors: Stan Lee

Uncanny X-Men #2 (11/10/1963)

nn.jpgUncanny X-Men #2 unfortunately does not offer any improvements in regards to the flaws that were found in the first issue of the series. In addition, I would argue that this issue is actually a step backwards from issue one. While the training was a clever way of introducing the characters’ powers in the last issue, in this issue it’s wholly unnecessary and overly long, especially when you consider that they show off their powers as they’re rushing to get to Professor X’s side. Also, what is the deal with Ice-Man being all icy except for his boots? Noticeably missing from these early issues is the fear that non-mutants have towards mutants, which is readily lacking during the X-Men’s run through the city.

Replacing Magneto in this issue is the Vanisher, who basically has an incredibly weird intro. I mean I literally read it several times and I still don’t fully get why the police officers not only lead him to the bank, but basically let him rob it. Seriously, it makes no sense to me. While Vanisher’s powers are interesting, his outfit and the fact that he has flock of goons at his side are definitely a negative. Also, his motivations are pretty much the exact same as Magnetos. While the fight between him and the X-Men was fun and draw extremely well, as well as it offered a chance to see Professor X in action, the extremely generic henchmen were a bit overkill.

In the end, this issue really doesn’t offer any growth over the last issue. In fact, it’s pretty much the same exact issue, just with a weaker villain and plot. The X-Men are still pretty generic characters, Jean Grey is still pretty much being drooled after, and Iceman is still a rip off of the Human Torch. Instead of spending so many pages on training, spending some on character development would’ve been nice.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Paul Reinman
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Jack Kirby
  • Inkers: Paul Reinman
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Sam Rosen
  • Editors: Stan Lee

Tales of Suspense #46 (10/10/1963)

detailnnmTales to Suspense #46 is definitely a throwback to the Cold War Era. This issue opens up behind the Iron Curtain with Nikita Khrushchev walking in to see what the Soviet’s top scientist in electricity, Professor Anton Vanko, has been up to. Well, it turns out that Professor Vanko has been up to is creating a suit that can manipulate electrical components via what is admittedly a pretty badass suit, almost like a walking EMP. Naturally Khrushchev views this as a potential way of getting rid of Stark and Iron Man and setting the Americans back in the military technology. While effectively showing, versus just telling a villain’s powers, this intro also really highlights that this issue is a product of the ’60s, with Khrushchev really portrayed in a cowardly and deceitful light.

Eventually, the Crimson Dynamo makes his way the U.S. and begins to sabotaging Stark’s plants all across the United States, which begins to threaten Stark’s contracts with the U.S. government. This was by far the best part of the issue and I wish that more time had been spent developing this part of the story, such as having Stark actually trying to figure out what was happening and having to answer to Congress for what was going on. However, as is often the case in these early issues, the need to cram a whole story into one issue often causes the pacing to be way too fast.

In addition to pacing issues, the confrontation between Iron Man and the Crimson Dynamo was wholly unsatisfactory, as Iron Man comes off way too well prepared for having to never encountered this person before and the method used to stop the Crimson Dynamo was way to big of a stretch. Also, the ending was also pretty anti-climatic and really comes off as a propagandist piece.

In the end, Tales of Suspense #46 is a pretty solid issue that is dragged down a bit by Cold War propaganda, which leads to characters being boiled down to simplistic good and bad terms. Despite the flawed encounter, the Crimson Dynamo is definitely one of the better Iron Man villains up to this point.

Rating 3.5/5.0

Creators:

  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
  • Writers: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein
  • Pencilers: Don Heck
  • Inkers: Don Heck
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: Artie Simek
  • Editors: Stan Lee

Amazing Spider-Man #2 (05/10/1963)

detail2Amazing Spider-Man # 2 sees the debut of the Vulture, who terrorizes the skies of New York City and strikes at his victims on silent wings and taunts the media and the police while doing soon. In addition, this issue also sees the debut of the Tinkerer and his secret plot to spy on the Earth in preparation for an alien invasion. Will Spider-Man be up to the task of stopping these villains?

This was another solid entry in the series and the Vulture is one of Spider-Man’s classic villains. This issue also introduces the concepts of Peter Parker as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle, the utility belt, and his micro camera. In addition, Steve Ditko’s artwork is just fabulous. The only down side to this issue is the Tinkerer and the whole alien invasion thing just doesn’t work nearly as well as the Vulture. Also, Lee was too damn lazy to even give this species of aliens a name.

In the end Amazing Spider-Man #2 is worth reading just for the Vulture story and Ditko’s wonderful artwork alone. The Tinkerer story, while not bad, really doesn’t add anything overall to the series.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Jack Kirby
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Steve Ditko
  • Inkers: Steve Ditko
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: John Duffy, Artie Simek