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

Amazing Spider-Man #6 (11/10/1963)

detail.jpgAfter featuring a Fantastic Four villain in the last issue, Amazing Spider-Man #6 features the first appearance of another classic villain, the Lizard. This issue opens with basically the Daily Bugle goading Spider-Man into facing off against the mysterious Lizard who is terrorizing the Everglades. Of course the only problem is that the fact that Spider-Man is really Peter Parker it means that he is too broke to be able to get down to Florida. It’s little problems like this, which cannot be solved with super powers, that make Spider-Man such an interesting series. Eventually, Spider-Man is able to basically beat J. Jonah Jameson at his own game and got him to pay for Peter Parker to photograph the Lizard.

Upon arriving down in Florida it’s not long before Spider-Man runs into the Lizard and has his butt promptly handed to him. Luckily, the Lizard isn’t just some generic villain who just wants to take over the world. In fact, the Lizard actually has an interesting backstory, as he is actually Dr. Curt Connors, a former surgeon who took up studying reptiles after he had lost his arm in the war. Unfortunately, Dr. Connors gets caught up in his quest to regrow his arm and takes his untested formula, which at first causes him to grow his arm back, but then comes the side effect of turning him into the Lizard.

Overtime, Dr. Connors begins to lose his humanity and becomes more and more reptilian. The Lizard is definitely a credible physical threat to Spider-Man, with him being stronger than Spider-Man, with a naturally thick hide, and the ability to scale walls as well. However, in addition to that, the Lizard has that extra layer of essentially being a good guy that’s trapped inside of a monster, which just makes the character that much more interesting. In addition, Ditko’s depiction of the Lizard is just fantastic as well. There’s just something about Ditko’s art style that works really well with Spider-Man.

The plot is well-paced and the confrontations with the Lizard actually taking place over three different occurrences, which is a nice break from the one big confrontation that is so common with Silver Age issues. That’s not to say there aren’t some issues with the story, such as gator guards and Spider-Man pontoons, they’re just so minor that they really don’t detract from the overall story. In the end, Amazing Spider-Man #6 is a fantastic read, that adds yet another interesting rouge to Spider-Man’s gallery. In addition, this issue continues to lay the groundwork of the relationship between Betty Brant and Parker.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Creators:

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

Amazing Spider-Man #5 (10/10/1963)

detailnThis 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.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Creators:

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

 

Amazing Spider-Man #4 (09/10/1963)

detail.jpgHaving escaped from the maximum security, Island Prison, Flint Marko seeks to escape the pursing FBI by ducking into a nuclear testing site. Unfortunately for Flint, he ends up getting caught in a blast which causes him to change at a molecular level and have the ability to change his body into sand. Naturally, Flint decides to use these newfound powers to enhance his criminal activities and he now has his sites set on New York City. Will Spider-Man be able to stop him?

Amazing Spider-Man 4 is yet another solid issue in the series. Sandman is another classic villain who has an interesting power. In addition, Spider-Man continues to be one of the more relatable superheroes. I mean in this issue he has to end up sewing his own mask, jumps the gun on trying to stop some jewel thieves, which causes them to call the police on him, and having to blow off a date with Liz Allen. In addition, Ditko’s art style fits extremely well with this series and action panels are top notch. I am definitely looking forward to reading more issues in this series.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Creators:

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

 

Amazing Spider-Man #3 (07/10/1963)

detailc.jpgDr. Otto Octavius is the foremost expert in atomic research and to assist him in his research he has designed a two sets of mechanical arms to assist him, which is where he gets the nickname, Dr. Octopus from. Unfortunately and accident occurs and the resulting explosion causes the arms to fuse with his nervous system and basically scars his brain. The result is an extremely brilliant, but quite mad and powerful supervillain and the only one who can stop him is Spider-Man.

Hands down this is the best issue thus far in the series. While many will point to Green Goblin as Spider-Man’s best villain, I’ve always felt that Dr. Octopus is the better villain. I think his origin story and powers are much more interesting. Also, he is the first villain to defeat Spider-Man, basically slapping him and then discarding him like garbage. In addition, Dr. Octopus doesn’t want to take over the world, no he is going against those who conspire against him, which really plays into the madness that underlies the character.

Amazing Spider-Man #3 has a great story, great villain and great artwork. This is a must read issue in the Marvel Universe and probably one of the best issues up to this point.

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Creators:

  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
  • Writers: Stan Lee
  • Pencilers: Steve Ditko
  • Inkers: Steve Ditko
  • Colorists:
  • Letterers: John Duffy

 

 

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

 

 

 

Amazing Spider-Man #1 (03/10/1963)

detail.jpgWith Uncle Ben dead due to Peter’s inactions, as seen in Amazing Fantasy #15, his problems are further compounded when he discovers his Aunt May is now struggling with paying the bills. Thus, Peter decides to go back into show business to earn some money. Unfortunately for Peter, J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle decides to go on a tirade against Spider-man, thus quashing his chances at show business. In addition, Peter decides to seek out the Fantastic Four in order to get a paying gig and soon finds himself being setup by the Chameleon, who uses Peter’s desperation to earn money against him.

Both the stories in this issue are pretty solid, with both of them hitting on Spider-man’s personal problems, particularly financial hardships and never fully being accepted by the public no matter how much good he does. In addition, the Chameleon is actually an interesting communist villain for once. Combine this with Ditko’s solid artwork and you have an excellent issue. In fact my only quibble is in the issue Peter Parker is referred to as Peter Palmer.

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Creators:

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