Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spidey Cops Out!

Spider-Man copping out?

As the Beast would say, "That trick never works!"

At least this issue isn't about Peter Parker deciding to abandon his identity as Spider-Man, with another toss of the costume into a nearby garbage can. But when you read the issue, there's not much of a difference--Peter is just deciding he has more important things to do than to step in as Spider-Man when someone is in trouble or a crime is in progress. Of course, taking that attitude is what got his uncle killed, but it's obvious he isn't listening to the voice of reason right now.

As to what's so important to elbow its way to the top of Peter's list of priorities, we have to go back a couple of issues, where we find Gwen Stacy finally blowing her top at May Parker for being too doting an aunt for a grown man:

Gwen is darn lucky that her little outburst didn't trigger another one of May's heart attacks. But, what's this got to do with Spidey turning his back on the people who need him?

It turns out that the wake-up call that Gwen gave May was so devastating to her that May decided it would be best if she gave Peter some breathing room and took off. And so, worried about her, he scours the city, while ignoring those instances where Spider-Man might be of help:

I don't know when you last scoured your city for a missing person--but if you live in a city the size of New York, chances are you're still out there scouring. Fortunately, Peter has the good sense to check with some sources at the "Daily Bugle" for any leads. And that "leads" to one of my favorite J. Jonah Jameson scenes of all time:

(Jeez, talk about news travelling fast!)

Unfortunately, May didn't give Peter much of an explanation on the note she left him; and, thanks to her friend Anna Watson, Peter is forced to consider that she might be in danger:

And so Spidey alters his methods, and starts getting info from perps on the street about any criminal activity that might point him in the right direction. Soon, he's witnessing a good old-fashioned hit by armed men--though Spider-Man finds that these men aren't your typical average hoods:

In a daze from the attack, Spider-Man still manages to reflexively grab one of the devices that was augmenting the strength of the men. But he's about to discover his biggest surprise of all, one which will probably have him thinking he's on the right track in finding his aunt.

Writer Gerry Conway comes aboard the title during this storyline, as Stan Lee finally steps down as Spidey's long-time scripter. Yet, look at these examples of the curious billing he gets in the listing of credits for the next several issues:

Not that artist John Romita doesn't deserve to be right up there; but it almost seems as if this is Lee's way of easing the transition of his departure for readers by reassuring them with the familiarity of the book's well-known artist right up front. Still, the listing order is a little conspicuous, given examples of writer turnovers in other titles.

As for Peter--well, he finds his aunt, alright. And she packs a wallop:

Peter's probably thinking that this woman should have stayed lost.

Amazing Spider-Man #112

Script: Gerry Conway
Pencils and Inks: John Romita
Letterer: Artie Simek


Anonymous said...

Aunt May was always whining about "that awful Spider-Man" despite the fact that he was always putting his life on the line for the ungrateful old biddy (and everyone else). Why couldn't Peter just sit her down and say "look,I know him and he's a great guy,okay!! Will you get that through your thick head !" Instead of that he just let her keep thinking Spidey was worse than Jack the Ripper.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I always thought Aunt May was easily one of the most annoying characters in comics, right up there with Jimmie Olsen.
On a kinder note, that shot of Doc Ock attacking Spider-Man is incredible, isn't it? Really makes you wanna see what happens next.

Anonymous said...

I remember one summer my Mom had spent the day garage sell shopping with one of her sisters. At the end of the day, she brought home a shoebox full of comics, probably ten or twelve in all. I don't know how much she paid but it couldn't have been much and none of them had covers. I was a tad disappointed. The top comic was a Bat-Man one and I didn't read DC. But there was a Spider-Man! It was the issue where he's already in the harness and the toy store mask. 114 I think? It was a long while before I read the entire story arc with Doc Ock and Hammerhead.

Snapper Carr. My vote for most annoying.

Oh, one of the other comics, Conan, the Coming of the Hyborian Age. Conan number 1! And a Metal Man and Sgt Rock and Doom Patrol....

The Prowler (thinking this is better than a Koothrappali Murder Mystery DAH DAH DUUUH).

Comicsfan said...

Colin, I suppose Peter was thinking of it in terms of an extra buffer for his secret identity, but yes--there were probably at least a half-dozen ways that Peter could have put his aunt's mind at ease about Spider-Man, particularly if it meant that she'd be less alarmed whenever Spidey was sighted or was in the news.

Anon, I agree that was a spectacular "to be continued" shot of Doc Ock by Romita. :)

Prowler, that was quite a haul! That stack made up a good variety of comics to sample.

maw maw said...

Just noticed that John Romita signed that poster: Spider-man's true color: yellow.

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