Sunday, April 6, 2014

This Issue's Got Almost Everything!

There certainly seems to be a lot going on in this issue of Amazing Spider-Man:

But, hey, does it really deliver on "everything" we see here? Let's break it down!

Fortunately, we know it's going to have Spider-Man, so we can cross him off the list. The next character that catches our eye is probably the Punisher, and we get the lowdown on his involvement in the story right off of Page One:

It looks like the Tarantula, our favorite South American terrorist, has hijacked a tour ship off of Manhattan and is holding it for a $1 million ransom--that is, until Spider-Man showed up to spoil the deal. But thanks to an over-eager Flash Thompson, Spidey ended up taking the Tarantula's drugged kick that had been meant for Flash; and, in an awesome display of misassumption, the Punisher arrives and assumes Spider-Man is in league with the Tarantula.

To make a long story short, Spider-Man and the Punisher duke it out while Spidey attempts to explain the situation--and, thanks to the diversion, the Tarantula cuts his losses as far as the hijacking but still makes off with the valuables of all the passengers. I don't know why the cover bills the Punisher's appearance as "ominous," since it plays pretty much by the numbers in this issue--teaming up with Spider-Man in order to later put the bag on the Tarantula.

Speaking of which, the Tarantula is next on our list, and the issue presents us with his origin--formerly a member of a revolutionary army battling an oppressive South American dictatorship, but whose ruthless (and murderous) methods ostracized him from his own group. So, in a surprise turnabout, the dictatorship decides to snap him up as an operative, only to find that he's too much for them to handle, as well:

Which eventually lands him in New York, where he becomes a part of the Manhattan underworld and consequently sets his eyes on this tour ship. To cut to the chase, Spidey and the Punisher nab him at the end of the story (which culminates in a decent Spidey/Tarantula fight).

As for J. Jonah Jameson and Joe Robertson, this humorous scene sums up their involvement in the story nicely:

That leaves us with our bit players--but they were given precious cover space, so we have to assume their involvement is pretty important in order to justify buying this issue. Harry Osborn looks like he's up to something sinister, so let's start with him. From the cover image, it's a good guess that he's made the connection between Peter Parker and Spider-Man--though, in the story, we seem to need five panels vs. one:

On the other hand, we got a complimentary naughty shot of Peter thrown in, so that's not a bad deal for the 25¢ we plunked down for this issue.  (By the way, is it me, or does Harry as drawn by Ross Andru resemble a crazed Hobbit?)

Meanwhile, Flash and Mary Jane get used to give us a recap of what happened in the last issue:

Though, finally, Mary Jane has to tactfully remind Flash that he's gone way off topic as far as her original question--the point with Flash's long and winding tale being that he seems to be putting two and two together as far as Peter and Spider-Man. (There seems to be a lot of that going around, doesn't there?)

So there you have it, and... what's that? We've forgotten about Liz Allen?? Egad! Well, you may want a partial refund on your 25¢, since--brace yourselves--Liz Allen had no relevance to the events of this story whatsoever. I know what you're thinking: Jip! Jip! Yeah, I hear you. Actually, she does get to rush forward with some of the other passengers on the ship:

But I'm afraid Liz doesn't have one word of dialog in this story. Maybe comics are like movies, where you have to pay extras additional money if you give them something to say. Anyway, I can't give you Liz, but what about Betty Brant?

I know.  She doesn't really hold a candle to Liz, does she.

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