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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

Off The Rack

One Man's Views — Spidey Super Summaries Issues 11 - 20 (Marvel Comics)

Speaking of Spider-Man, let's take another trip down memory lane shall we? Issue 11 featured the "Long Awaited Return of Doctor Octopus!" and the death of Betty Brant's brother (of which she blamed on Spidey, of course). Ock gets away but returns in Issue 12 when Peter is "Unmasked by Dr. Octopus!" when an ill Parker sets off to rescue Betty from Ock's clutches and pretty much faints in his arms and is unmasked (but Doc doesn't believe he's really Spider-Man). This "scene" was actually re-created recently on the new animated show with an ill Spidey going up against a team-up of his foes. Spidey recovers and bags the Ock but his rest is short lived as Mysterio appears in Issue 13! (What the hell is Mysterio up to these days? I don't remember). Anyhow, old Mysty frames Spidey for crimes HE committed but then Spidey tricks him into confessing on tape (and pounds him, of course, sort of tying in to the "Stage BarRoom Brawl" that is featured in the opening credits/song of the original animated series)

Another new villain is introduced in Issue 14, The Green Goblin! He teams up with The Enforcers (these guys were fun in the 70's!) as they pretend to make a Spidey movie where they try to trash him for real. They end up fighting their way into a cave where a certain Green-skinned "monster" is hiding out. Spidey wins the day, of course, and only the Goblin escapes (his identity never revealed to the readers!). All done with the new villains? NO! Kraven The Hunter is the star of Issue 15, summoned by The Chameleon to slay Spidey. Spidey wins, of course, and we all know what eventually happened to Kraven.

Issue 16, a hypnotised Spidey tackles DareDevil thanks to The RingMaster (oooo!) and his Circus Of Crime! (oooo!). Who remembers these villains last battle? Doesn't matter as The Goblin returned in Issue 17 and both Spidey and The Human Torch tried to battle him (while one-upping the other). During the fight, Spidey overhears that Aunt May suffered another Heart Attack and he turns tail and RUNS, branding himself a coward! Peter blames himself for not being there while J. Jonah Jameson has a field day with the news of the cowardly spider. So, in Issue 18, the mood is sombre as everyone tries to figure out what happened (and Flash Thompson even dons a Spidey costume to try to fight crime (and gets beaten to a pulp instead)). Peter needs money for his aunt's treatment and tries to sell himself as Spidey but no one's interested. He accidentally gets into a scruffle with The Sandman and ends up running away from him, too, because he has to get his aunt her medication! Jonah gloats some more and even Betty turns to Ned Leeds for companionship. But Peter has had enough! After getting his fill of JJJ's articles, he grabs his costume and puts it on once again, ready to face the world!

Issue 19, "An Adventure Epic of Most Compelling Excellence... 'Spidey Strikes Back!'" as he goes hog-wild on crooks again and even saves the Human Torch from the Enforcers and Sandman, cementing their own bond (grin). Peter's feeling great and even gives Betty and Ned his approval. Everything's groovy? Then who's that man trailing Peter?! And who hired him? The answers come in Issue 20: J.J.J.! He wants to know the secret of Parker's photos! But then, he changes his mind. He'd rather have Spider-Man taken care of, and he hires Dr. Farley Stillwell to create... The Scorpion! Everything looks great for JJ until we find out that Scorpion is slowly losing his mind! Or, as the Doc says, "...the more his strength increases, the more his evil nature will take over!" The Doc tries to reverse his wrong, and dies in the attempt. Scorpy loses it completely but nearly takes out Spidey (until Spidey gets pissed off and rips the Scorpion suit right off of Mack). JJ suffers his sins in silence: "Nobody knows it, but it's all my fault! I'm the one to blame! If not for me, there would be no Scorpion!" and the Doc would still be alive. That's right JJ, but your secret is safe... for now!

So? Are you enjoying these summaries? :)

(Off The Rack (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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