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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

Off The Rack


One Man's Views — Spidey Super Summaries Issues 21 - 30 (Marvel Comics). And now, the moment some of you have been waiting for, the continuous reminiscing about the early Spider-Man!

Issue 21 starts with an introduction of an old Human Torch villain, and a soon to be Spidey nemesis, The Beetle! The Beetle gets released from jail and Johnny Storm doesn't like it so he sets off looking for him. But! The Beetle spots him and follows HIM instead! All the way back to his girlfriend's house who's mighty upset at Johnny for taking off like that and makes him promise not to do it. Beetle hears all and sets a plan! Afterwards, Peter is walking along and helps out Johnny's girlfriend after a bunch of kids ran into her, making her drop her packages. After she leaves, Peter notices her wallet on the floor and brings it to her. She invites him in and they share a coke (and a smile?) and Peter leaves as Johnny arrives. Doris uses that to get back at Johnny who goes after Peter and warns him to stay away from his woman. Betty overhears and walks away crying. That pisses Peter off and he laces into Johnny. Cute scene as the Torch is taken aback at Peter's anger and he thinks to himself "THIS I didn't expect! I can't even take a poke at him... it wouldn't be fair! He wouldn't have a CHANCE!" (snicker). As he storms off, Peter decides to get even and figures the way to do that is for Spider-Man to "make a play for his gal". Alas, as he gets there, Beetle is in the process of kidnapping her and so they fight it out. Beetle takes her hostage and runs away, Spidey in pursuit. Torch arrives and finds the place a mess and sees Spidey leaving and (of course) figures out that HE took her and goes after him. Three mindless fight pages later, Spidey has caught up to the Beetle (while pretending to run away from Torchie) and Johnny sees the error of his ways. Tag-Team action and they take him down.

In 22 the Ring-Master is replaced as head of the Carnival of Crime by The Clown (snicker). They kidnap JJJ during an art heist and Spidey tracks them down and pounds them. Well, at least 23 gave us "The Goblin and the Gangsters" as Greenie tries to set himself up as the ruler of the underworld. After they turn him down, he sets up a plan wherein he tricks Spidey into showing up and beating them up for him. And hey, you know what? That's such an easy workout for Spidey that he actually decides to web a door shut for a bit so he could make a phone call to his Aunt May!!!! What's a hero to do? Anyway, he beats the gang and gets after Greenie who manages to evade him. But Fear Not! His plans worked too well! Or, as he so eloquently puts it: "Then it was all a WASTE!! I was TOO successful! If the whole GANG is in jail, I've nothing to TAKE OVER! I'm no better off than I WAS!" Silly Goblin.

And then, "The Shocker You Never Expected To Read! Spider-Man Goes MAD!" No, Alfred E. Newman didn't write 24. It was just Mysterio up to his old tricks by pretending to be some kind of Psychiatrist in order to make Spidey think he was going bonkers and thus give up all his secrets. Thanks to Jameson's intrusion (when he found out the doctor wasn't real) Spidey got away, and JJJ kicked himself for having been so close to that secret! That's probably another reason why he decides (in issue 25) to use Smythe and his Spider-Slayer (model one! :) ) which looked like some kind of bald teddy bear to capture Spidey. The Slayer turned out to be much more than Peter thought, though! Gave him quite the chase (the most horrifying thing being that it had Jameson's face!). As a nice aside, Liz Allen and Betty Brant both show up to Peter's house at the same time looking for him. He's not there but someone else is also there waiting. We don't see the face, but check out that posture! It's Mary Jane Watson! Back to the fight. Peter realizes that the robot is stronger than him and stops struggling. The 'bot wraps its tentacles tighter and Spidey gets close enough to "pop the hood" and disable it.

26 brings us The Crime-Master! He makes a deal with the Goblin but then they end up realizing that the other couldn't be trusted and so they battle. Spidey gets in the way and gets conked. All this while Spidey tries to figure out Foswell's secret and Peter gets into arguments with both Betty and Liz (due to their jealousies of Mary Jane of course). Crime-Master gets to the underworld meeting to declare himself leader, when in comes Goblin with the captured and bound Spider-Man who challenges him! Leading us right into #27 where it becomes a free-for-all with Spidey still wearing a cheap imitation Halloween Spidey costume (his aunt found his real one and trashed it). After the battle, Crime-Master gets gunned down in a police confrontation, dying as he's about to reveal to the world who the Goblin really is! Peter gets tired of throwing away his pictures and decides to bring his Spider-shots to the Daily Globe and then he goes about sewing himself a new costume. We also get to learn Foswell's secret, he was an informer, "mingling with the mobs, gaining information"!!

Another new villain in 28, The Molten Man! Just the regular story of a greedy man who's greed causes an accident which turned him into a super-human. Spidey beats him and then graduates from high school! All in a day's work, I guess. In 29, The Scorpion is out for revenge on Jameson! But, just like Mighty Mouse, Spider-Man was there to save the day. Betty suffers shock and Aunt May is having dizzy spells. Hmm. Oh well, another Cat Burgler to deal with in issue 30. Routine stuff. However, it's the personal things which are getting out of control! Betty tells Peter that Ned asked her to marry him and before she could tell Peter how much she loved him, Peter runs off angry, thinking he's lost her forever. Ah, the patience of youth... Spidey catches the Cat of course, but Peter loses Betty because he's too stubborn to talk to her and find out the whole story.

By the way, in case you were wondering, The Sinister Six made their first appearance as a team in the first Annual. Lots of action and nice pin-ups :) I wonder why "Sinister" isn't allowed on the air these days. When they made their appearance on the new animated series, they couldn't use it!


(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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