Apr 7, 2020

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Every day until the end of April, Ben and Duy will look at a Spider-Man issue from the very beginning, in chronological order, and answer questions for various categories, inspired in large part by one of our favorite podcasts, The Rewatchables by The Ringer. Our goal is to make it to Amazing Spider-Man #200. Will we make it? Grab your Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus or crank up your tablet to Marvel Unlimited, and then tune in every Wednesday to find out!

by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Mickey Demeo

Spider-Man goes to Algeria, and discovers the truth about his parents!


BEN: First Richard and Mary Parker.


BEN: Uhhhhhh..............

DUY: One of the first issues of Spider-Man I bought when I started collecting for real was when they had his parents come back. It was a pretty good issue, too, but I didn't know at the time just how ridiculous and antithetical the parents-being-spies thing was. Also, Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, and Ron Frenz did an issue of Untold Tales of Spider-Man that focused on his parents in the war. They met Wolverine. That was also pretty good. But in relation to Spidey, it's just such a big misstep to have them be spies..

BEN: Let's move on.

DUY: Yeah, let's.


BEN:   I don’t know if I should start with traveling to Algeria on a slim 17 year old lead that still pans out, a membership card for an evil spy organization, or a random Algerian restaurant owner identifying the bodies of two American citizens!

DUY: Spider-Man's entire success in this issue is predicated on one stroke of luck after another! The restaurant stays open after 17 years. The restaurant owner chooses to tell him everything. 

BEN: No, the worst part is the tracking device based on a ripped piece of costume.

DUY: What about the Red Skull just so happens to have not thrown away Richard Parker's ID?

BEN: No, the worst is the dying confessional of a man Spider-Man basically killed.

DUY:  There's no way Spidey just lets that guy die.

BEN: This might be the worst comic I've ever read.

DUY: Let's not go that far. There's an 8-year run of Spider-Man that still exists in this feature's future.

BEN: We'll never make it to that point.


BEN: Even in flashbacks Aunt May was as old as dirt.

DUY: How old is May?

BEN: I don’t know the Red Skull’s exact history, but I don’t believe he was around running spy organizations 17 years ago.

DUY: If Johnny Storm is so wiling to just drive Spider-Man anywhere in the world, why don't they just let him join the Fantastic Four?

BEN: I know SHIELD is a secret organization and all, but they could maybe let the family of their deceased agents know they weren’t traitors to their own country. How do both parents wind up as spies? Did they meet each other in the cafeteria?

DUY:  I assume they were both spies when they met.

BEN: I’ve never read this comic before, because even as a kid I hated the idea of Peter’s parents being secret agents. His life and everyone around it should be as mundane as possible until fate decides to have a radioactive spider bite him.

DUY: It remains the biggest misstep in the entirety of Stan Lee's run on the character. It completely distances Spider-Man from the average reader.


BEN: This isn't half-bad:

DUY: This joke is the best part of the issue, which says a lot about the main story:


DUY: No one! I'm sorry I made us read this thing!

BEN: Larry Lieber, who got paid to draw a comic.

DUY: That's it for Spider-Rama this week.

BEN: Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko—

DUY: —for telling us we aren't the only ones.

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page. See you next Wednesday!

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