Jul 12, 2019

Spider-Rama: Amazing Spider-Man #33

Welcome to Spider-Rama! Each Wednesday, 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!

Except, in honor of the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home this past weekend, we went daily for Spider-Rama last week and will continue to do so this week! So tune in every day until Friday at the same time for your daily dose of Spider-Man retrospectives! We'll be back to our regular Wednesday schedule next week.

by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

The conclusion of The Master Planner Saga!

BEN: One of the greatest comic books ever created.

DUY: In the canon of most important Spider-Man work, three issues top the list: Amazing Fantasy #15, Amazing Spider-Man #122 (I think it's more important than 121), and this one. And I cannot decide what order they go in.


DUY: Despite being the main villain of the story, Dr. Octopus does not show up.
    BEN: First acknowledgement of Uncle Ben as his motivation since the first annual.

    DUY: This is the final issue of the first official three-parter.


    BEN:  “Within my body is the strength of many men...! And now I’ve got to call on all that strength - - all the power - - that I possess! I must prove equal to the task - - I must be worthy of that strength - - or else I don’t deserve it!” Ditko rightly gets most of the praise for this sequence, but Stan was throwing heat on the dialogue too.

    DUY: Good God, what didn't age well in this comic. You think it peaks at the debris-lifting sequence, and then he goes and fights Ock's men exhausted and just throwing punches around, and then he goes and saves May, and then he tells off Jameson, and then he breaks up with Betty, and then it ends with this decompressed sequence of him walking away from the hospital.  It’s even sort of anticlimactic, and that’s not a knock, but there’s no final battle.

    BEN: It’s even sort of anticlimactic, and that’s not a knock, but there’s no final battle. Is this the birth of the "Spider-Man won’t stop until he wins" bit?

    DUY: I think so. He's down and out, he doesn't even have the will to count on his brain anymore. At one point, he just goes limp and lets the water take him to where he needs to go because he can't move anymore. He has no hope of winning and he keeps going. Among other things, it's the template for Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut.

    BEN: I don’t really want to bring up the dreaded OMD, but anyone that’s ever argued that Peter wouldn’t sacrifice absolutely anything to save his Aunt, needs to read this comic again. It doesn’t matter that she’s elderly and feeble, he’d die for her.

    DUY: There's a lot of decompression in this issue. The classic sequence is 5 pages that DC at the time would have done in 5 panels.It's just so good. And the classic sequence ages so well, obviously, that it's been homaged in so many places. I actually saw a tribute to it before I knew what it was. In the 30th anniversary issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter gets trapped under a train, and they re-enact this scene, drawn by Mark Bagley. Of course it's been interpreted in the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon and the Spider-Man Homecoming movie and the PS4 game, but it's also been homaged in various non-Spidey comics, including an issue of Blue Beetle (also a Ditko creation), Walt Simonson's classic Frog Thor story, and a Captain Marvel adventure as drawn by Gil Kane. But you know what, let's just show it here:


    DUY: I don't know if this aged badly necessarily, but it's really weird that Ock isn't here. In the most classic story featuring Dr. Octopus, he shows up in one issue out of three. That's really weird, right?

    BEN: I was trying to remember as I read it if he showed up again, but yeah, he’s just gone. They had been letting the villains escape to fight another day for a while now. They wisely decided they couldn’t keep having these guys get paroled or break out of prison. The Goblin has never been captured at this point. Was DC doing this, or did every villain have to get captured by the end of the comic?

    DUY: I don't know of any story that does it, and I'm not going to do the research to find out.


    BEN:  Good thing Peter wasn’t wearing his costume under his clothes when the doctor checked him out. Also, Betty suddenly realizes that Peter leads a dangerous life as a crime news photographer, but Ned Leeds in a crime reporter...

    DUY: Even Betty freaking out looks great though. Like you could really see the trauma all rushing back.


    BEN: Spider-Man lifting the machinery off his back deservedly gets the glory, but I’ve always found a barely conscious Spidey beating down Ock’s goons afterwards just as inspiring.

    DUY: That's actually mine too. But if I had to pick something from the machinery sequence, my favorite part is athe one right before he gets it off him. Where he goes "Anyone can win a fight -- when the odds are easy! It's when the going's tough -- when there seems to be no chance -- THAT'S when -- it counts!"


    DUY: Spider-Man wins. The readers win. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko win. If you read Amazing Spider-Man #1-33, you got a full story. That's a whole season. The next issue is a new chapter.

    BEN: You’d think going to college would be a new season, but he hasn’t really been there yet mentally. So far it’s been an extension of his high school experience. But the answer is still Gwen Stacy.

    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 guys on Monday for our Far From Home roundtable, and then next Wednesday for the next installment of Spider-Rama!

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