August 15, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (December, 1964)

Spider-Man swings back into action against the Sandman and the Enforcers!

Man, Spider_Man spent a whole issue…not doing anything because Aunt May needed care, so everyone assumed he was a coward now.

People sure are fickle.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #19, December 1964

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  Spider-Man returns to action in time to deal with the Sandman and the Enforcers’ efforts to capture all of New York’s superheroes.

Commentary:  I didn’t care much for the previous issue as most everyone just assumed Spider-Man was a coward now (except for Flash Thompson), and that seemed…awfully quick.  That was issue #18.  Spidey had fought and captured a number of supervillains.  Why did people just assume he was a fraud that quickly?  Is J Jonah Jameson that influential?  I mean, he first appears in this issue getting ready to speak at some big auditorium on how he unveiled Spider-Man as a fraud, only to learn just before he goes out that Spider-Man is back in action, capturing thieves and the like.

So, how does that work?  Did Jameson get invited to speak there or did he make the arrangements himself?  I’m not questioning the character’s ego.  That’s well-established.  I just want to know how that public speaking engagement got started.

As it is, the issue does remember the Sandman was running around loose in the previous issue, so he’s the main bad guy here.  Or the Enforcers are.  I’m not sure.  The Enforcers are, more or less by design, hired muscle.  The Sandman never struck me as the criminal mastermind, leader-of-men types.  He is the only one with real superpowers unless Ox has more muscle than a normal person should.

Never mind.  Those guys are out capturing superheroes to make life easier for criminals.  Granted, they only captured one, and it’s the Human Torch.  Not sure why the flamed on Human Torch didn’t burn through Montana’s lariat, but later there’s a line that it’s made of asbestos now or something.  Regardless, the bad guys captured the Torch and were planning on catching Spider-Man next.

Considering how the issue ends, what were these guys going to do when they tried to capture Thor?  Spidey and the Torch are both probably mid-level powered heroes or guys with obvious weaknesses.  What was their plan for taking on the Thunder God?  Or the Hulk?  Or the Thing?  Or pretty much any Avenger aside from the Wasp?

Never mind.  Peter spotted Fancy Dan, did a quick costume change, followed him back, and then with the Torch’s help, fought off all the bad guys including the dozens of nameless goons that apparently worked for someone there.  You know, whoever was in charge.

Oh, and the Sandman was arrested by the cops.  He was ‘too tired” or something to get out of the grip of two cops with ordinary handcuffs.  Yeah, I don’t get it either.

But I don’t much care.  This is the sort of thing I read these old issues for.

Grade:  A-

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