March 24, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #29 (October, 1965)

The Scorpion comes back, possibly because he had nothing better to do.

The title for this issue’s story is “Never Step on a Scorpion.”  That’s a terrible title, and Stan Lee himself seems to admit as much in one of his dialogue boxes.

Stan’s honesty has been questioned in the past, but that was a pretty accurate statement.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #29, October 1965

Dialogue:  Stan Lee

Plot and Art:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  The Scorpion busts out of jail and opts for revenge against both Spider-Man and J Jonah Jameson.

Commentary:  I am generally well aware that if all of Spider-Man’s enemies stayed in prison that they couldn’t become reoccurring villains.  So yes, seeing how they get out is sometimes a good thing.  The fact that costumed villainy sometimes seems to get sentences of mere months is a result of such plotting, but then there’s the Scorpion’s escape from jail this time, and it is downright stupefying.

See, he faked a mental illness or something until the prison gave him his Scorpion costume back, and then it was just a simple matter to repair the tail mechanism and break out.  Apparently, he can use that thing to slingshot himself across vast distances.  Does he still have those pincher fingers?  I don’t know.  Probably not.

However, that mostly acts as set-up.  Scorpion wants to get even with both Spider-Man and J Jonah Jameson.  Both Spidey and Jolly Jonah know that.  So, the thing to do is try to set a trap for him.  For Jonah, that involves putting out special editions that apparently can go out instantly, calling upon Spidey to stop the Scorpion so everyone will know the two aren’t working together.

Cripes, Jonah.  Give it a rest.  He’s going to help you.  There isn’t much of a comic if he doesn’t.

From there, it’s mostly characters being kinda smart.

Spidey is smart because, knowing he’s a target, figures he can swing around the city, gain a lot of attention, and hopefully get the Scorpion to come out.

But then the Scorpion is smart because he sees that means Jonah is undefended and heads straight for the Daily Bugle building.

And then Spider-Man gets smarter because he realizes his mistake and heads over there.

Heck, even Jameson shows some intelligence as the two superhumans trash his furniture because he had it all insured and he can replace it on the insurance company’s dime anyway.

But the smartest of all was Betty Brant, and she didn’t do anything.  Why?  She kept that Ned Leeds guy around, a man her own age that even Peter has a hard time disliking, and while she gets all stereotypical with the fainting and whatnot, Ned can keep her somewhat safe, cheer on Spider-Man from the sidelines, and basically be the sort of love interest an adult woman like Betty should have instead of a cocky teenager who is still in high school.

Never thought I’d says this, but I am ready for Gwen Stacy right about now when it comes to Peter’s love life.  Or MJ.  I prefer MJ.  But I’ll take Gwen.  Betty sets off the idea she shouldn’t be dating a high schooler because, you know, she really shouldn’t be dating a high schooler.  No wonder Aunt May wants to set up Peter with someone.  Aunt May is wise.

Also foolish as she is hiding the fact she gets dizzy spells from Peter so he won’t worry.  I am pretty sure Peter runs on worrying.

Anyway, that’s a lot of people being at least a little smart.  Come back next Friday when I’ll have some thoughts on the next Annual.

Grade:  A-

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