April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December, 1965)

Peter Parker starts college, and it sure does look a lot like high school.

Spider-Man takes on his most evil, most dastardly foe yet…the Master Planner!

The Master Planner?

I should just ask Jimmy to fill in for my on Fridays at this rate.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #31, December 1965

Script: Stan Lee

Everything else:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  Peter’s life gets no better as either Spider-Man or Peter Parker.

Commentary:  So, someone remind me:  did Spider-Man already take on a Master Planner?  I mean, there’s been a Big Man or two, but these sort of mastermind strategists seem to keep popping up whenever a more colorful (or interesting) villain would maybe work better.  I mean, would I take orders from anyone called the Master Planner?  Probably not.  That name sounds too boastful and ridiculous at the same time, even for a superhero comic.  Not only would I not take orders from that guy, I’m not even sure I’d be afraid of him.

Watch him turn out to be the Green Goblin or Jack the Ripper or something later on.  Dude doesn’t even appear in this issue.  He just sends out goons with sleep gas guns.

But the real problem for Peter Parker here is Aunt May is sick and in the hospital…again.  She has something seriously wrong with her…again.  How this woman managed to live past 1969, I have no idea.

But that just means more of Peter’s worrying over bills he can’t pay because every crook in town is apparently working for the Master Planner, and that means no street crime for Peter to get photos of to sell to Jonah Jameson.  It means even when he does find something, the minions all slip away before he can get a single snapshot off.  And it means he’s distracted in class, earning the ire of Professor Warren when he doesn’t see asshole classmate Harry Osborn switch some chemicals.

Wait…Professor Warren and Harry Osborn?  Huh.  Those names mean a lot more considering how both of them ended up.

Apparently, college is just like high school.  All the students are the same level of jerks who seem more inclined to listen to “popular” kid Flash Thompson and seem awfully interested in making Peter miserable for the crime of…keeping his head down and doing his work while worrying about his elderly aunt?  OK, I get that the students don’t know about the last part, but I think the point still stands.  Colleges tend to have, well, a lot more students on hand than a high school.  Peter isn’t exactly going to get that much notice with all the people just hanging around, and shouldn’t they be at least a little more mature?

That includes the high-on-herself Gwen Stacy making her first appearance.  I didn’t quite recognize her at first because apparently Steve Ditko is the only artist in the history of anything to draw Gwen without her headband.  Now, Peter is being rude, but that doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason for the entire college campus to decide he’s a loser.  I just figured most of these people had better things to do.

Then again, somehow I doubt Lee and Ditko were of the right age to get a bunch of 18 year olds right, and Ditko seems like the “get off my lawn” type anyway.

Anyhoo, next issue has Aunt May getting sicker and the Master Planner plotting world domination from his undersea hideout.

Are we sure the Master Planner isn’t really a Captain America or Iron Man villain?  Seems more appropriate that way, even with a name that dumb.

Grade:  A-