April 19, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #32 (January, 1966)

Spider-Man goes nuts going after the Master Planner because this time, it's actually personal.

So, the Master Planner’s identity didn’t stay secret for very long.

How much did those people make it up as they went along?

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #32, January 1966

Dialogue and Editing:  Stan Lee

Everything Else:  Steve Ditko

The Plot:  Peter Parker has a very personal reason to get the Master Planner now.

Commentary:  The Master Planner, that mastermind of planning, the mysterious villain with a thing for radiation research, an underwater base, and dreams of world domination, that enigmatic foe who just stymied one and all until Spider-Man got involved.  Who is this mysterious figure?

He was Doctor Octopus.  Revealed on, like, page two of this issue.  They didn’t even try to keep it a secret anymore.  Were they making it up as they went along?  Who knows?  But good ol’ Doc Ock says he has to keep his identity a secret for whatever reason and immediately talks to an underling with a video call.

You know, he has a very distinctive look, so I am not so sure how secret his identity is right now.

Anyhoo, Otto has this plan involving radiation that will somehow allow him to take over the world.  To that end, he needs an isotope that just so happens to be coming into the city, a special order from Curt Connors on behalf of…Spider-Man.  See, Aunt May’s mystery illness is radiation in her blood, and Peter realized it probably came from that blood transfusion he gave her, and now she’s dying and it’s all his fault.

You know, I seem to recall there was this, let’s say, controversial future-set Spider-Man mini-series where an elderly Spider-Man was, among other things, mourning a long dead Mary-Jane who got cancer from Peter’s radioactive…fluids.  Maybe Jimmy can confirm or deny if that was a bad dream or something like that other story where Peter and MJ traded their marriage to Mephisto for stupid reasons.  But that can’t possibly be a thing that happened.

Say, why didn’t Aunt May just get some spider-powers of her own?

You know what?  I’m gonna stop that speculation right here.  Aunt May didn’t get those powers (bummer), but she did get sick, and Peter contacted Curt Connors to try and make a cure, which required a rare isotope that was stolen by the Master Planner’s people, and that led to Spider-Man on a rampage, a much more interesting plot line than the continuing nonsense with Betty and Ned Leeds.

Yeah, I don’t know why they’re still in this book either at this point.  They’ve already set up Gwen Stacy as the next love interest.

Well, that’s for later.  The issue ends with Spidey buried under a lot of heavy objects in an underwater room that just sprung a leak.

I’m pretty sure there are a couple hundred more issues of this series, so I am guessing he got out of there OK.

Grade:  A