December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3 (November, 1966)

The Avengers test Spider-Man for potential membership.

So, for the first time, Spidey is considered as a member of the Avengers…and those guys are acting kinda weird.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, November 1966

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artists:  Don Heck and John Romita Sr.

The Plot:  Spider-Man auditions for the Avengers.

Commentary:  This isn’t the first time Spider-Man has had encounters with other heroes.  Heck, he’s briefly encountered a lot of these guys.  But since the Avengers are short-handed (and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are on another continent), Captain America calls all the Avengers in to vote for admitting Spider-Man.

OK, sounds straightforward enough.  Hawkeye is all for it immediately, the Wasp keeps saying how wasps hate spiders so she’s against it, and the others don’t know enough about Spider-Man to make a decision.

That last part is reasonable.  Hawkeye is a cause for concern later in the story.  And the Wasp…OK, she doesn’t gain powers from wasps, she doesn’t often invoke her insect namesake, and every time she says how wasps hate spiders, I kinda wish someone would remind her she’s not actually a wasp.

She might be a W.A.S.P. or White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, often seen as maybe somewhat upperclass, but I am not gonna touch that one beyond mentioning that much right here.

Regardless, the Avengers decide to get a character witness and ask Daredevil to vouch for Spider-Man.  Daredevil does, and I gotta know:  if Spider-Man is a guy you don’t know much about, since when doesn’t that also apply to Daredevil?

Anyway, the Avengers go looking, Thor finds Spidey, and Spidey says he needs time to think about it.  Thor doesn’t like that answer but eventually agrees Spidey can think about things.  Thor is being a bit of a jerk here.

Now there isn’t much of a story if Spider-Man never bothers to see the Avengers, so after the obligatory Aunt May drama, he does go over and is told he needs to be tested.  Peter puts on a bit of a front, but then Hawkeye does a complete 180 and changes his mind on Spider-Man’s admission.

Why?  I have no idea.

The Wasp still hates spiders.

Spider-Man thinks Hawkeye’s comment is the test and attacks Hawkeye, resulting in a brawl where Peter basically takes on all the Avengers and holds his own.  But that’s not the test.  The test is to bring the Hulk, currently in the city, to the Avengers.  Spidey swings off without being told why the Avengers want him, and he does find the Hulk (with a little unwilling help from J Jonah Jameson), and during the fight, Peter doses the Hulk with some gamma rays and temporarily changes him back to Bruce Banner.  Thinking that Banner doesn’t deserve to be locked up by the Avengers, he leaves, tells the Avengers he never found the Hulk, and swung off without offering an explanation or hearing the only reason the Avengers wanted the Hulk in the first place was to help him.

Hawkeye then concludes maybe Jameson was right about Spider-Man.

He’s still a jerk.

So, Peter is still a solo act, and the Avengers may think he’s unreliable.  Eh, it’s just as well.  Spider-Man isn’t really the guy who should join a team.  What kind of crazy Avengers team would include Spider-Man?

Grade:  A-