April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #44 (January, 1967)

The Lizard returns because no good cure lasts forever!

OK, there’s something about the central premise to this issue that’s bugging me.

And I don’t mean the return of the Lizard.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #44, January 1967

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  John Romita Sr.

The Plot:  The Lizard returns and goes right back to his original plans!

Commentary:  Yes, the Lizard is back.  Curt Connors was at the train station, waiting for his wife and son and dressed in the exact same outfit the Lizard always wears, when he suddenly finds himself transforming into the Lizard.  Fortunately, Peter Parker is there, seeing off Aunt May as the old woman goes on a vacation.

OK, quick question:  vacation from what exactly?  Here’s the central premise that gets to me.  Aunt May needs time at a relaxing place because her nerves will kill her or something?  OK, I can buy that.  Aunt May is apparently so fragile in these early comics that I am surprised a good, swift breeze didn’t kill her at some point.  But she’s going on a vacation.  What exactly does she need a vacation from?  Worrying about Peter?  She’s still doing that.  She doesn’t really do much else.  Peter worries about her.  She worries about Peter.  These two are family after all…even if Aunt May technically isn’t related by blood to Peter since Uncle Ben was Richard Parker’s brother.

But I suppose getting Aunt May out of the way is fine.  It gives Peter more free time to both worry about money and try to find the Lizard before the Lizard completes the plan he started before.  Sure, why would a genius reptile need a different plan?  Then again, taking an old plan and fixing it so the flaw that stopped it the first time is something I think more supervillains should attempt.  The Lizard knows Spider-Man is why he failed the first time, so he just needs to frame Spidey for jewel theft before heading off to the Everglades to raise an army of giant reptile monsters.

Makes sense to me.

What doesn’t make sense is how Peter keeps spraining various limbs.  A doctor diagnoses him on the spot.  He won’t let the doctor do a more thorough check-up because the doctor might figure out his secret identity (how exactly? is Peter famous?), and then later he turns MJ down for a date because she might get suspicious that Spider-Man and Peter Parker both have a strained arm.  Why?  Is there a rule that only one person in New York can have a strained arm at a time?

Eh, the Lizard got away anyway.  But by now, even Jonah Jameson is reluctant to automatically blame Spider-Man for every crime, and all it took was a crowd seeing someone else can climb a wall like Spider-Man.  Now, all Peter has to do is make some money with some photos and stop the Lizard with one good arm before Aunt May gets home.

Still, it was nice to see MJ and Gwen both more or less turn down Flash Thompson.

Grade:  A-

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