June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #51 (August, 1967)

Spider-Man meets the Kingpin face-to-masked face.

Once again, Spider-Man takes on a guy who seeks to unite all of gangland under his iron fisted-rule.

This time, it’s a guy I recognize.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #51, August 1967

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  John Romita Sr

The Plot:  Spider-Man swings into action as the Kingpin tries to muscle J Jonah Jameson into silence.

Commentary:  OK, I have a question:  how strong is the Kingpin?

This is the sort of question I am not sure how to answer.  Wilson Fisk is a massive man, and Marvel lore says it’s not, despite appearances, fat.  It’s all muscle.  OK, I can go along with that.  But I also remember getting those Marvel trading cards that listed stats saying Kingpin’s physical strength was somewhere near Spidey’s own for some reason.  Spider-Man can, if I remember right, lift about ten tons’ worth of weight.  Is Fisk that strong?  I mean, even if he is all muscle, it’s ordinary muscle unless something happened that I don’t know about.

I do seem to recall he appeared in an X-Men storyarc once where he somehow knocked out Canonball between issues.  Canonball has invulnerability when his blast field is up, and he wasn’t exactly taken by surprise.  Even if Fisk were that strong, he shouldn’t be able to knock out Canonball unless he snuck up on him.  And I don’t think he did.

Plus, the live action Fisk may have ripped a door off a car in the last episode of the Hawkeye Disney+ series.

But this is also the same character that Peter absolutely wrecked in a storyline that had Aunt May’s getting shot and most certainly did not contain Mephisto for no good reason.  You know, how Peter should be able to handle an ordinary human opponent no matter how big he is.  And I mean Fisk, not Mephisto, as that ordinary human.  You really gotta keep your pronouns clear.

I bring this up because Fisk, still just referred to as the Kingpin, does some classic mob stuff like bring J Jonah Jameson into his office to try to pressure Jameson into stopping with the running of the stories of the crime spree going on.  Say what you will about Jolly Jonah, but he will not let anyone tell him what he can and can’t print in his newspaper, not even that unnamed guy in that one panel that was possibly Robbie Robinson.

But when Spider-Man shows up, he and Fisk get into a fight, one that ends when Fisk, who was holding his own while taunting Spider-Man for assuming he was just some fat guy, blasts Spidey with some knock-out gas hidden in his tie pin, and during the one time when Jameson was actually rooting for Spider-Man.

That’s probably not a good thing.

Grade:  A-

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