May 26, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #61 (June, 1968)

Spider-Man has to save both the Stacys from the Kingpin.

Well, Peter thought putting Captain Stacy’s picture in the Daily Bugle will somehow get the man the help he needs.  Because, yes, showing a respected member of the community breaking the law always works that way.

Oh wait, no it doesn’t.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #61, June 1968

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artists:  John Romita Sr. and Don Heck

The Plot:  Spider-Man has to save both Captain Stacy and his beautiful daughter Gwen from the Kingpin!

Commentary:  Well, in a surprise move to anyone with an ounce of sense, getting J Jonah Jameson to print a photo of respected retired cop robbing the police evidence locker did not do much more than make Captain Stacy confused about how he had to obey, well, someone.

Look, Spidey is on the ball this time.  He makes a gas mask to put under his regular mask so the Kingpin can’t gas him, and he’s able to follow all kinds of goons back to the Kingpin’s latest hideout:  the basement of Oscorp.  And Norman Osborn is getting suspicious.

As it is, this is a rather average Stan Lee-written Spider-Man story.  Spidey smacks around a variety of goons (who were also brainwashed for…reasons), and his knowledge of science plus the fact he actually learns from previous encounters means he can beat back a bad guy’s earlier tricks with tricks of his own.  There’s a side plot where Mary-Jane learns the hard way that she got stiffed of a paycheck from her brief turn as a go-go dancer.  You know, standard stuff.

But then there was Norman Osborn, and he’s starting to remember things about the Green Goblin, confessing to Harry that something about the Green Goblin haunts him whenever the name comes up.  So, will Norman go bad again?

I mean, yeah, he will.  I know that.  Heck, I suspect most people reading this issue when it was new suspected he will.  But for now?  Well, he’s doing heroic things to help Spider-Man by tackling a minion while the wallcrawler takes on that mass of muscle that is somehow strong enough to fight a guy who can lift a small car without breaking a sweat.

Oh, and the Kingpin still got away.  But because this is a comic book, a simple explanation gets Captain Stacy out of trouble.

Grade:  A-