April 18, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #86 (July, 1970)

Spider-Man faces off against Black Widow...for some reason.

So, a Spider-Man/Black Widow confrontation was not high on my list of expected stories here as I get into Stan Lee’s last 15 or so issues, but here I am.

I’m kinda glad it’s not the Kingpin again.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #86, July 1970

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  John Romita Sr.

The Plot:  Black Widow wants to learn Spider-Man’s secrets!  Except maybe his secret identity.  She’s a superspy.  She might already know that.

Commentary:  If this wasn’t the regular creative team, I might think this was a filler issue.  Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov is swinging around the city when she spots Spider-Man and thinks she needs to know the secret of his powers to be a better superhero.  That makes sense, I suppose.  But she also recounts her complete backstory, changes into a new costume for what may have been some early cheesecake sort of panels, and keeps saying how she already has the same powers as Spider-Man and…

Wait, Black Widow has powers?  Since when?

Now, if I remember right, Natasha was given some basic weapons, including suction cups to allow her to climb walls, but she doesn’t have any actual powers.  Heck, aside from the Widow’s Sting, I don’t think most of her gear is all that impressive.  Not compared to, say, Iron Man’s.  But she keeps talking about having powers here the same as Spider-Man, and the only way that’s true is if Spidey’s powers are on the fritz since he has that proportionate strength of a spider and the spider-sense, and she doesn’t have either of those things.  I suppose she might not know about the spider-sense (let’s forget how some bad guys bring it up in casual conversation like they know all about it), but surely she knows he can lift a small car, right?

OK, Spidey’s powers are a bit weak now for some unknown reason, but still.

This was just an odd issue.  Between the big focus on Natasha and the talk of her having powers, it seemed more like a set-up for her own series.  And it kinda was.  The issue here says she’s popping up next in Amazing Adventures.

So that happened.

Grade:  B+