February 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #91 (December, 1970)

Spider-Man matches wits with the worst sort of person--an ambitious politician!

Looks like everybody hates Spider-Man for no good reason again.  No wonder the Avengers freaked out in JLA/Avengers when they got to the DC Universe.  Getting universal love and respect might throw anyone for a loop if they come from a world where people just hate on heroes for no reason.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #91, December 1970

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  Gil Kane

Head of the Spiderverse Anti-Corruption League:  Jimmy Impossible

The Plot:  In the wake of Captain Stacy’s death, the city turns on Spider-Man!  Must be a Tuesday.

Commentary:  Well, here’s a shock.  The cover promises the “murderous menace of the man called Bullit.”  That guy sounds dangerous.  I have no idea who he is, but he sounds dangerous.

Turns out he’s an ex-cop running for District Attorney with some decidedly hardcore law-and-order beliefs.  So…probably not as dangerous to Spider-Man as he could be.  Besides, Peter is wondering what to do now that Gwen hates Spider-Man.

Must be a Wednesday.

Now, I can appreciate that Stan Lee was (as far as I know) left of center in his personal politics.  I mean, there are some moments in this series, like any conversation between Robbie Robertson and his son, where it sure does seem like Stan is siding with the hippies and the counterculture types and the Civil Rights Movement and the like.  Oh, it seems clumsy and heavy-handed and at least a little cringeworthy given the dialogue was written by a fortysomething white guy trying to sound like a person of color twenty years his junior, and Stan probably knew who his audience was if nothing else, but the point stands.  Bullit talks down about those people, marking himself as right-of-center what with his talk of law-and-order and the like, and there’s a part of me that was thinking, “I know this issue was written by a left-leaning guy in 1970, but these speeches wouldn’t sound too out-of-place coming from some right-of-center types right now saying these things unironically.”

Point is, he’s bad news.  Jameson likes him because he came down hard on the Spider-Man issue.  Gwen decides to volunteer for his campaign because he’s an ex-cop like her father, and apparently George never told Gwen that Bullit was bad news because Bullit didn’t like George Stacy all that much for the late Captain Stacy’s bleeding heart ways, so he’ll take Gwen’s help because he can appreciate irony.

Seriously, Gwen, the way Bullit rants about your father, you never knew what your dad thought of this guy?

Then again, that’s before he sends some goons to rough up Peter for information on Spider-Man.  He’s not the DA yet.  What does he plan on doing?  Making a citizen’s arrest?  And there’s a part of me, seeing the city turn on Spider-Man again and with the streets cleared of people since they’re all afraid of him now that wonders why Peter went out in costume anyway.  I mean, he does acknowledge that messing with Bullit’s goons doesn’t solve his problems, but he could have, I dunno, just stayed home or something.

Eh, looks like there’s an Amazing Friend coming next issue anyway.

Grade:  A