April 24, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #94 (March, 1971)

The Beetle takes Aunt May hostage!

Well, Gwen left town, so I guess that means it’s time for that other woman who’s always complaining about Spider-Man to pop up.

Yes, it’s the unexpected return of…Aunt May!

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #94, March 1971

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  John Romita Sr

Beetle’s Parole Officer:  Jimmy Impossible

The Plot:  The Beetle is causing trouble for people who don’t know how diagrams work.

Commentary:  That’s strange.  It’s not an anniversary issue.  Stan still has six more issues to go before he departs the book.  And yet, there’s an eight page retelling of Spider-Man’s origin story at the start of the issue.  OK, there were some details that were changed, and it gives Peter an excuse to give Betty Brant the brush-off, but…why?

Oh, wait, the adversary for this issue is the Beetle, and Spidey manages to defeat him with the help of a swimming pool.  Man, I think the Beetle’s best known stories came after he changed his name to Mach-1 and became a good guy.  There may just be not much to say about this guy.

But the Beetle, see, he’s breaking into a bunch of different small shops on the same block without taking anything.  Why is that?  Could it be because he really wants to break into the much larger, unlabeled business that these smaller buildings surround as seen in the newspaper Peter checks out at one point?  It is?  Am I smarter than the people in this universe?

I could very well be.  I’ll ask Jimmy.  Jimmy knows things.

I will say this issue shows the dramatic return of Aunt May.  I haven’t seen her in a while, but with Gwen out of town, some woman Peter knows has to be down on Spider-Man, and Aunt May certainly fits that bill.  Naturally, the Beetle takes her hostage because she just has to go out and buy milk for Peter under the eternal assumption that he’s still a sickly child.  And I will give props to the script this time as Anna Watson is pretty quick to point out that Peter is an adult and not some spindly child that needs to be babied all the time.  The only real problem is Aunt May doesn’t really listen to anyone except maybe J. Jonah Jameson since she’s been down on Spider-Man since…well, since he first popped up somewhere.

Aunt May kinda sucks, doesn’t she?

Yeah, I said it.

Grade:  A