June 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #108 (May, 1972)

Flash Thompson's past catches up to him!

Well, I had thought Flash Thompson might have been suffering from some PTSD given what happened in the past issue, but that was maybe asking a little too much of a comic book from 1972.

What I got instead…well, it’s something.

Issue:  The Amazing Spider-Man #108, May 1972

Writer:  Stan Lee

Artist:  John Romita Sr.

Resident Cultural Anthropologist:  Jimmy Impossible

The Plot:  Flash Thompson’s life is in danger due to something that happened in Vietnam!

Commentary:  I think this is the point where Stan Lee ran out of ideas.  See, the basic idea is Flash Thompson, lone survivor of a unit he was with in Vietnam, managed to find the Sacred Hidden Temple, and that was apparently the best name anyone could come up with for it.  Two of the bad guys are apparently the “great one” and the “giant one.”  Is that racist?  Probably, but the sad thing is I have seen far, far worse.  Sometimes in Marvel books.

Essentially, Flash recovered in this Sacred Hidden Temple, but when he got back to his superiors, he learned they were going to shell the place.  See, the Sacred Hidden Temple is not on any maps, so naturally, the United States Army is just going to start shelling the place.  That makes complete and total sense.  It’s always a good idea to shell places where there doesn’t appear to be anything.  And though Flash tried to get the kind people there to evacuate, they wouldn’t listen, so when the Temple went boom, some of the more fanatical followers decided it was his fault and followed him back to America.

You know, for the life of me, I don’t know how Spidey is supposed to fix this one.  I would think all the evidence is back in Vietnam.  Plus, Gwen won’t let Peter slip off at the very moment at the end of the issue when he needs to, a problem that will probably be fixed in, like, two panels in the next issue even if it does mean Peter will worry about losing the woman he loves like he always does.  But man, the Sacred Hidden Temple.  Stan couldn’t just make up a vaguely foreign-sounding name?

Grade:  B