Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Amazing Spiderman #3
Anybody who read only the Steve Ditko issues of Amazing Spiderman would know exactly who was Spidey's arch-enemy, and it wasn't the Green Goblin. It was Dr Octopus, who was the first villain to appear in a two-part story (ASM #11-12,) the first to appear in a three-parter (#31-33), and who also headlined the first Spiderman Annual.
His initial appearance here also features the debut of the Spider-Signal:
It's a neat reversal of the Bat-Signal, indicating that trouble is here for the crooks who see it. I don't recall it getting much use in the Romita era, other than on the cover to ASM #72.
We get our first glimpse of the good doctor here:
The apparatus he uses is vaguely similar to a "Waldo":
Incidentally, the name "Waldo" for that device, which allows scientists to handle dangerous chemicals and elements from behind a protective barrier, comes from a Robert Heinlein short story.
But Doc Ock gets a little careless and:
With the result that the arms are grafted to his body and he's just a mite touched in the head. He takes over the hospital where he's been recovering. Peter gets involved when JJJ demands that he obtain some pictures. As with Clark Kent's job at the Daily Planet, Parker's employment at the Bugle guarantees he'll know where he's most needed.
As Spidey climbs up the outside wall of the hospital, he muses that it's all too easy; he almost wants a villain worthy of his talents. In fiction as in real life, that's just begging for trouble and sure enough, Spiderman discovers that Doctor Octopus is a handful and more:
Spidey is thrown unceremoniously out a window. Doc Ock returns to the atomic research center where he worked, and makes it into his own fortress. Meanwhile, Peter mopes about, having never been defeated before. Fortunately the Human Torch comes by his high school to give a demonstration and a pep talk:
Once inside the atomic research center, Spiderman puts his science background to work:
He creates an acid that fuses Doc Ock arms together. But he's still hard pressed until:
Comments: Solid, entertaining story with the usual terrific Ditko art. I particularly liked the bit with Peter sulking about after being beaten; that's a common teenaged reaction.