Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #5

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1963

“Marked For Destruction by Dr. Doom!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

Thanks to J. Jonah Jameson’s constant smearing of Spider-Man’s reputation, Doctor Doom believes that Spider-Man is actually a villain. As such, he decides that having Spider-Man team-up with him to battle the Fantastic Four would make sense.

Not surprisingly, Spidey turns down Doom’s offer. Predictably, Doctor Doom doesn’t take the rejection well, but Spider-Man manages to escape. A few hours later, Doom interrupts all television programming to broadcast a message to the Fantastic Four: he has captured Spider-Man and will kill him, if the FF do not surrender to Doom!

Peter Parker, watching the broadcast from his home, knows that Doom doesn’t have the real Spider-Man; he can’t let an innocent be harmed in his stead, though, so it is up to Spider-Man to save the day.

Is It Good?

Yes, this is pretty good. It’s a silly plot —- would Doctor Doom really buy into tabloid journalism? —- but it’s pretty fun. One of the things I especially like is Peter Parker’s dark moods. It is very heroic for him to fantasize about hurting Flash Thompson? No, but it is easy to identify with, and that sets this comic apart from its peers.

Sub-Plots:

  • As part of his ongoing quest to discredit Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson paid to air a TV special discussing the Spider-Man threat.
  • The local teens don’t buy JJJ’s nonsense, with Flash Thompson and Liz Allen being among Spidey’s most vocal supporters. To distance himself from his alter-ego, Peter agrees with Jameson’s take.

  • After declining Doom’s offer to help him defeat the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man narrowly escapes before the building explodes. Random bystanders suspect Spider-Man caused the explosion.

  • Flash Thompson decided to dress up as Spider-Man and surprise Peter, as retaliation for Peter publicly agreeing with J. Jonah Jameson about the hero (I guess?). Unfortunately, he picks a bad time for this particular prank; Doctor Doom was scouring the area, looking for Spidey, and captured Flash instead.

  • Peter was initially confused when Doom broadcasted that he had captured Spider-Man, but he figured out what happened when Liz Allen called and helped him put the pieces together. Peter briefly considers letting Flash die, but ultimately decides to save his classmate.

  • Spider-Man fights Doom to a standstill, until Doom notices the Fantastic Four approaching. Doom flees, and Spider-Man hurries Home so that Aunt May doesn’t get too worried; Flash winds up being released by the FF.
  • Betty Brant and Peter Parker appear to share a mutual attraction.

Continuity:

  • This is Doctor Doom’s first appearance outside of Fantastic Four. It is also the first time a member of another title’s rogue’s gallery appears in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man.
  • After appearing to have plummeted to his death in Fantastic Four #17, we learn that Doom was wearing a jet-powered belt that day, and flew away to safety once he was obscured by some clouds.

  • Betty Brant is presented as a romantic interest for Peter for the first time.
  • Peter is still using his Spidey-Sense as a form of radar, when he can’t find a particular bad guy.

  • Spidey creates web-shields and web-bombs this issue, both are fairly novel uses of web fluid.

  • Apparently, Spider-Man’s webbing is conductive.

  • Peter mentions his bad luck a few times in this issue, but hasn’t referred to it as “Parker Luck” just yet.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Doctor Doom contacts Spider-Man by tuning into “spider-waves.” He basically treats the Spidey-Sense like a radio broadcast channel, which of course is nothing like how the Spidey-Sense has ever been presented before. And of course it worked.

  • What was Liz hoping for here? She wasn’t asking Peter if he saw Flash last night. So, she was calling to let Peter know that there was a conspiracy to humiliate him in front of his peers?

  • Shouldn’t this be the sort of thing the Spidey-Sense is good for? For some reason, it didn’t warn about the trap door.

  • Doctor Doom manages to brawl with Spider-Man! Yes, Spider-Man —- the guy who knocked the Thing for a loop, and is too agile for most enemies to make contact with —- was decked by a dude wearing medieval metal armor, who has never been shown physically fighting anyone before now. That makes sense.

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