Cover Date: March 1964
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
The mysterious Big Man has taken over New York’s underworld, and it’s up to a weakened Spider-Man to take him down!
- The Big Man is the new crime boss in town, and he is taking over all the rackets in the city.
- Meanwhile, Aunt May is in need of a blood transfusion, after her surgery. The doctor wants Peter to give his blood for the transfusion, but Peter is worried that his blood has been tainted by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers. Peter chooses to give blood, anyway.
- After the transfusion, Peter suspects that his spider-powers will be weakened for a few days, as his body builds up more blood cells.
- The Big Man’s crime syndicate has been busy, committing crimes both big and small, but no one is closer to apprehending the Big Man himself. Even when the police catch a criminal in the act, they know that the Big Man will bail them out.
- J. Jonah Jameson doesn’t believe that the Big Man exists. He thinks that Spider-Man is behind the crime wave.
- Liz Allan, for unrevealed reasons, borrowed money from a loan shark. She had paid it back, but the Big Man inherited her loan and decided that she still owed money.
- Peter happened to see the Enforcers bothering Liz, but he couldn’t do much without revealing his secret identity. Liz refuses to tell him why the Enforcers were hassling her, and Peter assumes it is because she doesn’t care about him.
- Spider-Man decides to track down the Enforcers, but they find him first! In the ensuing fight, Spidey was outnumbered by villains that use teamwork. Despite this, he did pretty well. Unfortunately, he tired quickly due to his blood donation; he managed to escape the clutches of the Enforcers.
- Unable to track down the Big Man a second time, Peter decides to try and get kidnapped by the Big Man instead. He loudly tells many people that he has deduced the identity of the Big Man, and will be telling the police.
- Curiously, Flash Thompson pulled Peter aside to let him know what he was doing was dangerous. Flash (and Liz) also visited Aunt May in the hospital, too. Maybe Flash isn’t such a bad guy?
- Peter’s plan works. The Enforcers pick him up and take him to their hideout. They also reveal that the Big Man knows Peter! Could the Big Man be J. Jonah Jameson, whom Peter saw near one of the Big Man’s crime scenes?
- At the Big Man’s hideout, Peter is locked in a room. He changes into his Spider-Man costume and proceeds to beat up the Big Man’s underlings. At the end of the fight, the police arrested the underlings, and the Big Man escaped.
- Still suspecting JJJ, Spider-Man heads to the Daily Bugle office to confront the man he believes is the Big Man. He is surprised when the police arrive and arrest Frederick Foswell, one of the Daily Bugle’s employees!
Is It Good?
This was another fun issue. The Enforcers, particularly Fancy Dan, are not great villains, but they do use teamwork, and that almost makes them formidable. Even with underwhelming baddies, there is enough going on in Peter’s personal life to keep readers engaged. What I really like about this title is that it seems to be a snapshot of Peter’s life, and not just a plot-driven story where any hero could be plugged in.
- This is the first appearance of the Big Man, Frederick Foswell.
- This is also the first appearance of the Enforcers: Fancy Dan, Ox, and Montana. Fancy Dan is quick and knows judo; Ox is very strong; Montana is good with a lasso.
- Aunt May’s surgery occurred in Amazing Spider-Man #9.
- J. Jonah Jameson finally gives an explanation for why he hates Spider-Man so much: he is painfully jealous of the hero, and needs to tear him down.
- This is the second consecutive issue where J. Jonah Jameson accuses Spider-Man of disguising himself as a new crime boss.
- The results of the “Can we please discontinue the Spider-Man letters page?” survey are in, and the answer is “nope.”
Comics Are Goofy:
- Why did Aunt May need Peter’s blood? The hospital didn’t have its own supply of blood?
- I like that Fancy Dan says this like it means something. If his name implies anything, it’s that he frequents a haberdashery.
- Not that Spider-Man couldn’t do this, but I don’t see why the bad guys wouldn’t try to jump over the barrel to attack him.
- JJJ finally reveals why he hates Spider-Man: it’s because he, J. Jonah Jameson, is an awful human being.