Cover Date: April 1964
Cover Artist: Steve Ditko
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Doctor Octopus has served his prison sentence and is a free man again. His first act is to break a gangster out of jail. But what does any of this have to do with Betty Brant?
- Peter’s crush on Betty Brant has grown in her absence. She skipped town last issue.
- Peter overhears a radio broadcast, stating that Doctor Octopus will be released from prison that day. As Spider-Man, he tried to convince the warden that releasing the villain would be a mistake, but he was (rightly) rebuffed by the warden.
- When Doctor Octopus is released from prison, a car is waiting for him. The driver is none other than the missing Betty Brant! Spider-Man throws a spider-tracer on her car to track them and see what Doc Ock is up to.
- Betty chauffeured Doc Ock as a favor to her brother, Bennett. Bennett is deeply in debt to imprisoned mobster Blackie Gaxton; Blackie wants Doc Ock to break him out of prison.
- Spidey tracks down Betty’s car (thanks to his spider-tracer), and decides to approach her as Peter Parker. She is happy to see him, and tells him everything. Peter decides to reveal his identity to Betty, after this caper wraps up.
- Doctor Octopus breaks Blackie out of the courthouse jail, and takes him to the docks. Blackie plans to sail to a non-extradition country, and he’s taking Betty and Bennett Brant with him!
- Spider-Man interrupted their plans, though, and a scuffle ensued between him and Blackie’s men. Bennett Brant was shot and killed in the crossfire. Betty blames Spider-Man for her brother’s death.
- Spidey knocks out Blackie and his thugs, but Doctor Octopus proves to be a bigger challenge. The two battle until the police arrive, but the villain escapes in the confusion.
- Later, Betty tells Peter that she was wrong to blame Spider-Man for her brother’s death, but she would hate to see the hero ever again. Peter wisely chooses to not share his secret identity with Betty.
Is It Good?
This was pretty good. I was disappointed that Doctor Octopus didn’t play a larger role in the story, but the issue didn’t suffer from that lack. I’m curious as to where the Peter/Betty romance goes from here, and that’s about as much of a compliment as I can give a Silver Age romance.
- Doctor Octopus last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #3.
- This is the first appearance of Spider-Man’s spider-tracers.
- Betty had been paying her brother’s gambling debt to Blackie Gaxton. That’s the debt the Enforcers we’re looking to collect in Amazing Spider-Man #10.
- This is the first appearance of (and apparent death of) Bennett Brant.
Comics Are Goofy:
- If memory serves, Doc Ock took over a government atomic research facility by force. Marvel Universe judges are awfully lenient with their sentencing!
- What is with every Marvel villain wanting to be the king of crime?
- Honestly, I agree with Betty: Spider-Man is to blame for Bennett’s death. Spidey could have webbed that gun closed in a second. When it comes to a physical struggle, he can hold his own in a fight with the Thing! There is no excuse for him to struggle while overpowering a two-bit hood.
- Heroes should unionize.