Cover Date: June 1964
Cover Artists: Steve Ditko
“The Menace of…Mysterio!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
What’s Going On?
Spider-Man has been seen committing crimes around town; either someone is framing Spidey, or else he is breaking the law in his sleep. But a new costumed character, Mysterio, is making a name in town. Does he have the answers to these Spidey crimes?
- It looks like Spider-Man has turned to crime! Who else could do whatever a spider can and wear such snazzy duds?
- The public is divided over the accusation, but it doesn’t look good for Spidey.
- Peter Parker doesn’t remember committing any crimes, but he reasons that only Spider-Man could be committing the crimes! He believes that he is either suffering from multiple personalities, or else he is committing crimes in his sleep.
- This would be a great time to lay low and not go out as Spider-Man, but Peter needs to raise money to pay the mortgage. He figures that he can find some crime, take some pictures, and sell them to the Daily Bugle. Unfortunately, Spidey’s newfound infamy causes the locals to chase him, so Peter gives up and goes back to school.
- At school, Liz Allan continues to flirt with Peter.
- At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson receives an unexpected guest, Mysterio! The costumes stranger claims to be able to stop the evil Spider-Man, and asks JJJ to print a challenge to Spidey in the paper, so the two can fight.
- Hoping that Mysterio has a clue regarding the Spider-Man crime wave, Spidey Meets Mysterio at the appointed spot. Mysterio appears to have Spidey’s number.
- By confusing Spidey with some smoke effects and (somehow) jamming his spider-sense, Mysterio lays a beating on the hero. Spidey is only able to escape by falling off the bridge the two were fighting on.
- Despite her interest in him, Peter doesn’t seem to be interested in Liz.
- The city threw a parade for Mysterio, in honor of him defeating Spider-Man. He later stops by the Daily Bugle, where Peter slips a spider-tracer on him.
- Not long after, Peter (as Spidey) confronts Mysterio and gets him to monologue long enough to record a confession that definitively clears Spider-Man for the robberies.
- After defeating Mysterio and clearing Spider-Man’s name, Peter sells pictures of the fight to JJJ and gets enough money to pay the bills. All’s well, etc., etc..
Is It Good?
Yes, even if there are some truly head-scratching moments in this issue. I get that it’s more interesting to raise the possibility of Peter committing robberies in his sleep than to immediately conclude that the thief is an imposter. It’s still really, really dumb.
Still, the artwork is great, and the moodiness of the characters sets this apart from the pack.
- Timeline alert: in Amazing Spider-Man #2, Peter paid the mortgage for a full year in advance. Apparently, a year has passed in the Marvel Universe, because the Parkers are struggling with mortgage payments again.
- This is the first appearance of Mysterio (AKA Quentin Beck, although his name is not revealed here). He is a former movie special effects man that decided to opt into a life of crime.
- In the letters page, it is announced that the titles of Journey Into Mystery and Tales of Suspense have changed to Thor and Iron Man, respectively. These are unofficial changes, though, and these comics won’t actually change their titles for another four years.
Comics Are Goofy:
- Yes, Peter, this is the most reasonable explanation. Obviously.
- Let’s remember this the next time Peter Parker complains about being single.
- Spider-Man uses cool slang, part 1: “No dice!”
- Spider-Man uses cool slang, part 2: “Life sure is a bowl of cherries!”
- Here’s Peter, who absolutely said worse to his girlfriend, calling Flash our for saying dumb stuff to girls. Pot, kettle, black.
- Mysterio received a one-car parade for…fighting Spider-Man and letting him escape? New York City loves a celebration, I guess.