Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #17

Credits:

Cover Date: October 1964

Cover Artist: Steve Ditko

“The Return of the Green Goblin!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

Peter decides to give the kids a thrill and make an appearance in costume at the first meeting of the local Spider-Man Fan Club. Unfortunately, the Green Goblin decides to make an appearance, too, and things get explosive.

Details:

  • At school, Flash Thompson announces that he is founding a Forest Hills chapter of the Spider-Man Fan Club. He purposefully excludes Peter from the club, both to be mean and because Peter has openly criticized Spidey in front of Flash. Liz Allan decides that she’s going to find a way for Peter to join the club.

  • Liz invites Peter to the first Spider-Man Fan Club meeting. They took out a newspaper ad, stating that Spidey would be making an appearance, too. That sounds bold, but Flash honestly believes Spidey will show up to be nice to his fans. Meanwhile, Liz flirts with Peter and criticizes Betty Brant.

  • Peter more or less agrees to go to the meeting, and in the process unwittingly alienates Betty.

  • In addition to his troubles with Betty and Liz, Peter is still trying to dodge a blind date with Mrs. Watson’s niece. Lucky for him, Mary Jane cancelled due to illness.

  • There’s a pretty good turnout for the Fan Club: Betty, Dorrie Evans, Flash, J. Jonah, Johnny Storm, Liz, and a bunch of random teens.

  • Spidey makes a grand entrance, but someone tries to sabotage it!

  • The saboteur is none other than the Green Goblin! Rather than telling the crowd to run, Spider-Man acts like he and the Goblin are merely sparring for their amusement.

  • In the audience, Johnny Storm is beginning to suspect that he is witnessing a real fight. When he notices some gunmen in the balcony, preparing to rob the festivities (and completely unrelated to the Green Goblin’s attack), he leaps into action as the Human Torch!

  • While the Torch manages to scare away the robbers, he also accidentally ruins an attack that Spidey was carefully setting up to take the Green Goblin out of the fight.

  • With the Human Torch around, Spidey took a quick break to change back into his civilian clothes and let people know that he, Peter Parker, definitely is not Spider-Man.

  • While Peter was taking his break, the Human Torch isn’t faring well against the Goblin and his ingenious weapons.

  • Spidey quickly rejoins the fight and seems to have things under control…

  • …until he overhears someone mention that Aunt May has been hospitalized. He immediately runs off, causing many to think he is chickening out of the fight.

  • After that confusing moment, the Green Goblin takes the opportunity to escape.

  • In the aftermath, JJJ is happy to have a story about Spider-Man being a coward. Betty is heartbroken over Peter’s perceived attitude towards her.

  • Only Flash Thompson seems to trust in Spider-Man’s goodness on this day.

  • The important take-away, though, is that Aunt May survived her heart attack. Spider-Man’s reputation is in shambles, he has girl troubles, and his generous aunt is seriously ill; it’s been a bad day for Peter.

Is It Good?

This was a good, if atypical, issue. Spider-Man stands out as the only Marvel hero with real problems, and this issue is a great example of that.

It’s a little strange, in retrospect, that the Green Goblin is such a minor character in his first couple of appearances. He’s been interesting so far, he just hasn’t been on many pages.

Continuity:

  • The Green Goblin last appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #14.
  • The Green Goblin has ditched his flying broomstick, replacing it with his Goblin Glider.

  • This is also the first time the Goblin uses his signature pumpkin bombs.

  • It’s been hinted at before, but Betty Brant is officially no longer angry at Spider-Man over her brother’s death.

  • Spider-Man’s Spidey-Sense looks like it has finally evolved from a radar sense into a more vague warning system/impulse. If this scene was written a year earlier, Peter probably would have been able to figure out who in the crowd was the bad guy.

  • Liz Allan is the first person to (maybe) suspect that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

  • The Human Torch/Spider-Man rivalry is becoming more friendly with each interaction.

  • Check out this fan letter from future Marvel writer Doug Moench!

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Liz, you’re better than this.

  • This seems like a supremely irresponsible choice. I get why Spider-Man is worried about the crowd exiting in an orderly fashion, but not exiting at all seems a lot worse.

<<<Amazing Spider-Man #16

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