Monday, 18 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #100. Six-armed Spidey

Amazing Spider-Man #100
"THE SPIDER OR THE MAN?"

(The strip that Martin Goodman thought no one would buy hits the ton. Cover from September 1971.)

Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Gil Kane
Inked by Frank Giacoia
Lettered by Artie Simek


What happens:
Peter Parker comes to the decision that he can never have a life with Gwen Stacy as long as he's Spider-Man and so, before retiring to bed, he takes a potion he's designed to rob him of his powers. He then has a dream where he must take on his deadliest foes while a mysterious voice calls out to him.

The voice is that of Captain Stacy and, in the dream, Stacy tells him he can never be free of his arachnid alter-ego, at which point, Peter awakes.

But something's gone wrong. Instead of ridding him of his spider powers, the formula's done the opposite. As he climbs from bed, he suddenly discovers the shocking truth.

He now has six arms!

The Verdict.
Clearly there's something wrong with me because this story-line tends to be derided as one of the stupidest tales in Spider-Man's history but I love the whole six-arms things. Maybe I'm just a sucker for melodrama, or maybe it's the sheer ludicrousness of the whole thing that grabs me.

That aside, the tale's pretty thin, mostly dedicated to a dream that marks the strip's hundredth issue by giving a quick recap of Spider-Man's career while allowing him to fight a number of his greatest foes. The fighting-a-whole-bunch-of-greatest-foes thing seems to be a standard approach to hitting issue #100 of a comic from Lee - as the same thing happened in issue #100 of the Fantastic Four. There, as here, the foes were only simulacra of the real thing, making it an oddly empty experience, even though - or perhaps because - the dream climaxes with Captain Stacy seemingly comparing Spider-Man to Jesus.

Least likely line of dialogue from our hero: "I used to think I was a million miles better off than they are down there." You did? When?

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