Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #87. Spider-Man unmasked

Amazing Spider-Man #87, Spider-Man unmasked
(Cover from August 1970.)

"UNMASKED AT LAST!"

Written by Stan Lee
Art by John Romita and Jim Mooney
Lettering by Sam Rosen


What happens:
Fearing he's losing his spider-powers, Peter tries to check a sample of his blood under the microscope but his vision's so blurry that he can't see clearly enough to know what it should be telling him.

Across town, there's a party at the Stacy residence. The whole gang's there but Peter's not shown up.

Then he shows up.

He shows up, dazed, mask in hand, telling everyone that he's Spider-Man. Suddenly realising what he's done, the delirious youngster flees the building. He can't go on like this. He's losing the plot. He needs to see a doctor, so he goes to the hospital where, after passing out, he's told he's simply had a king-sized does of the flu. He's not losing his super-powers! He needs to put right what was said at the party.

He approaches Hobie Brown - the Prowler - and asks him to be at a certain place at a certain time, then returns to the Stacy residence, where the gang are still gathered. As he tells them to ignore his earlier outburst, that he was delirious and didn't know what he was saying, Spider-Man appears at the window. Unknown to everyone but him, it's actually the Prowler in disguise. After his brief appearance, the stand-in Spidey leaves and Peter's in the clear. Now no one will ever suspect him again of being Spider-Man.


The Verdict:

It's the first story since issue #50 where we don't get to see Spider-Man fighting anyone, Instead the story concentrates on Peter Parker's private life. As with that previous tale, it gives us the possibility that we'll never again see Spider-Man, although it doesn't do it as memorably because this time there's no dilemma for our hero. If he's lost his powers he'll simply have no choice but to hang up his mask.

On the art front, another issue credited to Romita and Mooney but, somehow the artwork doesn't look like it normally does. I can only assume Romita's influence on this issue was weaker than usual. Mooney also seems to be inking the strip differently, his inking seems lighter than normal. Is he using different brushes?


Peter's personal life:

Peter's act should have fooled everyone but he still gets the feeling Captain Stacy's suspicious. In one panel, we see the captain's thought balloons as the Prowler leaves, and those thoughts indicate the ex-cop's been fooled by the charade, which may mean Peter's simply being paranoid.

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