“Squash Goes The Spider!”
Words by Stan Lee
Pencils by John Romita
Inks by frank Giacoia
Lettering by Sam Rosen
Well, last issue was one for come-backs and this one continues the trend, as John (Ring-A-Ding) Romita is back at the drawing board. It has to be said that, although his story telling’s as accomplished as ever, his draftsmanship isn’t as appealing as it once was. It lacks the smoothness, slickness and elegant simplicity of his late 60s’ stint. Too many lines. Too many details. Maybe it’s down to Frank Giacoia’s inks but there are one or two places that don’t even look like Romita’s work.
The main cliff-hanger of last issue (Spider-Man unmasked) turns out to be a total damp squib. What could have been a major storyline is dispatched far too easily, especially as it ascribes a mask-making skill to Web Head he’s never before shown even a hint of.
This does, of course, leave Spidey to concentrate on the issue’s big threat…
…the new Spider-Slayer!
That’s right. We saw a new Spider-Slayer last month - but, this month, we get an even bigger one. At some point, someone’s going to have to point out to Professor Smythe that, when you spend all your time making giant mechanical spiders in order to catch a man who’s like a spider, then perhaps you’ve reached a point where an interest becomes an obsession.
Elsewhere In the tale, MJ’s acting pretty obsessed herself, still coming onto Peter Parker and still showing no noticeable concern whatsoever for poor old Harry Osborn. I really don’t like this phase of Mary Jane’s portrayal at all. She was always conceived of as a fun, if irresponsible character but, in this period of the strip, she really is startlingly repellent.
Someone who is showing concern is Gwen Stacy -- for Flash Thompson. Apparently, he’s not been the same since he came back from Vietnam; and she wants to know why. Needless to say this interest in his old high school tormentor makes her boyfriend jealous. Oh, Petey, haven’t you learned yet - from all the previous such occasions - that Gwen has eyes for none but you? Why, next you’ll be suspecting her of having had a fling with Norman Osborn while she was in Europe. And that really would be insane, wouldn’t it?