Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #59. The Brainwasher/Kingpin

Amazing Spider-Man #59. Mary Jane Watson's first ever cover appearance
(Cover from April 1968.)

"The Brand Of The Brainwasher!"

Written by Stan Lee
Layouts by John Romita
Pencils by Don Heck
Inked by Mike Esposito
Lettering by Artie Simek

At last Mary Jane gets her first ever cover and, after being criminally underused for the last few tales, she finally gets a pivotal part in a story.

But first there's other matters to be dealt with.

For a start, Peter Parker still hasn't come up with an explanation as to where he's been for the last few issues. A quick visit to the cop shop soon puts that right as he tells the assembled investigators that he was kidnapped by Spider-Man, who'd lost his memory, and that he'd been released the moment Spidey got his marbles back. In one fell swoop, Petey's explained his own absence while portraying Spidey as a no more than a confused and bewildered innocent.

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, returned from wherever he's been, peter parker is surrounded by people wanting to know where he's been

That's not all that happens while he's down at the station, because one of his interrogators is none other than Gwen's dad George Stacy who, despite being retired, seems to spend all his time at the police station, doing police work, and being called Captain. It's the first time the pair have ever met but won't be the last. Pete also learns that a person unknown has been releasing criminals. Clearly things are afoot in the world of crime.

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, at a mystery nightclub, mary jane watson dances as her gangster employers watch on

Things are also afoot in the world of Mary Jane. When we join her, she's using those feet to dance on a table as she finishes off her last rehearsal before starting work on her new job at the happeningest club to have opened in New York in many a year. Her dodgy boss tells her - and us - that her job is to dance for the punters and to take their photos - but only of people sat at tables with a star on them.

Amazing Spider-Man #59, john romita, don heck, at the club, mary jane watson puts her coat on and asks her new boss mr slade how she did

After she leaves, we're told by the man of mystery behind the plot that the camera she's been given is nothing less than a brainwashing machine, designed to get hapless punters under the Brainwasher's control just long enough for him to give them a mega-dose of his big brainwashing machine. Not that he has a one-track mind or anything.

Oblivious to all this, the gang turn up for the big opening night and to give Mary Jane moral support.

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, as peter parker and gwen stacy watch, mary jane dances her heart out on the opening night of the club

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, gwen stacy gives mary jane watson the OK sign as she walks around the club with a camera in her hand, peter parker and harry osborn are also present

Not that she needs it. She's merrily dancing away like a mad thing, pausing only to take the required snaps. And, with the sort of bad luck that seems to befall anyone who finds himself trapped within Peter Parker's inner orbit, despite being retired, Captain Stacy just happens to be on the Brainwasher's hit list. MJ snaps his map and, suddenly feeling dizzy, the ex-cop sets off outside to get some fresh air.

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, george stacy is led into a room where a mad scientist waits with his brainwashing device

Peter's suspicious. What's the deal with only people with a star at their table being snapped? He has to find out. Making his excuses, he sets off to see what's going on and, in the corridors, blunders into a bunch of petty crooks. He disposes of them with ease but finds himself in a room where Stacy's got his head under a huge hairdryer. And it's a safe bet he's not there for a Marcel Wave. He's about to be brainwashed - big time!

Spidey demands that the shady scientist operating the equipment tells him what's going on. The scientist declares that it's not a secret - even though it clearly is. Presumably there was nothing in the club's promotional material along the lines of, "Come to our club and get yourself brainwashed." Regardless, the scientist blabs his mouth off and says it's all the work of the Brainwasher.

The Brainwasher? Demands our hero. Who's he?

Suddenly someone's grabbed him by the arm. It's the Brainwasher.

No it's not. It's not just the Brainwasher.

It's the Kingpin!

Amazing Spider-Man #59, don heck, john romita, appearing from nowhere at the tale's climax, the Kingpin grabs spider-man's wrist


Brenton said...

Is MJ dancing the Snoopy dance? And is it at a club for minors?

The Cryptic Critic said...

Mj's always struck me as a woman who'd be into Snoopy dancing, so who can know?


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