Sunday, 12 April 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #62. Medusa

Amazing Spider-Man #62, Medusa
(A not altogether honest cover from July 1968.)

"Make Way For... Medusa!"

Written by Stan Lee
Layouts by John Romita
Pencils by Don Heck
Inking by Mickey Demeo
Lettering by Sam Rosen

So, we get straight into the action, with Spider-Man's webbing being cut by a foe unseen.

Is it Doc Ock?


Is it Electro?


How about the Beetle? He's the sort to cut a man's webbing in half when he's not expecting it.


As it turns out, it's no foe at all. At least, not in the conventional sense of the word. It's Medusa, still using the Madame part of her name, who's been sent on a misson by Black Bolt to find out if humans are yet ready to accept the presence of Inhumans amongst them. Medusa grabs the falling Spidey with her hair, to stop him going splat all over the pavement and, after flinging a quick bit of haughtiness his way, she sets off to get herself noticed.

And noticed she gets, as the boss of a hairspray company spots her and decides the tonsorial temptress is the perfect woman to plug his product. As Medusa has total control of her hair and therefore no need whatsoever for his product, she seems an unlikely candidate for the role. Nonetheless, the job's offered and, nonetheless, the job's accepted. She reasons that working with humans will give her the chance to study them at close quarters.

The only problem is, she has no patience whatsoever and, after throwing a hissy fit, storms out of the photo shoot. It's an odd depiction of Medusa's character we're being given in this story, bearing no great resemblance to her original behaviour as a villainness or her remodelled role as conscientious heroine.

Our ambitious executive, however, is not a man to be easily thwarted. He calls out to Spider-Man, who just happens to be passing, and tells him Medusa's gone mad, that she trashed his office and is now out to destroy New York. Through the ensuing fight, he aims to get maximum publicity for his hairspray. How? Who knows? And how a woman armed only with her hair could have any hope of destroying an entire metropolis is an issue not addressed.

Not surprisingly, Spidey's somewhat sceptical of the man's story but, taking no risks, goes to investigate. When he reaches her, he finds Medusa in the mood for a fight. The fight isn't exactly epic. It only lasts a couple of pages before Spider-Man entangles her in enough webbing to hold The Thing. Let's face it, given her somewhat underpowered nature, it was never going to be much of a fight. A quick conversation and both parties realise they've been manipulated, before going their separate ways.

And that's it, a brief coda involving Mary Jane aside, that's the end of the story. It's not exactly substantial and has to be regarded as a light-hearted bit of filler before the more serious tales to come. The only thing of any real import that happens this issue is that Norman Osborn's still having those flashbacks - and now he's getting glimpses of a maskless Spider-Man.

It can only be a matter of time before those memories start to make sense to him...

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