Sunday, 3 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #75. Death of Silvermane

Amazing Spider-Man #75, John Romita, death of Silvermane
(Cover from August 1969. )

"Death Without Warning!"

Written by Stan Lee
Art by John Romita and Jim Mooney
Inks by Jim Mooney
Lettering by Artie Simek

Spidey's on the hunt for Curt Connors, so he leans on a couple of crooks and they tell him where to find the Maggia's HQ. In that HQ, Marko's having a hard time getting his head round Silvermane's sudden rejuvenation routine.

That time gets even harder when Maggia lawyer Caesar Cicero walks in and, determined to get rid of Silvermane, tells him it must all be a trick, that this man must be an impostor. An impostor, thinks Marko, yeah, that must be it and Marko and Silvermane quickly come to blows.

But it's no contest. In his current state of vigour, the Maggia boss is too much for even Marko and gazing into his eyes makes the Man-Mountain realise this is indeed the man he's been working for all this time.

And now they have company because Spider-Man smashes in through the window. He sorts out Marko in double-quick time - it's easy when you're not distracted by having to worry about the Shocker's girlfriend's safety - but, in even the few moments it took for him to do that, Silvermane's changed again. He's grown even younger still. Now he looks remarkably like Peter Parker, although Spidey never seems to notice the resemblance. It's worth mentioning here that it looks like John Romita's back to doing the strip's full pencilling, with Mooney just doing the inks. Silvermane, meanwhile, is so confident in his new-found regeneration that he's ready to take our hero on, hand-to-hand.

Curt Connors takes advantage of all this to make his escape. He has to find his wife and son.

But, maybe they'd be better off if he didn't find them - because it finally happens, the thing he's been trying to hold off for the last three issues. Suddenly, he's got two hands - and they're both covered in scales. The Lizard is back.

Spidey and Silvermane are scrapping. In truth, it's not that much of a scrap, with Silvermane only managing to land one blow on Spider-Man, a knee to the head, which doesn't hurt the human arachnid in any way, shape or form. The villain, meanwhile, is getting younger by the second.

Cicero returns, with reinforcements. While Spidey's busy dealing with them, Cicero's out to deal with Silvermane. If he kills him, he can claim the Maggia crown for himself. But, when he sees the young boy that Silvermane has now become, the Lilliputian lawyer runs off in horror.

He's not the only one horrified, because it's finally dawned on Silvermane what'll happen if he carries on regressing.

Spider-Man finishes off the minor hoods but then sees a small boy run past in Silvermane's clothing. And then, before his eyes, in a striking set of panels that once seen are never forgotten, the crime-lord dies, regressing to a baby and then into nothingness.

On his way out, Spider-Man runs into a pair of familiar faces. It's Curt's wife and son. But where's Curt?

Well, we all know where "Curt" is. He's in what appears to be a warehouse and he's boarding himself in to try and prevent himself from hurting anyone.

But it's no use, as the story ends, the last vestiges of his human intellect vanish and Curt Connors is no more.

Now there's just The Lizard.

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