Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #82. Electro

Amazing Spider-Man #82, Electro
(Cover from March 1970.)

"And Then Came Electro!"

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

Argh! It's happened! At last, after seventeen consecutive months of absence, Mary Jane Watson reappears. It seems she's just got back from Florida with her Aunt Anna. What she was doing in Florida is anyone's guess, as this trip has never been mentioned before and all indication, for all this time, is that she's been in New York, dating Harry. Still, she's back and already that old rivalry between her and Gwen's starting to raise its playful head once more. Mary Jane's return isn't only good news from the point of view of the strip having a lively character back in the fold but it instantly helps steer Gwen away from the dull-as-ditchwater drip she's been in recent months.

Of course, that still doesn't cheer Peter Parker up. He's too busy worrying about all the things he's always worrying about. Chief among them being how to make money.

And then he has it.


He'll do a chat show. They'll pay good money for an exclusive interview with Spider-Man. So, he drops in on some TV executives and sets up the deal.

But Peter Parker's most notable accompanist in life is a thing called Coincidence and it's dogging his every step again. It turns out that one of the electricians at the TV network is Max Dillon. That name may not mean much to everyone but his pseudonym will.

He's Electro.

What's he doing there? He's on payroll and he's keeping his nose clean until he's ready to strike again.

He's ready to strike again. Getting wind of Spider-Man's planned chat show appearance, he reasons that J Jonah Jameson'll pay him a fortune to unmask the arachnid adventurer on live TV.

Jonah's in 7th Heaven. He's just struck the deal with Electro and is determined to be there. He won't be alone. He's also taking Joe Robertson and Captain Stacy. Oddly, it doesn't seem to occur to him to take Peter Parker, even though you'd've thought a photographer'd come in handy under the circumstances.

Spidey arrives at the chat show but, no sooner has the interview started than Electro's flinging lightning bolts at him. Everyone flees in a panic, leaving the two to battle it out. Blimey it's a short-lived battle. There was a time, in the early days, when Spidey would take up the main part of an issue trying to even survive an encounter with Electro. Here, he polishes the villain off in just three pages, by webbing his hands and feet together to short-circuit him.

It has to be said, the tactic isn't an altogether out-and-out triumph. It beats Electro but it also defeats Spidey as he's hit by the electrical feedback travelling down his webbing and is knocked out.

Electro recovers first but, not realising that Spidey's out cold, staggers away from the scene, scared that the hero will easily defeat him in his current (no pun intended) state.

Spidey quickly recovers...

...but he's back to square one. The interview was wrecked, after what's just happened, no TV show'll touch him with a barge pole, and all he's got to show for it are a few burns and bruises. Just another normal day in the life of Spider-Man then.

Mary Jane vigil.
She's back!!!

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