Friday, 27 November 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #126. The Kangaroo returns

Amazing Spider-Man #126, the death of the Kangaroo
(Cover from November 1973.)

"The Kangaroo Bounces Back!"
Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Jim Mooney.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by Linda Lessmann.

A Boomerang. Perhaps it's what Gerry Conway mostly needed; a stick that always comes back.

As mentioned elsewhere in these pages, two of his defining traits as Spider-Man writer were a love of bringing back old foes (a stick that always comes back) and a liking for having a minor villain under the influence of another villain (after all, a boomerang can't work without someone to throw it).

Here we get both, with the evil Jonas Harrow, last seen in issue #114, back to repeat his endeavours to create a super-lackey. This time he does it with the Kangaroo, surely one of the least worthy villains Lee, Romita and Mooney ever concocted. The story makes no secret of the uselessness of the character, with Spider-Man ridiculing him on their reacquaintance; and so Conway does what he always does with characters he sees no use for.

He kills him.

It has to be said that Harrow's plans make no great sense. He's a scientist and yet sends his lackey on a mission into the heart of a nuclear inferno, a mission guaranteed to achieve nothing but the Australian's death. It's also hard to believe that just standing behind an open lead door in a room being flooded with deadly radiation would save Spidey from sharing the Kangaroo's fate. Oh well, the simple truth is the strip needs Web-Head and it doesn't need bouncing boy, so the Antipodean antagonist dies and Spidey lives.

Conway's third love in the strip is of course injecting humour into the trials and tribulations of our hero and we start to see the full emergence of that with Spidey's deal to build a car. Some people view this particular strand with horror. Some with affection. It's going to be interesting to see how I view it on my planned re-reading.

An appealingly clad MJ finally dumps Harry. Harry's turning evil. This is more like it.

J Jonah Jameson keeps his dying son in a free hospital? I'd have thought better of even that old skinflint.

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