Monday, 11 January 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #158. Dr Octopus and Hammerhead

Amazing Spider-Man #158, Dr Octopus attacks Spidey as Hammerhead threatens Aunt May
(Cover from July 1976.)

"Hammerhead Is Out!"

Words by Len Wein.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Mike Esposito.
Lettering by John Costanza.
Colours by Glynis Wein.

Curiosity didn't kill the cat and falling from a great height didn't kill Spider-Man. Although, the method our hero uses to save himself at the start of this tale, whipping up a hang glider from webbing, is probably the least practical method of self-rescue he could've conceived. Still, it got him where he needed to be; in a rubbish skip.

But if Spider-Man's means of salvation is unlikely, it's an odd issue all round. Nothing much happens for the first half of it. Peter Parker goes home and repairs his costume. Peter Parker has a short chat with Glory Grant. Peter Parker has a short chat with Mary Jane Watson. Peter Parker has a short chat with Joe Robertson.

Then, suddenly, halfway through, it's all go go go, as he tracks down Dr Octopus and fights him again for no noticeable reason before it occurs to him that he should be helping Octopus to deal with Hammerhead.

And therein lie a myriad questions. It seems Hammerhead wanted Octopus to set up his ghost-busting machine.


Because he knew it'd restore him to, "life." Turns out that was Hammerhead's plan all along.

But why was it his plan? Hammerhead's no scientist. How did he know that's what was needed to sort him out? And why did he spend weeks pursuing Dr Octopus, as part of a scheme that might never reach fruition, instead of bringing in another scientist to do the deed for him straight away?

Ah, the vagaries of the criminal mind.

And the vagaries of Aunt May's mind. Even after seeing Dr Octopus tie up two security guards, she still thinks he's a sweet old man. You do wonder if she was doing some sort of drugs in those days because, whatever she was seeing, it sure wasn't what anyone else was.

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