Friday, 12 March 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #33. Dr Octopus and the protracted straining

Amazing Spider-Man #33, Spidey trapped under machinery as he struggles to break free, Steve Ditko cover(Cover from February 1966.)

"The Final Chapter!"

Scripted by Stan Lee.
Plotted, drawn and inked by Steve Ditko.
Lettered by Artie Simek.

If a certain Dutch duo were right and there really are no limits then, this tale sets out to prove it, as we get to see Spider-Man pushed to what should be his limits and beyond as he takes a full five pages to get a gigantic lump of machinery off him then gets half drowned and then has to take on all of Dr Octopus' men single-handed.

Granted, five pages doesn't sound a lot by the standards of normal story-telling but, when all's said and done, it's a quarter of the length of this tale, all devoted to Spider-Man lying around battling with gravity and his own inner doubts and demons. Steve Ditko and Stan Lee add a whole new dimension to comic book story-telling with this scene, and the sequence's legendary status is clearly deserved; "Anyone can win a fight -- when the odds are easy!" Opines our hero. "It's when the going's tough -- when there seems to be no chance -- That's when -- it counts!" Just dig those double dashes. You can practically feel the weight with him as he strains and struggles to lift it.

This scene, plus the battle with Octopus' men, shows us the sheer strength of Spider-man's will. There's really no way he should come out on top after all this but still he does. In that sense, it can be seen as a continuation of his first battle with the Scorpion where, no matter the level of physical punishment he has to endure, he just keeps on going.

Meanwhile, of Dr Octopus there's no sign but, somehow I get the feeling he probably survived the flooding of his base and'll be back before we know it.

But even after all his trials and tribulations, Spider-Man still doesn't yet have his reward because, having liberated it from Octopus, our hero has to get the serum that'll save Aunt May to the hospital. Needless to say, he manages it with barely a second to spare and she's saved.

This is great stuff, the second consecutive issue where the drama's ramped up to Eleven on the dial.

But it's not all triumph for our hero. Having dealt with his various crises, he finds himself having to do all he can to drive Betty Brant away, having finally realised there can be future for him and her as long as he puts his life in danger every day of the week. The big question is, now that Steve Ditko and Stan Lee have got the strip well and truly back on the right track, can they keep it there? Well, according to the last panel, next month we get the return of Kraven.

Somehow, I fear the camp factor may be about to boom.

1 comment:

The Missing Man said...

I just read this issue not too long ago and the pages you post here are about the most heroic I've ever read. You really need the build up in issues 31 and 32 to set the stage and to understand how anguished Peter is over being the cause of his Aunt's illness. The only problem is that Spider-Man lifting a hunk of metal over his head that weighs as much as a locomotive is really hard to top.


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