Thursday, 10 June 2010

Amazing Spider-Man Annual/King-Size Special #3. The Avengers and the Hulk

(Cover from November 1966.)

"...To Become An Avenger!"

Written by Stan Lee.
Layouts by John Romita.
Pencils by Don Heck.
Inks by Mickey Demeo.
Lettering by Artie Simek.

Bearing in mind The Avengers was originally conceived as Marvel's answer to The Justice League of America - a home for Marvel's mightiest solo stars - the lack of Spider-Man must've always seemed anomalous. But wise were the ways of Stan Lee and, in Amazing Spider-Man King Size Special #3, we find out just why.

The truth is Spidey's too big a jerk ever to be in a team. The old Peter Parker magic, the ability to always do and say the wrong thing in any circumstance, soon kicks in and, almost as soon as he's entered the Avengers' Mansion, he's having a barney with them. This ability to fall out with other do-righters is of course normal for a Marvel hero but, somehow, Peter Parker's always been better at it than anyone else. The qualities that made him unpopular in high school threaten, here, to sour his relations with the Avengers before they've even begun.

Happily, the Avengers have more patience than Flash Thompson ever did and set him a challenge. If he wants to join their little gang, he has to bring them the Hulk. Trouble is that having, at least temporarily, defeated the behemoth, he doesn't have the heart to hand the brute over. And so, as yet another tale ends, Spider-Man is once more alone in the world.

It's a pleasing tale, the personalities of the Avengers are clearly delineated and it's surprising to see the normally hot-headed Hawkeye being an avid Spider-Fan. The Wasp, needless to say, being an irrational female, is opposed on principle to having a spider in the house. Artist Don Heck's in one of his more readable moods and, with John Romita producing the layouts and Mickey Demeo/Esposito doing the inking, the thing looks fine. In fact it looks more than fine. Apart from the Hulk looking slightly off, it looks just like you'd want a meeting between Spidey and the old-style Avengers to look.

Interesting that our hero's able to deck the Hulk with just one blow, thanks to a rule Stan the Man suddenly pulls from thin air, that, in the first few minutes after the transformation from Bruce Banner, the Hulk's not at full strength. Was this idea ever mentioned before? Was it ever mentioned again? Not that I can recall.


Marc said...

What I find funniest about this scenario is that Peter's personality prevents him from being an Avenger for even as long as Hulk was on the team...and Hulk is an insane, raging brute who can't even string together complete sentences most of the time.

Also, out of curiosity, why do the Avengers want Spidey to bring them the Hulk? That just sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hello, Marc. Welcome to the site.

Apparently, they want to help the Hulk. Unfortunately, Spidey's so full of himself that he swings off, raring to take on the Hulk, before they can tell him that. Meaning that, inevitably, his own personality defects lead to the failure of the whole thing. The boy really is his own worst enemy.


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