Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Giant-Size Spider-Man #5. Man-Thing and the Lizard

(Cover from July 1975.)

"Beware The Path Of The Monster!"

Written by Gerry Conway.
Drawn by Ross Andru.
Inked by Mike Esposito/Dave Hunt (Hunt uncredited).
Letters by Arty Simek.
Colours by Petra Goldberg.

Curt Connors really is a wally. Leaving aside the fact that, in this tale, he and writer Gerry Conway both seem to have forgotten that his surname's spelt "Connors" and not "Conners", he's merrily experimenting with a gas that could turn him into the Lizard, when, surprise surprise, he knocks over its container and promptly grows an arm, a tail and more scales than a tank-full of goldfish.

Still, it's an ill wind, and at least it gives him a chance to make another bid for taking over the world.

As part of that plan, he decides to use his control of swamp creatures to control the Man-Thing.

Sadly for him, Manny's not as easily controllable as he expected and the rapacious reptile and the muck monster end up fighting, as Spider-Man does battle with alligators and snakes, before it's all sorted out by a failed businessman who does the usual necessaries with Dr Connors' antidote.

The failed businessman, gone down to the swamp to kill himself, actually feels like the least Conway part of the tale and seems to be an attempt by him to import a bit of the feel of the Man-Thing's own comic, with someone blundering into the swamp in need of salvation and finding it through an encounter with the monster and other strange beings. The truth is the move doesn't really work because, for it to do so, the story would've needed to centre around him and and his problems and back-story but, this being a Spider-Man tale, he's too much on the sidelines for that to happen, and so his subplot feels like a bolted-on extra rather than a central plank of the tale.

Interesting that, unlike the other Giant-Size Spider-Mans, this tale ties in with the continuity of the monthly titles, with Peter Parker spending time with the newly resurrected Gwen Stacy. I assume the powers-that-be felt the return of Gwen Stacy from the dead was simply too big a story to be ignored.

And that's it. I've finished again. As far as I can make out, that's every annual and special published in the appropriate time-period reviewed. As far as I can make out, the only things left are the two 1960s Spectacular Spider-Mans. As I don't have a copy of either of them and they aren't in the Essential Spider-Mans and I refuse to read comics off a screen, it looks like I'm going to have to wait till I can get my hands on copies of them before I can offer my long-awaited (by me) opinions. Given my usual levels of poverty, this could take some time but at least it gives me something to look forward to.


cerebus660 said...

Finished? Again? Say it ain't so!

Any chance of reviewing Marvel Team-Up?

The Cryptic Critic said...

We'll see. At the moment the thought doesn't grab me but who knows? Maybe a few weeks down the line, when my batteries are again recharged. Then again, I might launch another blog about something else. Then again, I might not. As you can see, I'm so decisive.


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