Amazing Spider-Man #28, Annual #2 (72)

28:  I liked this issue for a lot of reasons, but one primary one is it’s such a marker.  Pete graduated from High School.  Of the 750 or so Amazing Spider-Man comics, he was in high school for only 28.  Yet people seem to want to go back to those days over and over again – but this was just the start.  There were good comics here, some great.  The start of stories that have lasted for over 50 years.  It’s just such a tiny part of the history of Spider-Man.

Anyway, Molten Man (Raxton… I think that was the only name given) was with Smythe, had some experimental stuff poured on him, turned “molten” and immediately decided on a life of crime.  Liz Allan breaks up with Pete and isn’t seen for 10 years.  Pete gets a scholarship to Empire State University in Science.  Next up, Annual #2 and Pete is an adult!

Annual:  20 page story with a team-up with Dr. Strange, then a reprint of #1 and #1.  The Doctor Strange story was ok – a bad guy (Xanthu) stole two parts of a powerful wand and was stopped by the combined might…  Strange wiped the guys mind and made him good at the end – that probably violated his civil rights.

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Amazing Spider-Man #26, #27 (70)

26:  One of the best Spidey stories so far.  Foswell, Crime-Master, Green Goblin are all somehow involved in uniting the underworld while Spidey is just trying to find a suit after losing two last issue.  In the end, Spider-Man is unconscious in the Goblin’s hands as the Crime-Master proclaims that *he* is the new boss.  Betty is mad at Peter because he helped Jameson get Spider-Man and Liz is mad at Peter because he fought Flash.  Flash (for one panel) was a good guy and went to the principal to tell him that the fight wasn’t all Peter’s fault.  Great issue.

27:  The conclusion of my favorite arc so far.  The Crime-Master – Lucky Lewis.  Foswell – Patch.  Green Goblin – STILL UNKNOWN.  Good guys win, bad guys lose, great fighting, Spidey is kind of a hero for a minute (but doesn’t have a costume again…), Pete has a night off and takes Aunt May to the movies.  What a good little two part story.

Amazing Spider-Man #24

24:  After finding out that my copies of 22 and 23 are missing, I read 24 and found out it had a ton of loose pages and was missing the letters column.  That’s a bummer.  Especially considering it was another Mysterio adventure, and they’re usually not very good.  Mysterio played a psychologist (after all, he’s hated Spider-Man for YEARS) that convinced Spidey he was going nuts.  Jameson inadvertently saves the day (Flash helped a little) and Pete gets to spend more time with Liz Allen.

25:  First Spencer Smythe!  First Mary Jane (face covered)!  First Spider-Slayer!  Spider-Slayer is defeated by Pete’s science knowledge, JJJ is humiliated, Betty and Liz still hate each other and now hate Mary Jane more.  Aunt May finds a backup Spidey suit and is worried Pete is pretending to be Spider-Man, because of course he’s not Spider-Man.  This was a fun issue because of Jameson’s face on the Spider-Slayer.

(edited to correctly call the first Smythe “Spencer”, not “Allistaire”)

Amazing Spider-Man #23, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #25

Amazing 23:  Frederick Foswell is out of jail and back reporting for the bugle.  He has a story that puts Lucky Lobo and his whole gang away.  Lobo was conned by the Goblin who wanted Lobo’s gang for himself, but was foiled when they all were arrested.  Pete has a feeling bad things are going to happen (and is worried that Betty got a letter from Ned and didn’t bring it up to him).

Untold 25:  Spidey visits ESU.  Of course the Green Goblin and Crime Master are there.  Fighting happens, everyone gets away, Spidey gets blamed by JJJ.  It was a fine 25 issue run.

Now on to a string of all Amazing Spider-Man with few interruptions until we get to Marvel Team-Up.

Amazing Spider-Man #22, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #24 (65)

Amazing 22:  Old school goofy.  Princess Python.  Is the Circus of Evil or whatever they’re called a stupid stupid villain?  Yep.  Are they better without the Ringmaster?  Well, maybe?  Does them firing the Ringmaster and being led by a unicycling clown robbing JJJ’s art gallery make it all better?  Sadly, no.  But Betty and Pete are back going strong (now that Ned is overseas), but this was pretty mediocre.

Untold 24:  Batwing is on the loose back in NY, but mom  accepting him finally cures him.  Happy ending.  In the other story, Flash and Liz track down the Spidey impersonator and (no surprise) it’s Jason, who crumbles and still blames himself for Sally’s death.  Kind of a happy ending, one last issue (featuring the Green Goblin) for a Jason and Tiny resolution.

Amazing Spider-Man #21, Untold Tales of Spider-Man 1996

Amazing 21:  Beetle.  Torch.  Doris.  Spidey and Torch kinda fight again, which has been old since forever.  Another fun issue, I kind of like this beetle.

Untold Annual ’96:  To get back at the Torch, Spider-Man asks Susan Storm on a date.  To get revenge, Johnny tells Namor that Susan’s been kidnapped.  Fighting ensues.  It’s a cute issue.  More bad guy pages in the back.

Untold Tales of Spider-Man #23, Amazing Spider-Man Annual ’97

Untold 23:  I like these comics that are part of a larger arc that are a complete story all in one.  The Crime Master kidnaps a brilliant doctor/inventor and uses his invention to rob banks while keeping the doctor’s daughter hostage.  Spider-Man saves the day, Betty’s mom gets moved upstate to get top treatment, and someone still is running around pretending to be Spider-Man using Flash’s stolen suit.

Annual ’97:  Sundown is a plant guy that gets plant like light absorption powers and stops beating up every superhero in NY when the neighbor girl tries to talk to him and he hurts her.  The villain pages in the back were kind of cool to remember a little better the bad guys that had appeared in this comic.