Amazing Spider-Man #36 (80)

Nutjob Norton Fester finds a meteor and gets sprayed with Meteor Gas which gives him superpowers.  He’s afraid the gas will wear out, so he sets about stealing another meteor.  Spider-Man stops him.

Pete now has time to be charming at school and fails at it and still has no friends, but Gwen Stacy still digs him but hates him (especially because she sees him fleeing the Looter at the museum).

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Amazing Spider-Man # 34,35 (79)

34:  Kraven comes back, impersonates Spider-Man (harassing Jonah) to get Spider-Man to ‘hunt’ him, and then gets beat again by Spidey.

35:  Molten Man is released early because of his trauma and being a good inmate, immediate sets out to rob a jewelry store and is stopped by Spidey.  He seems to only have one name, Raxton.

If This Be My Destiny… Amazing Spider-Man #31,32,33 (77)

31:  The Master Planner’s minions are out and looking for nuclear parts.  He says he’s someone that has encountered Spidey before, but we don’t know who he is yet.  Aunt May is getting sicker and the docs don’t think she can last much longer.  Flash has new friends at college and they all think Pete is a square and not very friendly (except
Gwen, who is strangely attracted to him).

32:  Doc Connors is now in NY and Pete rushes to him to try to find a cure for Aunt May, poisoned by radioactivity in her blood (possibly from Pete).  He blows off Betty (because he loves her too much to put her through life worrying about him being Spider-Man) and is shocked when he finds out the Master Planner’s goons have stolen the Iso-36 that Doctor Connors was going to use to try to save May.  Spidey goes on a rampage and neds up finding out the Master Planner is Doc Ock!  Ock sets a trap and Pete is trapped under…  an underwater building I guess?… the Iso-36 out of reach and unable to get free.  Poor Aunt May, poor Pete.

What happens next?

33:  Obviously one of the classic Spider-Man comics of all time.  Pete throws off tons of metal to grab the Iso-36, fights off Doc Ock’s goons while hurt and exhausted, gets a hold of Foswell to get the story, gets the police to arrest everyone, gets pictures, gets the Iso-36 to Connors and the serum to the real doctors to save Aunt May, and gets paid by Jameson.

Amazing Spider-Man #30 (74)

The Cat Burglar robs Jonah, Jonah puts out a $1,000 reward.  Betty is slowly recovering (under Ned’s care) and Aunt May is hiding her new illness.  A weird and short encounter with Liz Allan trying to dodge Flash.  Ned proposes, Betty tells Pete she wants stability, he isn’t stable (SPOILER: He’s Spider-Man) and storms off,  Spidey stops the Cat Burglar but doesn’t get the reward.

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.

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”)