Monday, August 18, 2014

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #230

"TO FIGHT THE UNBEATABLE FOE!"
Writer: Roger Stern | Artists: John Romita, Jr. & Jim Mooney
Letterer: Joe Rosen | Colorist: Glynis Wein | Editor: Tom DeFalco
Dream Analyst: Jim Shooter

The Plot: After leaving Madame Web to the paramedics, Spider-Man continues to battle Juggernaut across the city, even after running out of web fluid. He tosses girders and wrecking balls at his foe, drops a building on him, and even rams him with a gasoline truck, but every tactic fails. Juggernaut is finally subdued when Spider-Man covers the eye holes on his helmet and he walks into a deep bed of wet cement.

The wall-crawler realizes that his camera was accidentally turned on during the fight and races to the Daily Bugle, where he sells the photos to Joe Robertson, then he heads to the hospital to check on Madame Web.

Meanwhile, Black Tom Cassidy anxiously watches the Juggernaut's new tomb, praying for his friend to emerge unscathed.

The Sub-Plots: This issue introduces Lance Bannon's girlfriend, Amy Powell, to the series during a brief scene at the Daily Bugle.

Later, the rivalry between Lance and Peter is revisited as Lance returns from the Juggernaut fight with no photos to find that Peter has snagged exclusive pics for the newspaper.

In the hospital at issue's end, Madame Web is seen to be suffering from amnesia following Juggernaut's kidnapping attempt, and she no longer remembers who Peter Parker is. Peter is distraught over the amnesia but also slightly relieved that his identity is a secret once more.
Continuity Notes: The first page succinctly recaps last issue's events. One single footnote later in the story also references the previous installment as Juggernaut recalls knocking Spider-Man off his back by walking through a building.

Betty Leeds is seen working as Robbie's secretary already, which seems odd chronologically since she just walked into the Bugle and was offered the job that very morning (last issue).

Uncle Rog Speaks: "[In comic book writing,] there's what I like to call the Explosion Factor. With motion pictures or television, if you want a really awe-inspiring explosion, you need a good effects crew and a good bit of money. With radio, you need a good sound effects guy. With comics, you need a good artist." -- Back Into the Web: Roger Stern on Amazing Spider-Man, Newsarama.com, 2008

The Spider's Web: Correspondents praise the Foolkiller story from issue 225, and requests flood in from all corners for the returns of various classic Spider-foes such as the Scorpion, Lizard, Jackal, Tarantula, Morbius, Chameleon, Kraven, Electro, Doctor Octopus, and a new Goblin. One reader also compliments the animation in the SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS cartoon series.

Also On Sale This Month: The long-dead Robot Master returns (or does he?) in PETER PARKER #68. Spidey and the Gargoyle cross paths in MARVEL TEAM-UP #119.

My Thoughts: Well, it seems that something can stop the Juggernaut, after all: the pig-headed tenacity of the amazing Spider-Man, along with a bit of dumb luck. Stern spends almost another full issue on the stuff he did last time -- Juggernaut walking across the city (this time back the way he came) as Spider-Man pursues and attempts to stop him at every turn.
It's a potentially dangerous tactic which could read as repetitive. But instead the idea serves to give us a real insight into Peter Parker's character. He just... won't... give... UP. This is Stern's homage to possibly the best-regarded Spider-Man story of all time, the "Master Planner" adventure by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. It's Spider-Man at his best, showing that his spirit and drive will not bend even under impossible odds, and that he will find a way to triumph or die trying.
I could try to say more about this story, but that's really all there is to it. Most every writer to handle Spider-Man over the decades has attempted an homage to the "Master Planner", with varying degrees of success. For me, no such story has ever felt as viscerally satisfying as this one. It deserves it's reputation as a classic -- possibly, for me at least, the classic -- from Stern's run.

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