“The Man Called Electro!”
Amazing Spider-Man #9
Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Steve Ditko
Inks by Steve Ditko
A highly significant, influential and most of all, well-told story this month as Peter Parker finds himself struggling against the tides of his double life. As if being a superhero isn’t taxing enough (hey, ask that Human Torch chump why don’t you?), imagine having to balance it out with the pressures of high-school, unrequited love, sick relatives, hospital bills, ademanding boss and your kick-ass costume getting wet. Well, that’s the life of Spider-Man, and while it had been well conceived during the previous eight issues, it is right here that much of the traditional Spider-Man staples come sharply into focus.
Kicking off with the crisis of Aunt May needing emergency surgery (for what we are never explicitly told) that requires a specialist fee of $1,000, Peter’s day is just about to get worse as a supervillain with a thirst for robbery (oh, talk about originality) and a certain spark for frying arachnids is on the loose. Thankfully however, it gives Parker the perfect opportunity to raise the hospital fees by snapping photos (real and faked—which causes poor Peter even more personal grief) and selling them off to Jonah Jameson, who as always goes out of his way to make both his and Spider-Man’s life a living hell.
And all of this more or less occurs during the opening act of the comic. The rest, which dives in and out of action seamlessly whilst developing characters and drama to a standard just about unseen thus far in a comic book from Marvel, is just as riveting and stuffed full of twists and turns that read like a good book. Sure, there are problems (most of which stem from the over-the-top and motiveless reasoning of this month’s villain, Electro) but when put in amongst the wonderful writing and art on display everywhere else, such moments are forgiveable. It’s easy to see here why this month’s Fantastic Four and the series in general is beginning to wane in quality; all the attention is being directed here—and while I wish that we could have both, it seems that Amazing Spider-Man has the ground more-so than Fantastic Four to be just that little bit more hard-hitting; and this issue just drives that point home.
MY SCORE: 8.0 (out of 10)