Amazing Spider-Man #167-168
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #167, Amazing Spider-Man #168
...so i'm not going to dwell on it again here. The developing relationship with Marla Madison makes it somewhat more interesting this time.
This time an additional new character is added to the mix. It's the Will O' The Wisp.
He's billed as "Marvel's most shocking new super-star!", and i always have felt like he's was a character that someone at Marvel thought highly of but he was never developed into anything (his second and third appearances are by Roger Stern and they already felt to me like Stern was just wrapping up loose ends rather than trying to work with the character). Or maybe the problem is just that he's a hard character to peg; he's working under duress for Jonas Harrow, but all Harrow has on him is a bomb in his head, so the Wisp is willing to commit crimes and even kill (Spider-Man) just to save his own life, which, by super-hero standards (i mean, i'd do it, but...), isn't quite heroic enough.
Or maybe it's just his awkward name. I know it's a real phenomenon from folklore, but it's weird as a name for a person.
The Wisp ultimately does the right thing and lets himself die rather than kill Spider-Man. Harrow's role goes unknown.
More depth on the character side, including Harry's hip new psychiatrist, Bart Hamilton...
...and Aunt May out protesting a landlord trying to break rent control.
Quit screwing with the free market, Aunt May! Peter thinks that Aunt May is stronger than he used to think, and he might even be able to share his secret ID with her. I've often thought that Aunt May's age might be depicted metaphorically from Peter's point of view; when he was very young she was drawn as very old, and by the J. Michael Straczynski run she's practically no longer eligible for social security.
And Peter and MJ now have a normal relationship now that they had their talk in the last arc. Very nice.
The other big news around J. Jonah Jameson is around some incriminating evidence that he has on Spider-Man. Spidey checks in with Joe Robertson (and Spider-Man is very familiar with "Robbie" here, possibly giving up his secret ID) and learns where it's kept...
...and then goes to Jonah's office to steal it. He finds that the evidence is photos of him disposing of his clone's body.
We see him doing something with the photos in his dark room, and then he returns the photos to JJ's desk.
Too bad about the goofy Spider-Slayer and the somewhat iffy Will O' The Wisp, because the character side of these issues are pretty good.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Index places Marvel Team-Up annual #1 and Marvel Team-Up #53-56 between Amazing Spider-Man #170-171, so i have pushed a number of 1977 ASMs back into 1976 to accommodate. Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #4-5 take place between the previous Amazing arc and this one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAunt May, Aunt Watson, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin (Bart Hamilton), Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Jonas Harrow, Liz Allan, Marla Madison Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man, Will O' The Wisp
Will OTW's name is too long as well as weird, and his design isn't cool either, apart from the haze effect, and even that will be badly rendered in the future. He's also too powerful, at least for the Spideyverse.
Launching new heroes from the pages of Spider-Man gets tried and tried again and never really works. In the '90 we get Cardiac and (does anyone remember?) Nightwatch, a character so lame I never even knew he had a series of his own back in the days when I was a completist.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | May 30, 2013 10:02 PM
Surprised there is no Historical Significance...then again its just Will 'O The Wisp and "that third Green Goblin" so its probably a 1.
Posted by: Ataru320 | March 17, 2015 8:40 PM
No, you're right. If i have a blank Historical rating it means i forgot to put it in. Both "Will" and Bart do have a degree of significance.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 17, 2015 10:10 PM
Hey fnord, been loving the heck out of your site for quite a while now and wanted to extend my gratitude for putting this together. It is great fun to read up on a particular year in order. I picked this issue to do my first post on because I spotted an amusing typo: "We see him doing something with the photos in his dark room, and then he returns the photos to JJ's death."
I assume it is JJ's desk, unless Peter was in a very dark place indeed ☺
Posted by: BeastCharming | April 11, 2015 3:29 AM
Now it can be revealed that JJ was killed and replaced with a Spider-Clone this issue. Thanks BeastCharming.
Also funny to see Walter mentioning not remembering Nightwatch here since his series was just recently retconned out of existence in the latest She-Hulk series.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 11, 2015 7:31 AM
Yeah was being silly about those two earlier.
And considering you found a way around the retconning of Secret Wars II (love the idea you gave that "making it like it didn't happen was the Illuminati's wish and thus the Beyonder still did what he did in '85-'86), I'm sure you probably can find a way for Nightwatch's series to still exist for your list, right?
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 11, 2015 7:56 AM
Yeah, i intend to cover it. Not to get off topic but i think there are some interactions with other characters that had to have happened in some way. We'll look at it more when we get there.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 11, 2015 9:05 AM
Something I just noticed: On the cover to #168, to the right of a neon sign "O", is a little billboard saying "Slave Driver Hama". Since I've never heard of Larry Hama having any involvement with Spider-Man at this point, did he have some kind of cover-editorship?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 16, 2016 5:13 PM
The scene with Robertson telling off Spider-man for coming to his home is what always struck me about this story. He had a good point.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | February 28, 2018 1:59 AM
I 100% agree. Robertson was always so mellow, even/especially compensating for JJJ's bad attitude. It makes sense that he'd have some pent-up anger. And the fact that it would take him a few minutes to realize he was angry also felt real to me. He likes Spider-Man and wants to help, but Spider-Man really was taking their friendship for granted.
Posted by: Andrew | February 28, 2018 6:29 AM
These last two comments have improved my understanding of the scene with Robbie and Spidey in the car, which made Robbie seem a bit bipolar to me when read out of context. Thanks guys!
Posted by: Holt | February 28, 2018 10:48 AM
Well imagine how you'd feel if someone you deal with in a work context, who has no reason to do so, turns up a) at your home and b) in your car. You'd probably be wee bit spooked and annoyed. Also, given that Spider Man has a lot of dangerous, powerful and unstable enemies, you aren't going to want them coming anywhere near your home or family and you aren't going to want them to think that they can get at Spider-Man by targeting you or your family either. So yes, the wall-crawling person was very out of line here and the "Bugs Bunny" routine Peter Parker adopts when he puts on the mask probably adds to the irritation. The bum note was Robertson calling him "web-head" - that's too jokey a nickname for an angry rebuke.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | February 28, 2018 4:59 PM
Robbie puts up with more out of both JJ and Spider-Bunny (haw!) than almost anyone I know would be capable of doing. Knowing the context a little better now, it's actually kind of cathartic to see him lose his temper for a change-- although now that I think about it, I have seen him blow up on JJ once or twice, likewise for very good reasons.
Posted by: Holt | February 28, 2018 6:10 PM
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