The Transparent Fox:
Amazing Spider-Man annual #10
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #10
I call BS. He's in a seedy warehouse and Stillwell is clearly a shady character (in fact, he's already been working on a fly-based super-power procedure and is happy to take Jonah's money to cover the work he's already done). I think at best JJ is deluding himself; more likely he's just covering for the possibility that he gets caught.
While JJ's in negotiations with Stillwell, Spider-Man is helping rescue a group of hostages from some criminals.
There's a page and a half of Spider-Man approaching the hostage takers by tight-roping across a web-line that feels a lot like padding to me. Take those pages out and it doesn't change the story in the slightest, except the pacing improves.
One of the criminals escapes, and he stumbles upon Stillwell's lab and forces him to use the procedure on him.
The Fly's powers follow the same logic as Spider-man's with regards to strength and speed. He's also got flight, of course, and two weirder powers: the ability to see in all directions like a fly, and the ability to create a sonic blast with his wings. In later appearances, the sonic blast will look like a laser beam shooting out of his butt, but it's not too bad in this issue.
After getting his powers, the Fly kills Stillwell.
The fact that Stillwell was already working on this project before JJ came to him actually makes sense. Logically, you wouldn't give someone fly powers to fight a guy with spider powers.
That said, Spider-Man doesn't have too much of a problem with the guy.
At one point, Spider-Man whips out the fact that he knows that the Fly killed Stillwell. A footnote challenges readers to explain how Spidey knew that, since he wasn't there at the time, is never shown investigating the crime scene, and as far as i can tell didn't even know that Stillwell existed. As you can see, i am not up to the challenge.
A thoroughly average issue. Fly is potentially a decent villain. I like his costume. But he doesn't really rise to prominence.
Harlan Stillwell's legacy goes beyond the Fly. His equipment will also posthumously be used by the Kingpin to give the Black Cat and the Answer powers as well.
A blurb at the bottom of the last page announces the commencement of a second Spider-Man title: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. "Peter Parker" is in much bigger letters than the rest of it; it really was intended to be the title's name. But for sales purposes they'll have to make the "Spider-Man" more prominent on the covers, and much later they'll drop the "Peter Parker" part altogether. That leaves me with the need to reference the full lengthy title in all my entries and links, to ensure searchability.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place between ASM #159-160.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
FOOM#13 announced Wein as the sole writer.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 4, 2013 7:00 PM
This issue marked my final store bought copy of the Amazing Spider-man series. I didn't like where the art, dialogue, and stories were going since the return of the Green Goblin. Was never a big Ross Andru fan and I really missed Romita since issue #132. I had a string of all the Spider-man comics from #39 to this above one, and it was time for me to start weeding out the bad ones.
Posted by: Mike | July 6, 2014 2:09 AM
FNORD - challenge accepted. In regards to how Spider-Man knew about the fly killing Stillwell, it's obvious that J.J.J. told him to get Spider-Man to come there and battle The Fly to get pictures for the Daily Bugle. J.J. didn't have to be sure, just really have a feeling about it.
Posted by: clyde | February 12, 2015 9:39 PM
That does make sense, Clyde.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 13, 2015 8:10 AM
Mike's comment shows the interesting range in ages among the people who come here. I think of myself as an older reader, but at this point I was still a little kid and the actual comics I had from this era I either bought later as back issues or read my older brothers (6 and 9 years older) old tattered copies. And I'm certain there are commenters who are a lot younger. The nice diversity of ages provides some interesting differing viewpoints.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 15, 2015 1:37 PM
As far as I know, the "challenge" was never actually addressed in the comics, despite promises of No-Prizes.
The Fly does have a nice design, but he doesn't add much to Spidey's rogues' gallery at this point. I'm not sure we needed Bill Mantlo and Gil Kane to retell Amazing Spider-Man #20.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 7, 2015 6:16 AM
I think JJJ gets too much flak for supposedly being involved with the creation of the Fly. At this point, he had done nothing more than just talk to Harlan. Harlan had already done much of the project without JJJ's help. And neither JJJ nor Harlan had vetted Rick Deacon; he became the Fly through coercion. It makes me wonder if JJJ hired another person to be a Fly, if that person really could have been a hero.
Posted by: mikrolik | August 10, 2016 11:22 AM
You'll notice that the villain introduced as the Human Fly suddenly became just the Fly after Marvel published its short-lived book about the real (?) Human Fly.
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | October 15, 2016 5:40 PM
This issue will likely figure into any eventual revelations that Joe Robertson knew of Peter's dual identity.
The scene where Fly blackmails the Bugle has some very interesting interactions among Fly, Peter and Robertson, and can be read as Robertson reminding Peter to hide his identity (as he did in Peter Parker #90 eight years later) and inviting him to consider and speak his mind on the obvious conflict of interest that comes with being blackmailed to rescue his own difamator.
An even more interesting reading is that Peter's authoritative statement that they should worry about Jameson and not Spider-Man hinted or confirmed Peter's dual identity to Robertson.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 29, 2016 9:20 PM
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