The Small Lebowski:
Amazing Spider-Man annual #15
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #15
In Code of Honor #3, we'll learn that Jeff Piper, the main character from that series, is one of the cops facing down the Punisher in that scene above.
It's got Doc Ock up to his usual generic super-villain tricks (trying to poison the Bugle's ink in order to ransom the city) but he's depicted so competently, so dangerously, that it works really well. The Punisher goes up against Dr. Octopus first and gets trounced, showing how powerful he is against non-powered foes.
Spidey, of course, manages much better.
There's also a great running gag as JJ keeps having to change the headlining story as the plot of the issue progresses (Brian Cronin at CBR says this is the first instance of the hilarious "Threat or Menace?" headline; weirdly, someone on Wikipedia has used my site as citation of this first).
Overall, a nice treat.
Here's the back-up feature that Alex mentions in the comments.
Quality Rating: B+
Historical Significance Rating: 2
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #223-224. The Punisher goes to jail in this issue, and he'll next appear in jail in Daredevil #181-182. It's pretty context free from Spider-Man's perspective, and due to the fact that my Daredevil issues are all bound up in a big trade, i have this issue placed before the trade, and then ASM #219, which takes place after DD #173, after the trade.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Spider-Man vs. Dr. Octopus TPB
Inbound References (2): showBen Urich, Doctor Octopus, Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson, Jeff Piper, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Punisher, Spider-Man
Also, this issue has the cool "Strength Chart" in the back, depicting where all of Marvel's heroes fit on a scale. It's broken into four or five groups, but the characters aren't ranked within their groups. And most of them have a smart-ass quip, comment or character note in their word balloon, so it's not just a technical thing. It's cool. Maybe you can throw up a scan?
Posted by: Alex | August 3, 2011 4:51 PM
Awesome. I have this issue reprinted in a trade, so i probably would have never noticed that cool strength chart feature if you hadn't pointed it out. Luckily, i've got the PDFs for scanning purposes. Pictures added.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 3, 2011 6:06 PM
The strength chart actually ticked off quite a few readers back then.
Bow Tie Guy in that Daily Bugle panel? DC's Jimmy Olsen.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 5:47 PM
Spider-Man is supposed to be in Colossus' range? The same Colossus that went a few rounds with Gladiator? That's odd.
Posted by: Chaim Shraga | June 13, 2012 9:29 AM
From the comments by the characters, it's apparent that their rankings is based on Spidey's perception of their strength level, and not all of the characters agree - especially in the mediumweight and super-mediumweight levels. Perhaps based on appearances in his book or crossovers?
Certainly a few years later in the Official Handbooks, this ranking would look very differently.
Posted by: Chris | June 13, 2012 11:46 AM
Denny doesn't have the most highly regarded Spider-Man run (and in fact he makes a lot of missteps), but this is an excellent story--well plotted, well scripted. I assume Miller must have had a hand in it somewhat because elements of it seem more suited to his interests. Anyway, the running gag of the headlines is not just funny, it's a wonderful clue too--we wonder where Ock is going to use the poison, only knowing a number, but if we've been reading the front page we know where we've seen that number before.
Anyway, the story also does a nice job of making Doc Ock seem reasonably badass. Spider-Man does take him down a bit too easily but he kicks Punisher's ass, which is what he should be doing.
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | December 6, 2013 4:50 PM
Interesting that Denny O'neil wasn't great at regular spidey issues delivered a great annual. While Roger Stern, a great regular writer, delivered some average to poor annuals on ASM.
This might be my favourite doc ock story. Favourite punisher one as well.
Posted by: kveto from prague | December 10, 2013 2:52 PM
This is definitely not the first instance of "threat or menace" headline. That headline (reversed) appears in ASM #140 describing the Grizzly.
Posted by: kveto | March 8, 2015 6:03 PM
Definitely by the time they did the Expanded Handbook, Colossus had moved way up - certainly stronger than several people in the line above him. As I recall, the original Handbooks didn't have class listings. But that was one of the best things about the second edition of MU - fantastic stuff.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 30, 2015 11:46 AM
A few of things that caught my attention: I would have ranked Iron Man as a Super-Medium weight, It's weird to see Silver Surfer on the same level as Spidey and I never knew Colossus was a teenager. I'm glad I saw that as the whole Kitty Pride Colossus thing weirded me out. Oh, yeah, the way Power Man talks is really cringey. It's like something out of a Blaxploitation film, urrggh!
Posted by: JSfan | June 12, 2015 9:36 AM
She-Hulk and Colossus are supposed to be the same group as Spider-Man? This is just wrong.
Anyway, that annual is indeed quite good. Back here, it was actually published as the very first issue for our local Spider-Man series.
Posted by: Piotr W | November 15, 2015 5:30 PM
Regarding Shulkie: it was 1981 and I suppose she hadn't been fully explored considering she was mostly appearing in her own Savage book at the time. (and going by placement, the only other appearance Jen had up to then aside from Savage She-Hulk was an issue of Marvel Team Up, thus this is easily pre-Stern, Byrne and the prominence and development that followed)
Posted by: Ataru320 | November 15, 2015 6:00 PM
I actually ran into "Threat or Menace" while watching an old episode of Garfield And Friends, "All About Odie." Garfield shows an 'educational' film from the government, "Doggie Tongue: Threat Or Menace?"
Posted by: Thanos6 | December 15, 2016 6:22 PM
Colossus was 18 or so in the early New X-Men, not that much older than Kitty, but originally she had a crush on him and not the reverse.
Posted by: OrangeDuke | December 31, 2017 8:11 PM
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