Amazing Spider-Man annual #18
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #18
The opening credit box states "for the first time in 12 years" and it took me a minute to realize they meant on Spider-Man specifically, since he had written She-Hulk #1 and the Silver Surfer one-shot more recently. The count also ignores his one page contribution to Amazing Spider-Man #200, but that's being nitpicky.
The script starts off a little rough, with Spider-Man sounding more like the Thing...
...but after that it reads pretty normally. Not like the bombastic over-the-top Stan Lee of the Silver Age. I was braced for something more corny, but it's actually pretty natural writing.
If you're worried about what happens to those guys in the helicopter that Spider-Man was chasing, he does manage to catch them. Literally.
It seems like quite a feat of strength for Spider-Man, even with the webs slowing its momentum. I'd say that was an example of power creep if it wasn't for the fact that Stan Lee didn't write it (i know, i know: he's just scripting).
The drama for this wedding hinges on the fact that Mac Gargan, aka the Scorpion, is being held at the same rest home as JJ's son, John Jameson, who apparently isn't doing so well mentally, and isn't happy about the wedding because he thinks Marla will come between him and his father.
But when JJ goes to tell his son about the wedding, Scorpion decides it's time to break out and gets some vengeance.
He starts by kidnapping John, and then he goes after Marla as well. Spidey is on hand when Scorpion shows up at Marla's; all of the police are busy guarding JJ, who they assume is the Scorpion's target.
Despite Spidey's involvement, the Scorpion does manage to capture Marla, and he tries to make JJ choose whether he should kill John or her. JJ refuses to choose, saying that he should kill him, instead. He also reveals that he's been making financial restitution for creating the Scorpion, including paying for the Scorpion's doctors and helping his victims as well.
But seeing his father and Marla supporting each other while against the Scorpion's attacks makes John realize that they really love each other, and it allows him to decide to accept his father's marriage, and seems to be a turning point for his mental state as well.
Spider-Man does manage to get back into the fight, and even though we're reminded a couple of times in this issue that the Scorpion is stronger than Spider-Man, Spidey does manage to win in the end.
And so, the wedding.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #259-260 and after Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #97. It's said that Ned Leeds has returned from his mysterious trip this issue, but he isn't actually shown.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): show
I think this is a great issue. The art is wonderful, and having Stan Lee script it is just awesome. I think Scorpion is made to be a really great threat (not just in power, but sheer malevolence) to Spider-Man, which is what he should be, but usually isn't. It also does a lot to make JJJ more sympathetic for trying to help Mac Gargan (whose life he destroyed by inadvertently making him criminally insane) as well as his victims. Since JJJ is usually just presented as a heel, it's does a lot to revive the character. Jameson should be a foil, not a villain.
And since it concerns the marriage of JJJ, it's also a fitting event for an annual. The early Marvel annuals almost always had a story that justified its larger size, but after the stories transitioned from the original creators to others, they consistently declined in quality and importance to the point I often wonder why even make it an annual at all.
Personally, I'd give this an A.
Posted by: Chris | August 18, 2013 4:34 PM
Unusual style for Stan Lee here - had he ever told a story in that "first-person narration box" modern style before?
Posted by: S | August 18, 2013 8:05 PM
Finally a wedding that had a "super villain attack" before it actually started.
Posted by: clyde | March 20, 2015 2:48 PM
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