The Transparent Fox:
Amazing Spider-Man #157-159
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #157, Amazing Spider-Man #158, Amazing Spider-Man #159
Harry Osborn and Liz Allan are getting close after Harry tried to protect Liz from Mirage last issue.
Meanwhile, Aunt May gives Doctor Octopus back his old costume, which she's been holding onto for him.
When Peter shows up at Aunt May's place, she is feeding Otto cookies.
He also bums some of Peter's KFC.
Doc Ock explains that he survived the explosion at his and May's near-wedding, but he's been haunted by Hammerhead's atomic ghost ever since. Then the ghost shows up...
...and Doctor Octopus flees, taking a fainted Aunt May with him. Peter quickly changes into Spider-Man and follows, giving Doc Ock a lame explanation about how he knew to show up. Doc Ock loses Spidey for a while, which gives Peter time to hang out with Glory Grant and MJ and stop by the Bugle, and then he catches up with the doctor again. Hammerhead then tricks Doc Ock into turning him back into a real person.
Hammerhead grabs Aunt May, and Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man team up to save her. Then Doc Ock flees when the police show up.
Regarding the Spider-Moblie, we later see someone repairing it. Next issue it'll turn out to be the Tinkerer, and this is the first appearance of his assistant, Toy.
Doctor Octopus was once a real threat - the one guy that Spider-Man couldn't beat. In recent issues he's been a complete joke, and it's a shame. In general, these issues are really campy.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Pushing this back in publication time to allow ASM #163-164 to sync up with Marvel Team-Up #52.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #134, Marvel Tales #135, Marvel Tales #136
Inbound References (3): showAunt May, Doctor Octopus, Flash Thompson, Glory Grant, Hammerhead, Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Kingpin, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man, Tinkerer, Toy
ASM #159 states that Hammerhead was "blown out of phase" by the nuclear explosion, but otherwise there's no explanation why he should come back as a ghost at all.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 11, 2011 5:58 AM
In FOOM#13, Marv Wolfman states one of the problems he has with superhero comics by using this story as an example, saying that Spider-Man started pounding on the super-villains even though "...so far as I can tell, no one's committed any crime."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 4, 2013 6:41 PM
Something about seeing Doctor Octopus eating KFC just makes me laugh!
Posted by: Gary Himes | July 22, 2014 1:35 PM
It seems being homeless ended up helping Ock quite a bit, guy really slimmed down!
Posted by: david banes | September 20, 2014 8:20 PM
@Mark Drummond: Well, I can't speak for Hammerhead's wanted status at the time, but surely Octopus has a ton of charges he needs to face, even if he's presently committing a crime. Escape from custody being among the LEAST serious.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 3, 2015 7:13 AM
The title of the second part was also used on the cover of #130. It's a play on the name of a 1972 movie, HAMMERSMITH IS OUT.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | February 13, 2016 6:33 PM
Apparently, Hammerhead has a much greater understanding of how nuclear explosions/reactions affect the human body than Dr. Octopus does. I would think the ex-nuclear scientist would be above the guy who trained for his career by watching 1930's gangster movies, but I guess not.
Posted by: mikrolik | September 25, 2016 8:10 PM
In the fight Spiderman punch Hammerhead in the head. Seriously.
Posted by: JTI88 | February 28, 2017 12:00 PM
This was my very first comic or should I say my very first Marvel Comic Amazing Spider Man #158. I first saw Spider Man on black/white telly and never knew what colour his costume was and at the newstand in the town I got my very first glance of Spider Man in colour! Is was Amazing Spider Man #158 which was the 2nd of a 3-part storyline. The rest as the say goes is sheer history!
Posted by: Comicology | March 17, 2017 5:27 PM
After having read Spidey #131 in real time, I never thought Doc Ock would appear again, his death seemed definite me at the time. And lo and behold, Len Wein comes up with a plausible explanation as to how he survived. In this day, where if a character was undoubtably dead, and they are brought back, with no more than a blurb saying "oh, I got better", that's lazy writing to me. Len Wein is to be credited with bringing back a classic character, and with an explanation this is pretty plausible.
Posted by: GreggM | March 18, 2017 4:50 AM
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