Amazing Spider-Man #25
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #25
Review/plot: Something's wrong with the art in this issue. Everyone has giant eyebrows and is grinning like a loon.
The story isn't so good, either. J. Jonah Jameson works as a non-super character in Peter/Spidey's life. He's at his worst when he's played out as an utterly irrational character, and it's especially stupid when he actually gets involved in trying to hunt down Spider-Man. Creating the Scorpion was bad enough, but in this issue he hunts down Spidey with a killer robot. Just stupid.
The robot is created by Spencer Smythe.
This issue is also the first sort-of appearance of Mary Jane Watson (although she was mentioned previously), and Peter's current love interests are shocked to learn that
Another sort-of appearance: Norman Osborn.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #163
Inbound References (4): show
"The story isn't so good"? Balderdash! Everybody gets something to do. It's established immediately that Spidey can't beat the robot physically. Flash is going to have it out with Petey for making time with his girl. Betty has gotten over her hatred for Spider-Man and even tries to save him. By the time the action really gets started, there's an exciting chase scene with Peter running down the street followed by Flash and his boys followed by the robot. There's incredible subtle characterization in some of the thought balloons such as Liz: "If I keep tagging along, maybe Flash will stop being so jealous of poor Petey" and Flash: "The more she defends him, the more I hate him. The soap opera plots are incredibly engaging as all the characters are basically making their own problems, just as Peter did for this issue when he convinced JJJ to go along with Smythe in the first place.
By the end, Betty and Liz have teamed up to check out the Parker residence (and see Mary Jane) while Flash is determined to wait outside until a police officer comes by and kicks him away for looking suspicious. And all the while that relentless robot is pursuing Spider-Man, with Jameson's iconic Ditko-leer.
I see your point about Jameson not coming off well when he actively works as a supervillain, but I think that shows more in hindsight, after umpteen thousand Spider-Man/JJJ stories. This was still at the dawn of the Marvel Age and "Spider-Man" was at the forefront of extended arcs and characters which developed over the course of an issue or over many issues. It's not hard to picture this being deliberate on the part of Steve and/or Stan to show JJJ destroying himself by his obsession with Spider-Man, because Spidey's obvious heroism makes JJJ's life seem (to himself) a failure.
To be fair, Smythe isn't a super villain at all here (he's actually kind of a cool character--a friendly, sensible dude who just really wants to capture Spider-Man), so while maybe Jameson is a little whacky here, it's not as bad as the Scorpion--he's playing with some gadget thing that Smythe gave him, and what better purpose, than to hunt down Spidey.
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