Amazing Spider-Man #28
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #28
Review/plot: This issue follows the older formula of the earliest Spider-Man stories. It's got less of a soap opera plot and more of Spidey just trying to figure out how to beat the bad guy. The majority of the issue is a fight between Spidey and the Molten Man.
Spidey finally gets his costume back, after losing it to Smythe's robot. He goes back to Smythe's lab and swaps it with the Spidey suit he bought at the costume store last issue. He also brings along a big jar full of spiders ("I thought they might help you with your research!") so that when Smythe's robot attacks him, he can say it's because of that.
While Peter is at the lab, we meet Smythe's lab assistant (Mark) Raxton. Smythe and Raxton get into a scuffle over some alloy that they co-created, and the alloy gets all over Raxton's skin, turning him into the Molten Man.
Here he is ripping off his pants legs, as Mark notes in the comments.
Later the Molten Man becomes a non-villainous supporting character, and it is pretty clear from this issue that he's suffering from temporary insanity due to his transformation. Spidey beats him by using "extra-thick webbing" since the regular stuff slips right off.
Cool cover, too. It depicts the part where Spidey fights the Molten Man in the dark.
At the end of this issue, Peter graduates. He and Flash each get a scholarship to Empire State University (Flash for athletics, Peter for achieving the highest scholastic average in the school's history). JJ gives the graduation speech. Liz reveals that's she's had a crush on Peter but that he seemed to have too many other girlfriends and gave the impression that she was a ditzy blond so she never really approached him. This closes a chapter in Spider-Man's history as the setting of the high school is gone.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I've had to push a number of Spider-Man issues back in publication time so that Gwen Stacy's first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #31 takes place between Fantastic Four #40 and #44 (see the Considerations section in Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #1 for more).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #166
Inbound References (5): show
There's a very weird panel that Ditko drew showing the Molten Man ripping off his lower pants legs for no apparent reason, and Stan has to cover for it by awkwardly stating that MM is doing it because Spider-Man is "in costume".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 2, 2011 4:33 PM
I understand nothing about this story, the scenes between the fight with Spider-Man and Molten Man, were very poorly there are no details about Mary Jane, young lyceans frequented Peter Parker.
Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2012 11:41 AM
at the end of the graduation while Aunt May is congratulating Peter over getting the science scholarship (shown in your last scan), Anna Watson refers to Mary Jane as her "daughter" instead of her "niece".
Posted by: min | March 29, 2013 9:08 AM
Ditko probably had the Molten Man ripping off his pant legs to get an advantage in the fight. His main power was supposed to be his slippery skin.
Posted by: JP | May 15, 2015 7:46 AM
Pete screws up and refers to "Liz Hilton" in this issue.
And yeah, that panel with the MM and his pants is weirdly scripted. I figure Ditko was having him tear them off because there was webbing stuck to them, and he was minimizing anything Spidey could hit.
But Stan got confused. The Marvel Method didn't always work.
Posted by: Bob | August 26, 2015 3:55 AM
This issue is notable for three reasons:
1. Peter Parker graduates High School.
Look at page 12 panel 1 and not only is it there, but it's used twice!
Posted by: Darren | November 9, 2015 9:17 PM
Molten Man is the last significant Spidey villain created during the Ditko/Lee run, which gave us the best rogues gallery for any Marvel hero. After this it's just returning villains plus forgettable characters like the Looter.
Posted by: Robert | February 19, 2016 6:59 PM
Rhino, Kingpin, Morbius, Black Cat, Punisher, Hopgoblin, Rose, Silver Sable, Venom- you think they're all forgettable?
Posted by: Tuomas | February 19, 2016 7:50 PM
Whereas Molten Man obviously became such an unforgettable villain that, after the Ditko run, he appeared in three Spider-Man stories in the 1970s, and in one in the 1980s.
Posted by: Tuomas | February 19, 2016 8:01 PM
Tuomas, I meant forgettable for the rest of this run not forever. Obviously many other great villains would come later.
Posted by: Robert | February 19, 2016 8:12 PM
I wonder how forgettable the Looter would be if 1) Stan had scripted the issue as if he were a threat rather than a joke (I suspect Stan was being a bit passive-aggressive here, upset about Ditko's personal interaction with him), and 2) Ditko had stayed longer with the book and possibly used him again (even the Molten Man comes back again before Ditko leaves). As written, the Looter is one of the more generic villains with typical powers and non-exotic look. His only real distinction is his own inventive prowess (dazzle gun and balloon pack).
It's amazing how many Ditko villains Stan Lee did not use in Amazing Spider-Man after Ditko left (although he used some in other books). The Molten Man and the Looter certainly weren't the only ones.
Posted by: Chris | February 19, 2016 8:49 PM
Joe...is one of the Ditko era villains that was improved by another writer much later and not one of a Bryne/Stern/Claremont/Simonson caliber either. That's just how plain Joe is.
Posted by: david banes | February 19, 2016 10:56 PM
Oh, sorry Robert, I misunderstood your comment.
Posted by: Tuomas | February 20, 2016 4:57 AM
Chris: Yeah, you're right. Sandman became a Fantastic Four villain as part of the Frightful Four; Scorpion appeared in a Lee-scripted Captain America issue (122), the Enforcers mostly disappeared, but Ox appeared in some Daredevil issues. Doc Ock, Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, Kraven, Chameleon, and Spencer Smythe all appeared again, but at the same time, non-Ditko villains like Rhino, Shocker and Kingpin started showing up.
Looter has become something of a novelty; occasionally he appears as a kitschy character every now and again, writer playing up the "part time nut" angle.
The Cat appeared to be a one-timer; heck he was caught by the cops, not Spidey. Stern brought him back as Prowler 2, but I don't think he did much, if anything, after that.
Stromm died, so Lee had a good excuse to not bring him back.
Joe Smith was no longer a villain at the end of his story.
Posted by: mikrolik | February 22, 2016 9:34 AM
In my reading order, I placed Web-Spinners#7-9 in a gap in this issue. It featured the Sandman as the violin.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 1, 2016 8:29 PM
Lol villain I meant to say.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 1, 2016 8:30 PM
Anybody else who started shipping parker/allen after this issue?
Posted by: Roy Mattson | May 10, 2017 12:32 PM
That would be hard, Roy, as Liz makes one appearance after this in Ditko's run and then not again until a hundred issues later!
If I remember correctly, Liz began to show interest in Peter after the boxing match with Flash in issue #8, and certainly after it was revealed he tried to "impersonate" Spider-Man in issue # 12 to save Betty from Doc Ock. After that, Liz was clearly a rival to Betty for Pete's attraction, but as Liz says in this issue, Peter never showed much interest.
Posted by: Chris | May 10, 2017 1:06 PM
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