Giant-Size Spider-Man #5
Issue(s): Giant-Size Spider-Man #5
But i guess everyone deals with stress in their own way.
To get away from it all, Peter convinces J. Jonah Jameson to send him on an assignment down in Florida to try to photograph the Man-Thing. JJ agrees, and Peter contacts his friend Doc Connors, who agrees to help him out while he's down there.
Peter does work up the nerve to go see Gwen and apologize for acting so poorly when she first resurfaced.
Meanwhile, almost immediately after getting off the phone with Peter, Connors has an accident that transforms him back into the Lizard.
I know he's supposed to be terrifying, but sometimes i find the Lizard to be just adorable. The Lizard brushes past his wife Martha and heads for the swamp.
Also in the swamp is a man who used to run a chemical company but lost it due to the recession. So he's contemplating suicide. Instead, the Man-Thing rescues him from a crocodile.
Spider-Man shows up in time to fight the Lizard at the Connors place, before he makes it into the swamp.
And during the fight is the absolute best thing that ever happened anywhere.
Having Spider-Man bite him on the tail (a spider bite!) is enough to disable the Lizard long enough for Spidey to web him up. But then, in the swamp, the chemist guy notices a trail of swamp animals following the Man-Thing (what in the holy hell is that thing in the air?).
The swamp creatures are being summoned by the trapped Lizard. It's unclear to me if the Man-Thing is also responding to that summons, or if he's just drawn by the strong emotions of the Lizard.
Spider-Man doesn't wait before attacking the Man-Thing, not that i blame him.
I'm not sure if they ever gave an official answer to that No Prize challenge (this is the last issue of the Giant-Size series, so there's no future lettercols to check). But i assume that the Man-Thing just absorbs random muck from the swamp, and sometimes that includes more solid bits?
The Lizard gets free and joins the fight, and his heavier emotions make him the top target for Man-Thing.
Meanwhile, the chemist stumbles into the fight zone.
When a random chemist just happens to wonder onto your lawn just when you need someone to whip up a cure to help your husband who has turned into a giant lizard man, you don't waste time calculating the odds of that happening. You just grab him and bring him to your husband's lab.
I like the idea that the chemist found out that Spider-Man is the one who created the antidote. It's nice to see Spidey get some science cred, and maybe the guy winds up thinking that Spider-Man's powers are all non-accidental science based things that he created. I don't know why, but the idea of him spreading around an incorrect origin of Spider-Man seems cool to me.
Anyway, the formula works, the Man-Thing gets bored and wanders off (as he does), and the chemist gets a new lease on life thanks to his success here.
Fun story. And the debut of Spider-Man's new power, the spider-bite!
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: See the note regarding this issue in the entry for Marvel Team-Up #34-35. I don't necessarily agree with the reasoning but i'll stick with that placement. What's more important is that this take place between Amazing Spider-Man #146-147 due to the Gwen Stacy clone. For the Man-Thing, this fits before the storyline that leads to the end of his series, between Man-Thing #15-16.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAunt May, Aunt Watson, Betty Brant, Gwen Stacy Clone, J. Jonah Jameson, Lizard, Man-Thing, Martha Connors, Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man
It seems to be a favorite thing with the Man-Thing to introduce him in a story with him fighting a croco...alligator. (I guess the guy is a chemist after all, not a biologist). How many gators has the Man-Thing fought on panel now?
Posted by: Erik Robbins | February 10, 2015 9:38 PM
That's supposed to be some species of lizard jumping off that branch.
Why wasn't Man-Thing oozy this time? Because Gerry Conway only did enough research to learn who created Howard "Dhuck" and no more than that.
The Lizard has definitely contracted Diminishing Threat Syndrome this time. Remember when Spider-Man actually used to worry about defeating him?
Some pages in this reproduced very badly in the Essential volume for some bizarre reason.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2015 9:38 PM
Oh, and "The Lurker In The Swamp" actually was a character in Gold Key's Dr. Spektor comic.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2015 9:40 PM
Gwen must not have been very knowledgeable on politics- Ford was Senate Minority Leader before he was Vice President.
Posted by: Michael | February 10, 2015 11:31 PM
@ Michael - Actually, Ford was the House Minority Leader, and unless they've been Speaker previously (like Pelosi now or Boehner before) it's not necessarily a political position that your everyday person could name.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 9, 2015 1:31 PM
It makes me crazy that this story isn't included in the Masterworks. The non-super character interactions are so wonderful - subtle and real - and a key part of the clone saga.
Posted by: Andrew | November 9, 2015 9:09 PM
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