Issue(s): Spider-Man #38, Spider-Man #39, Spider-Man #40
Art is by Klaus Janson. This could be a coincidence, but i feel like Janson, who i normally like, is doing a bad Sal Buscema impression (Buscema being the artist on Spectacular).
And the rest of the time it just looks messy.
The story starts with Electro - who has been seen doing normal super-villain stuff in other books pretty recently - working at a carnival, allowing himself to be electric chair-ed and forced to stick light bulbs in his mouth. He likes the cheers from the crowds, but sours when the carnival owner turns him into a joke.
The idea is that Electro craves approval, because his mom never gave it to him. I'll admit that Electro is not the most developed character, but i've never gotten this kind of impression of him. To the degree that i have an idea of Electro's character, he's cocky and genuinely enjoys being a super-villain. He's not a sobby, whiny mama's boy. He's certainly not going to meekly walk away when he can't get a clerk's attention.
Or apologize to a random guy when he blows his top.
Then again, i don't even feel like DeMatteis has Peter Parker right in this story.
A second thread in this story is about a low level crook who Spidey has caught multiple times over the years, and Spidey never remembers him. And at this point the crook is angry about that.
He's the guy in the first scan, and also the guy that Electro apologizes to. And there's a woman, Sarah, whose father was a friend of J. Jonah Jameson's before he passed away. JJ is working with Sarah, providing publicity for a hotel that she's unveiling. Sarah has a semi-romantic interest in Peter, which flusters Peter, but Peter is also annoyed that JJ keeps treating him like a little kid, hence the "I am not a nerd" nonsense above. The crook winds up rescuing Sarah during Electro's attack and they get married. JJ apologizes to Peter, saying that he wanted to impress his old friend's daughter. Whatever. Once again it feels like characters have been shoehorned into roles for a story that DeMatteis was determined to tell, and i'm just going "who are these characters?" the whole time i'm reading it.
Electro's big attention-getting plan has him trying to suck up too much electricity, and he has to beg Spider-Man for help.
Spidey gives him an embarrassing pep talk.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAunt May, Charlie Buchanan, Electro, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Spider-Man
Wow. That is... That is just terrible.
Thanks for reading this stuff so I don't have to.
Posted by: Matt | February 13, 2017 5:14 PM
This was one of the earliest Spidey comics I read, and I remember quite liking it. But that is probably because I had little to compare it with. If you've never read any other J.M. DeMatteis "villain deconstruction" story before, or any Kurt Busiek "focus on a civilian interacting with Spidey" story, this is almost mind-blowingly novel. Now that I'm more well read though... yeah, a bit of a mess, this issue.
I still like this motivation of Electro though, just... not for Electro. I also see him more as someone entirely comfortable as a hired thug. If I were to do a story delving into his personality, it would be about him realizing he's actually ridiculously overpowered for the jobs he's doing, attempting to become a more high stakes super villain, only to end up realizing it's just not for him, and that he's happiest in a mercenary/henchman role.
Still, there must be plenty of other fairly blank super villains lying around you could use for the sad-sack role in a story like this.
Posted by: Berend | February 13, 2017 5:47 PM
Rather irritatingly, the first two flashback panels of "Charlie" the crook in issue #38 seem to be lifted from page 2 of Amazing Spider-Man #3, so apparently the guy in the cap in that story is Charlie from this story.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | February 13, 2017 6:18 PM
Parker's monologue/dialogue in these scans makes me want to take a tone.
As for mother issues, we'll also see them inserted into Dr. Octopus' backstory later in the '90s...
Posted by: Mortificator | February 13, 2017 9:23 PM
Agreed with Berend. This is a great story, just not for Electro.
And I do like the bits with Charlie the crook.
Posted by: Thanos6 | February 13, 2017 10:09 PM
@Omar, thanks. I've added a scan and a reference and a character tag for Charlie.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 14, 2017 11:21 AM
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