Web of Spider-Man #62
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #62
This opening sequence is showing the change in the public's attitude about Spider-Man thanks to Puma buying the Daily Bugle and changing its editorial direction on Spidey. The adulation from the crowd makes Spider-Man edgy, and he therefore ignores his spider-sense (second time after Spectacular Spider-Man #161) when it triggers, and thus misses the fact that the Molten Man is nearby (not that he was specifically causing any danger).
But Spider-Man is going to met the Molten Man anyway, because when he gets back to his apartment he finds that Liz Allan is upset because her step-brother is out of jail and has been calling asking for money. He's scheduled to show up soon. And one concern is that Liz's husband Harry is also on his way home, and Liz and Mary Jane are both worried that the fragile Harry will have a breakdown when he sees Molten Man. So Peter tells them that he'll wait in Liz and Harry's apartment and talk to Molten Man while Liz and MJ and MJ's cousin Kristy go out and distract Harry.
Before Molten Man shows up, an inspector from the Department of Building Safety shows up. Harry apparently never got permits when he renovated the building into apartments for him and Peter.
So Peter shoves her in a closet.
Then Molten Man shows up, and he and Spider-Man fight for a while.
But then, after the apartment gets trashed, we jump ahead to Peter and Molten Man coming out of the apartment together. It turns out the Molten Man wasn't trying to extort money from Liz; he's going straight and wanted a loan. Harry doesn't give him a loan, but offers a job, which Molten Man accepts.
So it's a happy ending, except that the Osborn's apartment is wrecked and therefore no one is going back there any time soon to let the inspector out of the closet.
Cute issue, and i like the occasional villain reformation. Molten Man was never A-list, so i don't feel like we're "losing" anything by having him reform (as opposed to say, Sandman, where i liked his reformation but at the same time love him as a villain). Plus between mind control and coercion Molten Man will still be a bad guy from time to time. The issue is actually a little sparse on the Molten Man's perspective, but he'll continue toappear in upcoming issues.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showEdna Gortch, Harry Osborn, Kristy Watson, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Molten Man, Normie Osborn, Spider-Man
Another nice little issue with a good focus on a villain. Its nice to see a villain go straight, and interesting to see how nobody, spidey and cops included, believed him.
Conway was at his best adding new dimensions to these old villains, like MM and the Grizzly.
Posted by: kveto | April 23, 2015 4:01 PM
This issue is one of the biggest examples of Conway not understanding Peter's Spider-Sense. Peter mistakenly thinks Raxton is trying to extort Liz, and then his Spider-Sense goes off when Raxton approaches Liz's apartment. That's not how it should work- Raxton's intentions are to ask Liz for a loan and then go straight. As long as Raxton's intentions are benign, then the Spider-Sense shouldn't go off. And yes, Peter got in a fight with the Mole Man but in this case, the fight was partly CAUSED by the Spider-Sense. If the Spider-Sense hadn't gone off, then Peter would have realized Raxton didn't intend to harm Liz and the fight probably wouldn't have happened.
Posted by: Michael | April 23, 2015 7:50 PM
We'll be seeing Edna Gortch a couple more times before Conway leaves, so she should be listed as a Character Appearing.
Posted by: Michael | April 23, 2015 8:29 PM
Added Edna -- but not the Mole Man. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | April 23, 2015 9:20 PM
@Michael - Isn't Peter's spider sense informed by who or what Peter recognizes as a threat? So if Peter thought Raxton was a threat, wouldn't his spider sense tingle? Obviously decades of writing by many different writers means inevitable inconsistencies but that's always how I thought it worked.
Posted by: Robert | April 23, 2015 10:02 PM
Peter's spider sense has gone off when supervillains passed by him in their civilian identity but Peter was left not knowing why it went off. I believe that's happened as far back as the early days of the Green Goblin.
Posted by: Bill | April 23, 2015 11:18 PM
Yeah, but the difference here is that the Molten Man was planing on reforming. Should Peter's Spider-Sense go off every time Rogue or Hawkeye passes by him?
Posted by: Michael | April 23, 2015 11:34 PM
Yes it does but Michael's saying that because Molten Man doesn't have the intention to hurt anybody it shouldn't have gone off. I'm saying I didn't think the spider sense worked on some other level where it knows the intent of those around it. It works based off of who or what Peter believes to be a threat. So a person Peter sees as a potential threat (like Raxton, a super villain who, unknown to Peter, has reformed) would set it off. I'm sure there are tons of examples where it's been used differently (incorrectly?) but that's how I always thought it worked. It has to be controlled on a subconscious level by Peter's mind. Otherwise Peter couldn't walk down the street without it going off right and left because he's bound to walk past crooks, pedophiles, wife beaters, etc. all the time without knowing, just like the rest of us.
Posted by: Robert | April 23, 2015 11:42 PM
My last response to Bill was being typed while you posted that, Michael. The answer to the Hawkeye or Rogue question would be no because Peter knows they are trying to reform. He is unaware about Raxton's reformation at the time the sense tingles here, right?
The spider sense does have an ESP quality about it where it can sense danger even if it's from someone Peter thinks is harmless. But I assumed that was because, being a heightened sense, it could pick up on things Peter might not be conscious of. Similar to Daredevil's radar sense but on a subconscious level.
And as I said there are examples where writers get it wrong but that's true of any comic character that's been around a long time and had many different writers of varying quality handling him. Conway's probably guilty of that, too, but I'm not sure this case is an example of that.
Posted by: Robert | April 23, 2015 11:52 PM
The original concept for Spider-Man's spider-sense was that it replicates a spider's supposed ability to always jump out of the way when you swat it (sounds more like a fly to me, but whatever). But it's definitely been used in various, arguably inconsistent, ways over the years. I've never loved the idea that Spider-Man could just swing around the city hoping his spider-sense would help him locate someone he was searching for. And it was Gerry Conway back in Amazing Spider-Man #114 that let Spider-Man get knocked out because the person attacking him with a vase was his Aunt May. That scenario is basically the same as the one here (in reverse). So there may indeed be a memory component to it; once Spider-Man identifies someone as "danger" or "not danger" it sticks with that until it gets new data. One interpretation that is that Peter has latent psychic abilities that got triggered thanks to the spider bite, and he never tried to develop them beyond that, so they remain ambiguous and inconsistent.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 24, 2015 8:35 AM
I've always thought of spider-sense as a kind of replacement for the additional eyes of a spider, essentially letting him "see" danger all around him, but I don't think there is any basis for that in the comics themselves.
I've never been happy with the inconsistency of the sense. Stan Lee basically treated it as a kind of radar in the very first issue of Amazing Spider-Man, letting Chameleon signal Spidey through it using a "special frequency."
Posted by: TCP | April 24, 2015 8:47 AM
Saviuk seems to be doing a bit of a tribute to the Ditko Spidey v Molten Man fights in the art - darkened room, Molten Man ripping his clothes down to shorts, and some of the punches thrown. A nice tip of the hat to Ditko I think.
One unique thing about this issue is Molten Man shoves Spider-Man into a fridge while giving a monologue about what a safety hazard old fridges are. As far as I am aware, this is the only Spider-Man comic that features him being shoved into an old fridge and then thrown down an elevator shaft. I'm not sure if it's good, exactly, but it's certainly memorable.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | March 5, 2018 8:59 AM
Also, I agree with Michael on Conway's misuse of the Spider-Sense. It's true that it has been incredibly inconsistently portrayed by many people (especially Conway who often has villains successfully surprise-attacking Spidey with no reference to the Spider-Sense) and it's true that sometimes it has gone off due to Peter just being near a villain who isn't currently attacking him, but I believe in all the other cases, that villain was currently planning a crime. (How the sense would know this, I don't know, but that's how it's generally worked.)
Normally, Spider-Man seems to be able to tell the difference between a low level buzz where a villain is near and a strong warning when the villain is about to attack. When a villain surrenders he can tell whether they are genuine or whether they are actually planning to attack.
But I can't think of another example like this where the Spider-Sense is actually warning him of a threat that isn't actually there - as Michael says, in this case the Spider-Sense telling him there is a threat is what causes there to be a threat, which doesn't seem a good use of it.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | March 5, 2018 9:20 AM
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