Characters Appearing: Aunt May, Captain Universe (Uni-Power), Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, Psycho-Man, Punisher, Spider-Man
Web of Spider-Man annual #6
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man annual #6
Dan Cuddy - Assistant Editor
The reason is that he's after the Uni-Power. Which, if nothing else, let's just acknowledge that the Uni-Power came from the Microverse, so there's a sort of sense to all of this. Of course, the Psycho-Man's information is out of date (by "months", according to Spider-Man). But it turns out this isn't the first time Psycho-Man has made this mistake.
Spidey leads a breakout...
...and gets into a fight with Psycho-Man. Psycho-Man's got some cockamamie story about having conquered a planet by shrinking it, but now he can't rule it because it's too small and enlarging a planet takes more energy than shrinking it. Which is why he needs the Uni-Force/Enigma Force/Captain Universe power. Spidey suggests that Psycho-Man just shrink himself down, which Psycho Man admits he hadn't thought of.
Then they battle, with the other former Captain Universes helping by growing Spider-Man in size.
Great visual of Psycho-Man grabbing that sun.
Spider-Man punches Psycho-Man's device, reversing the polarity and causing him to shrink instead of grow. And then Spider-Man is grown back to normal size.
The former Captain Universes were apparently also not from the Microverse. They are stuck at their microscopic size, but they decide to just shrink down further and live on the planet that Psycho-Man tried to conquer. And now that waste of a story is over.
The first back-up is the team-up you never expected: Aunt May and the Punisher.
Aunt May uses her super-power of having had so many heart attacks that she can plausibly fake one on demand.
The next back-up is a little better than the rest, being by Peter David and June Brigman. But it does raise some questions about Spider-Man's effectiveness as a crimefighter. It's a Twelve Angry Men scenario, with Mary Jane being the holdout.
In the specifics, the plot is actually the opposite of Twelve Angry Men. The rest of the jury is convinced that there's reasonable doubt in the case, and they want to let the defendant go. But Mary Jane "knows" that he's guilty, because the guy, a jewel thief, was apprehended by Spider-Man.
MJ might have gotten disqualified from the jury pool if the defendant's lawyer knew that her husband makes a living taking pictures of Spider-Man, but she didn't disclose that.
MJ refuses to change her vote, but also isn't able to convince any of the jurors to change theirs. Because she obviously can't explain to everyone that her husband is Spider-Man, and as far as everyone else knows it's entirely possible that Spider-Man webbed up the guy to throw off the trail after robbing the jewelry store himself.
And it's not like Spider-Man will testify. So even though we know that Mary Jane is "right" here, in truth the rest of the jury is acting correctly. And it really makes you wonder how many other times Spider-Man has captured some criminal only for them to walk due to lack of evidence. It's not like Mary Jane can be on every jury.
In the end it's a hung jury. The defendant refuses to plea bargain, so it's going to go to a new trial. Until Peter gets a call from Mary Jane and comes by to intimidate the guy.
The final story is another in the "i can't belive Steve Ditko drew that" category. A husband and wife summon a pair of demons to manipulate the stock market for them.
Then an earthquake happens, breaking the pentagram the demons were trapped in.
So a neighbor's baby becomes Captain Universe.
Baby Captain Universe and his action figures destroy the demons and returns home to his parents.
Ok, that was awesome.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: For Spider-Man, continues directly from Spectacular Spider-Man annual #10.
Crossover: Spidey's Totally Tiny Adventure
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The Peter David back up is a personal favorite. The implications it raises regarding Spidey's mode if crime-fighting are intriguing to be sure.
Posted by: TCP | May 1, 2015 3:25 PM
The backup stories here seem like an appropriate use of backup features. You have a straightforward vignette that is exciting to me for reuniting the Conway/Andru team, you have an intelligent, somewhat talky vignette that would probably feel out of place in a main story, and then an insane, goofy piece with Steve Ditko art.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | May 1, 2015 4:54 PM
Note that Psycho-Man appears and is showing no signs of Sue's "punishment" in this issue but he appears after this in the 1991 Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular and he's showing the effects of what Sue did with him (and this story isn't mentioned). But there doesn't seem to be any way the 1991 Impossible Man story can take place before this.
Posted by: Michael | May 1, 2015 10:08 PM
"A husband and wife summon a pair of demons to manipulate the stock market for them."
Okay, that is awesome. But that baby is terrifying, especially in that last picture.
Posted by: Berend | May 1, 2015 10:13 PM
"Kongo" and "Gorga" refer to Konga and Gorgo, two Ditko-drawn series from Charlton based on giant movie monsters from roughly the same time as the first appearance of Spider-Man.
Gil Kane's art is very weird here. In some panels he seems to be mimicking Todd MacFarlane, and in that 2nd Psycho-Man page Spider-Man's head has turned into a big round balloon.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 2, 2015 1:59 AM
@Michael: I agree with you that its realistic but at the same time I think this is one of those times with the MJ Jury story where the writers don’t necesarilly have the best grasp of the legal system and we always have to have a healthy suspension of disbeleif in regards to many legal practices in the MU because if taken realistically it’d all fall apart. Carnage for instance would’ve been on death’s row a long time ago or else imprisoned outside of New York. Heck you could just as easily say EVERY juror could be thrown out on those ground because Spider-Man has participated in world saving scenarios in the past and thus saved them. Or even just cite the Owl/Octopus war where he averted Doc Ock nuking all of NYC.
But I think the lack of realism is more than made up for by the fact that it shows a lot of postive attributes to MJ’s character as morally minded individual and as a partner for Peter. She wants to do the right thing and tries to see justice done whilst at the same time fighting for her husband’s back. It is actually a really nice contrast to the 1970s Conway Vulture storyline where initially she outright didn’t want to go to the police with and testify against the Vulture. It’s not like MJ didn’t want to be there and would rather have let the jury hang Spidey out to dry.
As for it raising questions of the effectivness of Spider-Man as a crime fighter again, you have to take it on superhero coic book logic not real world logic. We know in the fictional comic book world most of the criminals Spider-Man captures DO go to jail. And if nothing else even if they are temporarily imprisoned then the time they spent in custody is time in whcih they couldn’t committ any crimes and at the same time Spidey did avert them breaking the law or hruting anyone then and there. It’s a shame if a mugger walks free but at least he didn’t get the chance to hurt anyone in the heat of the moment thanks to Spider-Man.
I’m pretty sure in the story it was honestly coincidence.
Posted by: Al | July 10, 2015 10:21 AM
Regarding what happens to the thugs Spider-Man leaves webbed up for the police, there's an eggcellent Tangled Web story that covers just that.
It turns out the police hate Spidey's guts as it's gotten to a point where criminals use the "Spidey defense". But little do the police suspect that it'll all come around...
Posted by: JC | October 25, 2015 1:39 PM
Fun stuff in this issue. The Spidey story was an improvement over the other chapter, I liked the silliness of it.. The Aunt May/ Punisher story had very strong art.. the Mary Jane stuff didnt make sense to me because she would be so biased, Spidey's saved her about 687 times.. I have no words for the Ditko piece!
Posted by: RikFenix | May 28, 2016 7:14 PM
Great cover too! It's grabbed by eye since I was a kid.
Posted by: RikFenix | May 28, 2016 8:52 PM
Kongo and Gorga are homages to Ditko's work on Charlton's Konga and Gorgo comics.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 9, 2017 5:20 PM
Sorry, Mark: I see you beat me to it.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 9, 2017 5:36 PM
Comments have been disabled for the summer while i'm not around to moderate.
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