Characters Appearing: Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Jonas Harrow, Marla Madison Jameson, Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #206
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #206
It turns out that J. Jonah Jameson's recent madness has actually been the result of a scheme by Dr. Jonas Harrow.
Harrow is the scientist responsible for Hammerhead and the Kangaroo.
Harrow's "crazy ray" has been affecting others at the Bugle as well. We've seen Robbie acting more cranky in past issues, and now it gets out of control.
I'm not sure if i like this resolution to the "JJ is crazy" plot. On the one hand, after Spider-Man puts a stop to Harrow, we get lovable JJ back.
On the other hand, JJ's hatred of Spider-Man has always been irrational, and it makes sense that it was a sign of potential mental imbalance, so writing it off as outside influence feels like a cop-out. But the truth is that JJ's descent into madness was very poorly handled, so i guess it makes sense to have a super-natural reason for it. And it makes sense to bring in your A team to dig you out of a bad storyline.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This, I believe, is the only Byrne/Day teaming ever.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 10, 2011 10:59 PM
Byrne and Day were the penciler-inker team for the interior art of Avengers #181. The issue contains a memorable full page of all of the Avengers gathered around their meeting table, the same scene is depicted on the cover by Perez.
Posted by: Shar | April 15, 2012 10:32 PM
Some cool behind the scenes information about this issue from my Roger Stern Spider-Man omnibus.
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | July 2, 2015 9:42 AM
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | July 2, 2015 9:43 AM
And here's a letter from ASM 210 that basically confirms your reasoning for why Stern resolved the JJJ plot the way he did.
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | July 2, 2015 9:46 AM
The second link didn't come through, gfsdf gfbd. And i am interested to see it!
Posted by: fnord12 | July 2, 2015 11:44 AM
Brian Cronin -- at http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/06/24/comic-book-legends-revealed-266/ recounts the same behind-the-scenes story about how Stern, Byrne, and Day rushed to put this issue together. Given how strong the art and the storytelling (as well as the script) is, I was really surprised to learn that Bryne and Day only spent four days penciling and inking it, respectively. Shows a lot of talent and dedication from everyone involved.
Cronin also mentions how Harrow's "crazy ray" -- the Mental Attitude-Response Variator Ray -- has the acronym of MARV, apparently named after Marv Wolfman, the writer who started this storyline in previous issues of Amazing Spider-Man.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 2, 2015 1:17 PM
This issue kicks the ass out of any dozen of issues of ASM going in either direction - Stern, Byrne and Day are masters of the sequential art form.
Is it possible that Al Milgrom was able to draw that cover in four hours?
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | July 3, 2015 11:35 AM
Here we go. I very much agree with Vin - good stuff.
Posted by: Gfsdf gfbd | July 3, 2015 1:03 PM
I too felt a little disapointed in this issue and now that I know more of Bryne and Stern's greatness from Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men and Amazing Spider-Man it's a bummer. Maybe I'd appreciate it more but I was disappointed Jonah was just getting affected by a ray rather than just his high pressure life finally catching up to him. I wanted to think Robbie had stress getting to him but nope just a crazy ray. Felt like a strange cop-out from two A-list Marvel folks.
Posted by: david banes | July 3, 2015 3:41 PM
I think the MARV Ray was the right choice, as portraying established characters as becoming mentally unstable has usually been to their detriment -- such as Hank Pym, Quicksilver, and Jean Grey as Phoenix (before the Fantastic Four) #286 retcon) -- limiting their use as ongoing characters until they are rehabilitated, given how most comic book writers unfortunately portray mental illness.
Also, if Jonah is labeled as "insane", then his anti-Spider-Man crusade loses credibility as representing how the Marvel Universe general public views Spider-Man, (a theme in Lee and Ditko's work, and often forgotten by other writers) not to mention that Jonah can no longer run the Daily Bugle. Rehibilating him would take time, and a quick solution was needed, given the circumstances of his appareance in the already completed Amazing Spider-Man #207, according to Gfsdf gfod's first link.
I'm always nervous when a writer moves an established character too far away from their initial concept. Jonah's selfish reasons for hating Spider-Man were well established by Lee and Ditko, and helped establish the theme in their run (by contrast) that Peter Parker is the only person trying to act on moral principles rather than due to personal interest. Making Jonah insane weakens that theme, as it offers a potential rationalization for why he cannot be as responsible as Peter tries to be in making decisions. However, Jonah being selfish and jealous is an explanation, but not an excuse.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 3, 2015 5:54 PM
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