Amazing Spider-Man #210
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #210
This issue also introduces Madame Web, a spider-themed precognitive.
She helps Spider-Man foil a scheme by Rupert Dockery to take over the Daily Globe. Instead of just being a sensationalist sleaze, Dockery turns out to be a criminal. He's got a scam to replace the publisher, K.J. Clayton.
And he's hired some goons to fake an attack on the Globe, which Spider-Man thwarts.
The Globe actually is shut down, putting Peter Parker out of work (this issue seems to ignore the fact that he also works as a TA; maybe he doesn't get paid for that?), but Madame Web calls him up revealing that she knows his ID but also letting him know that he'll be employed again soon. While she's on the phone with him. J. Jonah Jameson from the Daily Bugle tries to call Peter to offer him a job.
Resolving the Rupert Dockery plot this way is a little cheap; it would have been cool to have a Rupert Murdoch stand-in as an ongoing character to contrast with J.J.. But this was still a fun story.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): show
Ugh I really hate Denny O'Neil's Spider-Man run! We're opposites on this and Wolfman's run, I thought there was a sense of progress with Wolfman's run. I liked JJ going crazy and Peter going to the Globe. I also hate Madam Web and I'm annoyed Pete is back at the Bugle. Oh well, all these issues were worth it since I knew Roger Stern was coming up.
Posted by: DavidBanes | December 6, 2013 12:29 AM
I agree with the comment above (though I was never that down on Madame Web). O'Neil's run was a total disappointment, especially compared to Wolfman's run before it and Roger Stern's concurrent run on Spectacular.
Posted by: TCP | October 10, 2014 4:15 PM
Ditto. O'Neil's good with dialogue, but his plots always seems phoned in, and the book ends up doing Len Wein-style wheel-spinning. For some time now, the major character development and supporting cast work has been happening in Spectacular, where Mantlo and Stern have been bringing in the same kinds of unconventional and new villains O'Neil brings here. Even the Deb Whitman stuff started over in that book, and O'Neil is simply following suit in his own work, giving repeated iterations of Peter ditching Deb rather than moving anything forward.
'More broadly, it's hard to tell what the point of this book really is. Mantlo tried to tell some stories about college-related issues in some of his run on Spectacular, in however clumsy a fashion, and Stern is showing s Peter Parker accepting adult responsibilities and transitioning into a recognizable version of grad school. But O'Neil is mostly just pushing things here back to the old status quo of Peter working for the Bugle, flaking out in both of his identities, and even needing Aunt May's pep talks to figure out the right thing to do.
The odd part is that the two Annuals are really superb stories; perhaps Miller co-plotting makes the difference there, or perhaps it's that O'Neil has more to say about the Punisher and Doctor Strange than he has to say about Spider-Man.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | April 9, 2017 8:51 AM
Preach it brother. O'Neil's Spidey run was a real drag for me. Most of the reasons have been outlined above, and I'd like to add that the villains were just the worst. Totally forgettable run outside of the annuals and a cool Frank Miller cover.
His DD run was solid and his Iron man stint was borderline great, but he didn't seem to have much interest in the Web Head.
Posted by: MindlessOne | April 12, 2017 12:03 AM
O'Neil had excellent craft, and he was generally good at characterization and scripting. But he was terrible at creating villains, and he lacked creativity in terms of plots and threats to expose to the hero. Occasionally he gets an idea that he can sink his teeth into, and he can produce good stories from that, particularly long term plots that take multiple issues before resolution. But O'Neils' major runs at Marvel during this era - Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Daredevil all showcase his weaknesses (as well as his strengths). It is hard to see how this is the same man who produced the classic run at Batman for DC. I wonder how much influence Neal Adams had on Denny's better work at DC.
O'Neil can also sometimes take creative departures with a character that end up undermining them long term. While O'Neil certainly depicted alcoholism more realistically in Iron Man, I do think it damaged the character although he saw it through and most future writers wisely saw fit to not address it again. But his depowered Wonder Woman was a low point for that character's run, and he also removed the Question's sharpness at a time when his knock off Rorschach in Watchman showed how he could become very popular. And his team up of Green Arrow and Green Lantern was great for Green Arrow, but really misused Green Lantern.
When he as a strong collaborator, O'Neil produces great work. Otherwise he produces competent work that sometimes underwhelms. A great editor though.
Posted by: Chris | May 6, 2018 3:11 PM
It is odd. Denny created Ra's Al Ghul at DC. At Marvel he created Vibro.
Posted by: Michael | May 6, 2018 3:35 PM
It is odd. Denny created Ra's Al Ghul at DC. At Marvel he created Vibro.
I get the sense that Vibro was more Mark Gruenwald than Denny O'Neil. And O'Neil did create Obadiah Stane. But by and large, O'Neil really stopped creating memorable new villains after his initial Batman run.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 6, 2018 10:27 PM
He famously didn't really care for creating villains in his Iron Man run but was encouraged to do some new villains for Rhodey rather than just re-use all of Stark's.
But also "Denny created Ra's Al Ghul at DC. At Marvel he created Vibro." is a particularly biased statement... picking one of his big DC creations and one of his lamest Marvel creations. You can do that with anyone! "At Marvel Jim Starlin created Thanos, at DC he created Gideon!"
O'Neill has plenty of equally notable Marvel ones - Hydro-Man, Iron Monger, Lady Deathstrike (technically)... Vibro sucks but he's not entirely useless.
Posted by: AF | May 7, 2018 3:40 AM
But Madam Web is a very solid addition to Spidey's supporting cast. She is visually striking, has a superpower that Spider-man hasn't come across before and comes from a demographic that is rarely seen in comic books (old women). More importantly, she is an excellent story-telling engine. Until now, Spider-man's crime detection technique consists of him swinging around New York City and hoping he runs into supervillains. Okay...in Marvel Team Up, he sometimes he runs into a superhero first and then meets the supervillain. But generally speaking, there is very little variation to the traditional Spider-man story. With Madam Web as the catalyst, Spider-man could have been put in situations where he met different types of perils and villains. She had a lot of potential.
Of course, when Roger Stern took over, Madam Web was promptly dispatched. He didn't seem very interested in any additions to the Spider-verse post Lee/Romita and so we never got to see Madam Web's potential fulfilled. Nevertheless, that does not mean O'Neil's creation was in anyway substandard.
Posted by: Bernard the Poet | May 7, 2018 6:26 AM
Actually, back then Madame Web was generally received as unimpressive and forgettable.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 7, 2018 7:43 PM
I immediately hated Madame Web and was glad that Stern wrote her out. Found her very cheesy. I think to me the worst sin was that Spider-Man had a spider-themed precognitive helping him, it might not have been so bad without her being called Madame Web and being given a spider-theme.
That said, she was clearly popular with some other people, I seem to remember the 90s Spider-Man cartoon thought she was a great idea, and I would be embarrassed by non-comics reading fans thinking this is what the comic was like.
I don't think it's fair to lump O'Neil's Daredevil & Iron Man runs with his Spider-Man. the Daredevil run has the Micah Synn storyline and some other good moments, while the Iron Man storyline is a much more realistic version of alcoholism than the far-too-easy resolution in Demon In A Bottle. Not every issue of the Iron Man run is great, but Rhodey being Iron Man, Obadiah Stane & issues like the cop betting Stark he can't stay sober are all great contributions to Iron Man.
Sure there are some weaknesses in the DD & Iron Man runs, but there are a lot more strengths in either than in the Spider-Man run. (Though to be fair, Spider-Man had been meh for a while even before O'Neil, it was a breath of fresh air when Stern came in.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 8, 2018 9:59 AM
Eh, I did like Madame Web's usage in the 90s animated series, basically prepping Spidey to deal with the likes of the Beyonder.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 15, 2018 5:54 PM
Yeah, but that was the Beyonder WITH A GOATEE. So it's a tragedy either way.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 15, 2018 6:29 PM
I like Madame Web as a name. The idea of an elderly precognitive seems different, but Claremont uses the same concept for Destiny in only a few months, and that character has more staying power.
However, a brand new character learning the hero's secret identity always seems to grate. And using her to set up plots for the hero seems like a cheat. In practice, it takes effort for such a character to integrate well into the mythos. I think she would have worked better by not knowing the secret identity, and neither being friend or foe, but part of a grey milieu where she might help spidey or hurt him.
I believe most predict the future /psychic characters pose problems. The only one I've ever liked was Tristam Macawber in the Bloodstone Hunt in Cap.
Posted by: Chris | May 16, 2018 12:37 AM
"Yeah, but that was the Beyonder WITH A GOATEE"
The goatee: The jheri curl of the 90s? Discuss.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 16, 2018 3:53 AM
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