Amazing Spider-Man #234-236
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #234, Amazing Spider-Man #235, Amazing Spider-Man #236
The Brand Corporation offers to give the Tarantula actual spider-powers.
Spider-Man shows up to put a stop to it, but the Will O' The Wisp has been pursuing a vendetta against Brand...
...and he shows up during the Tarantula's power transformation.
His interference causes the Tarantula to transform into a spider-monster.
Spider-Man has to divide his time between preventing the Will O' The Wisp from killing any Roxxon agents and fighting the mutated Tarantula.
Meanwhile, a Federal agent shows up at the Daily Bugle, asking them to kill their investigation into Brand and Roxxon because it has the potential to interfere with the Justice Department's case.
In the end, revelations about the Tarantula force a confession out of the head of Brand, and Mr. D'Angelo, head of Roxxon, closes down all of its Brand facilities...
...but of course Roxxon itself escapes scott free. Tarantula dies...
...and Spider-Man and Will O' The Wisp part on good terms.
As always, it's a great arc by the Stern/JRJR team.
Some Daily Bugle cast ongoings:
Issue #234 has a 16 page insert called "The Marvel Guide to Collecting Comics". It's a very basic introduction to collecting comics, with definitions of "Mint" and the "Golden Age" and some other things.
Definitely with a mind towards encouraging speculator behavior (On a page entitled "It's Better Than Money in the Bank", it says: "You can be pretty sure that most No. 1 issues of just about any major comic from DC or MARVEL will become worth more than what you pay for it.")...
...but they also encourage people to collect things that they will actually enjoy reading. And they take a minor swipe at the competition:
DC made a very big deal out of the arrival of SHAZAM No. 1, because after many years the original CAPT. MARVEL would again be appearing in new adventures. They were even going to be drawn by the original artist, C.C. Beck. When SHAZAM No. 1 finally came out, many collectors bought dozens of copies. Within a year, however, people found themselves sitting on stacks of SHAZAM No. 1 worth little more than what they had paid for them due to poorly written stories. This comic is slowly rising in price but it will be a long time before it will be worth the trouble collectors and dealers went to get them.
It's worth pointing out that Shazam #1 (1973) now sells on mycomicshop.com for $85 in mint conditions, and it was written by Denny O'Neil, who was an editor and writer for Marvel at the time this Guide was written.
Anyway, the Guide is an interesting artifact, and it's got a nice cover drawn by Walt Simonson.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place soon after #233, with Peter Parker and Ben Urich back at the Daily Bugle checking out pictures that Peter took in #233. So preferably no other Spider-Man appearances should occur between #233-234. Takes place after Marvel Team-Up #124.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Will O' the Wisp's "costume" was designed by Len Wein.
DC's Shazam! did indeed receive a lot of brickbats for its stories at the time of publication, especially by C.C. Beck. He got booted off the book due to refusing to draw one exceptionally awful story(by Elliott S. Maggin, I believe).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 26, 2012 4:06 PM
I'm not sure what the problem was. When I went back and read the 70's Shazam! book it seemed like decent quality stuff to me. Granted, the end stuff WAS better than the beginning stuff, but the beginning stuff wasn't bad.
Posted by: Thanos6 | May 4, 2015 6:22 AM
Evan Dorkin --of Milk and Cheese fame -- has a letter published in Amazing Spider-Man #236, commenting on how much he is enjoying the series, after having stopped reading comics for three years prior to the Stern/Romita, Jr,/DeFalco run.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 9, 2015 9:20 PM
I'd assumed the Tarantula dies in this issue, and since I have the same opinion as Stern about the Tarantula as someone who can hold his own against Spider-Man, I've always been quite happy with that. But here the Tarantula is referred to as "seemingly" dying and his death is not listed in the historical significance rating.
While I know there have since been other people calling themselves Tarantula, I thought the original guy really died here. I've had a quick google but can't see any references to the original guy coming back, out of morbid interest can anyone shed some light on where he returns?
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 29, 2016 11:02 AM
This is indeed the last appearance of the original Tarantula. I don't know if his death merits a Sig Rating increase, but i've removed the "seemingly" to avoid confusion.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 29, 2016 11:05 AM
Thanks for the clarification. I wouldn't argue for a Sig Rating increase (as you can tell I was never really a fan of the character), I was just surprised it wasn't mentioned at all. I'd remembered Conway using him all the time in my youth, but when I look at how many appearances the original had, he actually appears in less issues than I thought.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 29, 2016 11:16 AM
The original Tarantula probably won't ever come back because the character's origin ensures that the Delvadian government can always whip up a new one if the current one dies.
Posted by: mikrolik | August 29, 2016 1:07 PM
Well that's you thinking like a sensible person and not a comics writer :) They brought Betty Brant's brother back, they'll bring anyone back.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | August 29, 2016 2:15 PM
Well, the second Tarantula, Luiz Alvarez, was introduced by Gerry Conway, who created the first Tarantula. If even Conway decided to just create a new one instead of bringing back the old one, I can't imagine another writer bringing Rodriguez back.
I will say this for the original Tarantula; getting mutated into a giant spider and going insane and committing suicide is a waaaaaaaay better way to go than say, getting shot by Scourge...
Posted by: mikrolik | August 29, 2016 2:27 PM
Interesting to see Marvel claim they had "the greatest impact on the future of comics" when they published Amazing Fantasy #15, not Fantastic Four #1.
If only speculators or even anyone at Marvel itself in the 90s had read what they said about Shazam #1 here, a lot of the madness of that decade could have been avoided...DC can take some comfort that even when Marvel recognizes DC's mistakes, they don't learn from them.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | February 11, 2017 5:28 PM
I actually quite liked the 70s Shazam series.
Posted by: Thanos6 | February 11, 2017 6:04 PM
The character of Amy Powell appears here by search, but she isn't listed in the Characters Appearing section.
Posted by: Chris | February 11, 2017 11:25 PM
Thanks Chris. Added her.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 13, 2017 9:53 AM
Because that isn't Amy Powell. It's obviously Valerie Cooper going undercover to do some early re recruitment for Freedom Force. (I mean, look at her!)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | February 13, 2017 10:35 AM
Comments are now closed.
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