Amazing Spider-Man #247-248
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #247, Amazing Spider-Man #248
He's looking for information on the Hobgoblin. Nose doesn't know anything, and Spidey leaves. Norton does have an unrelated secret, though. He's got some equipment that he delivers to Thunderball, who is operating independently (and anonymously out of costume for most of issue #247) from the rest of the Wrecking Crew (as we also saw in Iron Man #171). Spider-Man secretly follows Nose to Thunderball's warehouse...
...but his plans are ruined when Frog-Man bursts onto the scene in a bungled crime-fighting attempt.
Thunderball gets away and makes it to Long Island...
...where he's able to recover his wrecking ball as well as the Wrecker's crowbar.
It turns out that all the members of the Wrecking Crew draw power from the crowbar, and when they are away from it for a period of time, they start to get weaker. This 'explains' why Iron Man was able to knock out Thunderball with one punch during their last encounter. I guess Roger Stern took exception with Thunderball being treated so lightly in that issue.
Now that Thunderball once again has all the power of the Asgardian Norns behind him...
...Spidey is fighting out of his weight class.
But he's able to trick him into zapping himself at a power transformer.
Instead of being happy that Thunderball is defeated, the Long Island commuters are none too happy with the delays to their traffic. Spidey hitches a ride home in a pick-up truck. That and the fact that he followed Thunderball out on a train anticipates the idea that he's out of his element outside of the city, a theme further explored in Amazing Spider-Man #267.
Meanwhile Aunt May and Aunt Anna try to set up Peter and Mary Jane.
The second story in #248 is the contribution to Assistant Editors' Month. Unlike most other Assistant Editors' Month stories, this isn't a zany or funny tale. Assistant Editor Bob DeNatale says that he "needed some heavy drama to balance out the strange goings-on in Peter Parker and Marvel Team-Up". Plus i suspect Stern was a little zanied out after writing the all-daydream issue in #246 and using Frog-Man in #247.
Instead Stern writes a sad story about Spider-Man visiting a 9 year old boy with terminal leukemia.
The kid is a huge Spider-Man fan and they spend time looking through the kid's collection of newspaper clippings (i especially enjoyed the fact that he's got a binder full of retractions from J. Jonah Jameson). Peter even reveals his identity to the boy.
And of course, the way it's set up, you don't find out about the leukemia until the end of the story.
Pretty heavy stuff, and it's done in a way that doesn't feel melodramatic or forced. In addition to being quite good, i think it was also groundbreaking for a mainstream Marvel book.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: Everyone is still under the assumption that the Hobgoblin is dead, placing this before the Hobgoblin's re-appearance in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #85 (but after #84, based on the footnote reference below).
Crossover: Assistant Editors' Month
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAunt May, Aunt Watson, Frog-Man II, Mary Jane Watson, Nate Lubenski, Nose Norton, Spider-Man, Thunderball
The title to the first story in #248 is a lyric from the theme song in the James Bond "Thunderball" film.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 26, 2011 10:53 AM
Anyone recall The Death of Captain Marvel? Spidey was unable to deal with CM's cancer and walked out of the room. I'm not sure if Roger Stern intended this, but this story brings that fear of death full circle. Peter finds the courage to visit a cancer-stricken child, despite his fear. What a classic story!
Posted by: haydn | January 30, 2013 10:23 PM
A little surprised you didn't include the actual unmasking scene since it's such a major dramatic moment. For a long time, Peter really was the most secretive with his identity. At this point, how many other heroes even know? I'm a little surprised he never really his identity to the Human Torch given their long friendship.
"The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man" is one of those stories you can give to people who don't read comics and they'll love it. Definitely deserving of an A on your scale - good call.
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 14, 2015 6:01 PM
The Spider-Man/Human Torch miniseries would show the moment Peter finally chooses to unmask to the Human Torch. Practically the whole thing builds up to it. Interestingly, unlike most unmaskings, it doesn't come out of necessity, but the level of trust that they've built up over time.
It actually causes Johnny to become rather irritant with Spider-Man after One More Day, in which he realizes something is wrong.
Posted by: Max_Spider | May 14, 2015 8:25 PM
Hey, what would Ron Frenz have to tell you about "Kid"? I asked him! Have fun..
Posted by: Cecil | November 4, 2017 2:04 PM
So much to like about these issues, both the Thunderball and “Kid” stories. T-ball is pretty badass, and I enjoyed how Spidey outsmarted him with a science tactic since he realized T-ball was way to strong to bring down by force. Funny that I don’t really remember this villain from my days of youth, as he is damn fierce. Would be cool to see a bad-guy team up of him and Juggernaut take on some supers.
As for the “Kid” story, holy cow that was moving. I think Roman Frenz’s art was also superb, a little cartoony yet it works. With the more “spindly” features and fresh angles it almost feels like a McFarlane precursor (just not as exaggerated).
Cool idea on how Peter’s face was also in the shadows in the origin retelling panes, before Spidey revealed his secret ID to Timmy. I always appreciate little subtle touches to the art like that (not sure if that was Frenz’s or Terry Austin’s idea).
Posted by: Paul Peterson | March 31, 2018 1:14 PM
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