Characters Appearing: Anne-Marie Baker, Black Fox, Dr. Doom, Evan Swann, Mary Jane Watson, Raymond Trask, Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #349-350
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #349, Amazing Spider-Man #350
Later, Dr. Doom shows up looking for Black Fox.
And, immediately endearing me to this appearance, Doom uses his boulder gun to stop the Fox from fleeing.
Haven't seen that since Iron Man #149 (which, probably not coincidentally, was also written by Michelinie).
Doom is after the Fox because the Fox stole a gem that was an heirloom from Doom's mother. One of Doom's employees included the gem in a collection to be lent out to a European fundraiser by mistake.
Spider-Man tries to stop Doom from killing the Fox, but he's hopelessly overpowered (as it should be).
I do feel like the scripting is a little off at times. I don't see Doom saying things like "make that an ex-employee" or "Bleeding? Get used to it!".
Spider-Man is able to convince Dr. Doom to give him 24 hours to re-capture the Black Fox and get Doom's mother's gem back. But then he passes out from a concussion. If you've ever had a concussion, you know they make you feel nauseous in addition to the head pain. So i can only imagine how Mary Jane's hideous tights are making Peter feel.
While he's concussed, Peter imagines that he's talking to Uncle Ben.
Ben tells him that the reason Peter lets the Black Fox go all the time is because Peter is subconsciously seeking approval from him as a substitute for his uncle (note the eyeballs on Spider-Man's mask in the flashback, as it was in the original printing of Spidey's first appearance).
Peter then passes out...
...and spends most of the 24 hours he needs to capture the Fox in the hospital.
But he eventually tracks the Fox thanks to a spider-tracer. Black Fox had already fenced Doom's gem, but the Fox has tracked down the people who bought it, and they turn out to be cultists interested in the gem's magical properties.
Specifically, these cultists are trying to bring back the sentient insect swarm that was sent into space in Spectacular Spider-Man #168-170.
Look at that. Random cross title continuity. Warms my heart.
Spider-Man convinces the Black Fox to help him fight the cultists...
...but they run out of time, and Dr. Doom shows up. But of course he has a reason to fight the cultists too, even if he just wants the gem.
The cultists are defeated, and Doom gets his mom's gem back. Spider-Man convinces Doom not to kill the Black Fox, but as punishment for the Fox's transgressions, Doom destroys another gem that the Fox stole (the one from the beginning of this story), thus ruining the Fox's retirement plans (poor guy has been doing "one last job" to set up his retirement since we first met him).
Issue #349 has what will be the final appearance of Raymond Trask, a corrupt casino owner with mob ties that has had a few prior appearances. In this appearance, he's very specifically a Donald Trump analogue.
I mention this because a Daredevil story published at the same time as these issues also features a Donald Trump analogue (Derek Tully). It would have been nice to have the same character used for both stories.
Dr. Doom is without a doubt overused in 1991. Erik Larsen's cartoony art and some problems with the scripting make me want to dismiss this as an unworthy use of Doom, but David Michelinie mostly handles the character pretty well, so i have to begrudgingly admit it's not a bad appearance. Spider-Man does have some history with Doom going back to his early Lee/Ditko days, so he makes sense for a 350th double-sized issue celebration, as does the "appearance" of Uncle Ben.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
"Erik Larsen's cartoony art and some problems with the scripting make me want to dismiss this as an unworthy use of Doom,"
" So i can only imagine how Mary Jane's hideous tights are making Peter feel."
Posted by: clyde | October 20, 2015 1:03 PM
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 20, 2015 5:52 PM
Erik Larsen was one of my favorite Spider-Man artists, and he goes out with a bang!
If I remember right, Michelinie noted in the TPB collecting these issues that the logical outcome of a fight between Dr. Doom and Spider-Man is that Spider-Man would die. Pete certainly gets his ass kicked here even harder than back in Amazing Spider-Man #5.
As for Doom's dialogue, I don't think it's out of line if you consider he'd probably be extra-touchy on issues concerning his mother after what he just went through to get her out of hell.
Posted by: Mortificator | October 20, 2015 11:56 PM
I remember being pretty blown away reading this as a kid because I was new to comics and Spider-Man got whupped so bad, and I thought Erik Larsen did a great job showing just how torn up he was.
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | October 21, 2015 11:14 AM
I love Doctor Doom but he is just a guy in armor, while Spidey has superstrength, agility and his webbing. If Peter should die at the hands of Doom, logically, then what about most of the FF, Avengers and X-Men, considering Spidey can kick most of their butts (and has, too)
All that said, I think Larsen kicked it out of the park. Now he has energetic art and is one of the rare Image artists to have regular output since the 90s.
Posted by: PeterA | October 21, 2015 12:12 PM
Erik Larsen was born to draw Spidey, the dynamic poses along with the sharp line work just fit the character purrfectly. Plus I kinda like how he does the thing with the squinting eyes even if it makes no sense on Spidey.
Also, what's up with having Doom appearances in issues that end in 50?
Dr. Doom is the premier villain of the Marvel Universe, it's only natural that writers are going to save him and bring him out on the anniversary issues like FF 500, etc.
Posted by: JC | October 22, 2015 10:26 AM
first I ever heard about Doom's Mom being a sorceress
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Comics CEO | January 24, 2016 8:53 AM
By this point Larsen had developed some really strong fundamentals to go with the bonkers Spidey art. Sad to see him go.
Posted by: MindlessOne | June 19, 2017 8:16 PM
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