Amazing Spider-Man #25
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #25
Review/plot: Something's wrong with the art in this issue. Everyone has giant eyebrows and is grinning like a loon.
The story isn't so good, either. J. Jonah Jameson works as a non-super character in Peter/Spidey's life. He's at his worst when he's played out as an utterly irrational character, and it's especially stupid when he actually gets involved in trying to hunt down Spider-Man. Creating the Scorpion was bad enough, but in this issue he hunts down Spidey with a killer robot. Just stupid.
The robot is created by Spencer Smythe.
This issue is also the first sort-of appearance of Mary Jane Watson (although she was mentioned previously), and Peter's current love interests are shocked to learn that she
Another sort-of appearance: Norman Osborn.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Tales #163
Inbound References (4): showAunt May, Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), J. Jonah Jameson, Liz Allan, Mary Jane Watson, Spencer Smythe, Spider-Man
"The story isn't so good"? Balderdash! Everybody gets something to do. It's established immediately that Spidey can't beat the robot physically. Flash is going to have it out with Petey for making time with his girl. Betty has gotten over her hatred for Spider-Man and even tries to save him. By the time the action really gets started, there's an exciting chase scene with Peter running down the street followed by Flash and his boys followed by the robot. There's incredible subtle characterization in some of the thought balloons such as Liz: "If I keep tagging along, maybe Flash will stop being so jealous of poor Petey" and Flash: "The more she defends him, the more I hate him. The soap opera plots are incredibly engaging as all the characters are basically making their own problems, just as Peter did for this issue when he convinced JJJ to go along with Smythe in the first place.
By the end, Betty and Liz have teamed up to check out the Parker residence (and see Mary Jane) while Flash is determined to wait outside until a police officer comes by and kicks him away for looking suspicious. And all the while that relentless robot is pursuing Spider-Man, with Jameson's iconic Ditko-leer.
I see your point about Jameson not coming off well when he actively works as a supervillain, but I think that shows more in hindsight, after umpteen thousand Spider-Man/JJJ stories. This was still at the dawn of the Marvel Age and "Spider-Man" was at the forefront of extended arcs and characters which developed over the course of an issue or over many issues. It's not hard to picture this being deliberate on the part of Steve and/or Stan to show JJJ destroying himself by his obsession with Spider-Man, because Spidey's obvious heroism makes JJJ's life seem (to himself) a failure.
Posted by: ChrisW | November 29, 2013 6:00 PM
To be fair, Smythe isn't a super villain at all here (he's actually kind of a cool character--a friendly, sensible dude who just really wants to capture Spider-Man), so while maybe Jameson is a little whacky here, it's not as bad as the Scorpion--he's playing with some gadget thing that Smythe gave him, and what better purpose, than to hunt down Spidey.
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | December 2, 2013 4:36 PM
I wasn't a big fan either of Smythe going from 'citizen thinking he's doing a good deed' to 'crazy super villain' either.
Posted by: david banes | April 14, 2014 11:41 PM
Wait, did you mean "Smythe" or "JJ Jamison"?
And yeah, this probably explains a lot about why One More Day happened...if Peter knew MJ had a flower for a head, he wouldn't have married her.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 15, 2014 1:16 PM
Who me? I meant Smythe. Jameson did start off pretty darn super villainish and the only way he gets away with it was that it was the Silver Age. Plus, while Fnord thinks it is hypocritical, but I like that Jameson got some character development with standing up for equal rights. I disliked that JJ was jus about all bad while Robertson was all good with no flaws for a good long while.
Posted by: davidbanes | April 15, 2014 2:10 PM
With all due respect to Ditko, I'm glad that we won't see MJ for a while yet. I never loved the way he drew Betty or Liz and it just allows Romita to knock the ball out of the park when we finally do get a good look at MJ (plus we get those later fashions which look so good on MJ - I can't imagine the MJ that Peter eventually meets ever actually wearing those clothes, even though it's 1965). But kudos to Stan for teasing us about her for a year and a half before we ever actually see her face.
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 3, 2015 1:32 PM
I wonder if Eric Stanton (who shared a studio with Ditko) did some of the inking? There is some evidence that Stanton and Ditko helped each other out during deadline crunches.
Posted by: Haydn | August 25, 2016 12:11 AM
Although the clothes don't fit Mary Jane's later style of dress her figure is displayed well. I actually liked this story but didn't care for a lot of Smythe's and later his son's later appearances.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 1, 2016 7:04 PM
I'll def agree with the JJJ critique here. Too zany supervillainy, and having his head on the screen is ridiculous. The cover of Untold Tales of Spider-Man #4 has that same feel.
As for Stanton, wouldn't he have drawn MJ in bondage gear or something? Heh heh heh.
Posted by: dark slumpkin | January 22, 2018 8:47 PM
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