Amazing Spider-Man annual #1
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man annual #1
Review/plot: It's Spider-Man's first annual, and we get a big event for it. Doc Ock escapes from prison due to the fact that he has telepathic control of his arms even when they aren't attached to him. He gathers up the Vulture, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, and Kraven the Hunter to form the Sinister Six.
Some of the Six, especially, Kraven, are too egotistical to work as a group, so Ock comes up with a strategy of having each of the members fighting Spidey one at a time, with the reasonable assumption that Spidey will eventually tire out and lose to one of them. As bait, they kidnap Betty Brant, who Octavius knows Spidey has come to the rescue of twice before. In the process, they also capture Aunt May, who is especially senile in this issue (perhaps due to her heart condition); she thinks she is a guest of the charming Doctor Octavius the entire issue.
Spidey briefly loses his powers again so he doesn't initially respond to Octavius' challenge. Then he gets them back and beats each of the Six, sometimes in very dubious ways (Spidey defeats Electro by grounding himself, which would in fact kill him, and he defeats the Sandman only because the Sandman chose to fight Spidey in an airtight box, and the Sandman's lungs give out first.).
It's a very simple, plot light issue. It also features some very gratuitous guest appearances by most other marvel heroes.
During each villain fight, there is a full page panel, which is kind of neat, but overall neither the art or writing is up to a typical issue of ASM.
Instead of Dr. Octopus' splash panel, i'm going with the panel right before it. I just love the idea of Doc Ock in scuba gear. It makes sense, right? He is an octopus.
When fighting Mysterio, Spider-Man also goes up against robot versions of the X-Men.
Amazing Spider-Man is generally Marvel's strongest book at this time, but since this issue focuses on the big fights and is light on the characterization that makes the regular series so good, it's a bit weaker. Still, the Sinister Six are a great team, one that i always felt would be a good challenge for the Avengers.
A questionable use of Spidey's Spider-Sense here:
The annual also had a number of neat features, including a comical scene showing how Stan Lee and Steve Ditko worked together, a bunch of pin-ups, and explanations of Spidey's powers, including this panel showing how strong he is.
And this one showing the details of his costume. Regarding his mask, see the comments here about how Spider-man disguises his voice. Even with his voice muffled, i wonder how well it could have hid the fact that Spidey was a teenager.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: A lot of guest stars, so this has to take place between breaks in all their regular books. For the X-Men, can't take place while Professor X isn't with the team, between Uncanny X-Men #7-9.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (9): show
Parts of this are really good a - a great collection of villains (I would say inspired, or ripped off, from Flash's Rogues Gallery, which first united a couple of years before) - a couple of great splash panels (Elektro and Mysterio) and an amusing way to pull in appearances from the other heroes (Hey! Buy our other books!).
On the other hand, they had to come up with the "fight him one at a time" plot because those six would just crush him. Hell, just the combination of Doc Ock and Sandman should crush him. And Reed and Xavier are their typical dick selves.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 26, 2014 6:33 PM
Considering how many Sinister Six's (Or Sinister Twelves, or Sinister Syndicates or whatever) there eventually will be, it's rather surprising how long it took before the second incarnation came around!
Also because of how often we've seen Spidey go up against a group of his villains now, I was initially surprised that Marvel felt the Ultimate Sinister Six deserved their own mini series. If you stop and think about it though, they are indeed a pretty powerful group, and they do make a good challenge for the Avengers (Or the Ultimates).
Posted by: Berend | April 12, 2015 6:45 PM
When Spidey was fighting the X-Men robots, I had to wonder... how did Spidey know who the X-Men even were? He called them out by name and seemed familiar with their powers. I don't think Spidey encountered them before (even UTOSM 21 happens after this story), and as far as I know, the X-Men didn't exactly have a high profile in the Marvel Universe at this point.
More to the point, how did Mysterio know about the X-Men? And well enough to create robots that have their powers?
Posted by: mikrolik | May 3, 2015 7:54 PM
Although the X-Men only have had four issues or so at this point, they have been involved in very prominent escapades. You have Magneto's public attack on Cape Canaveral (X-Men #1), Vanisher's attack of the White House (#2), and Magneto's attack on the nation of Santo Marco (#4). Those are all prominent enough to have made the news.
As for building great robots, Mysterio seems to be one of many robotics experts during this time period. Even low level hoodlums seem able to build them. Of course, with the retcons in place, if we don't want Mysterio to have such knowledge, he probably got them from the Tinkerer.
Posted by: Chris | May 3, 2015 9:17 PM
Chris: I wasn't questioning Mysterio's robot building abilities. Just how does he know who the X-Men are, and what their powers are.
I suppose the X-Men may be somewhat known at that point, although I would think Professor X wanted them to initially keep a low profile. But who can say for sure?
Posted by: mikrolik | May 4, 2015 10:01 AM
If Professor X is still around training the X-Men, should this be before X-Men #7?
Posted by: Corey | June 28, 2015 7:56 PM
Agree. Thanks Corey. I've moved it.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 28, 2015 8:19 PM
I love the scene when JJJ starts talking to a spider on the wall, imploring it to relay a message to Spider-Man. After all, if Ant-Man can talk to ants...
Posted by: Time Traveling Bunny | June 28, 2015 11:37 PM
According to Stan Lee in the letters page in Amazing Spider-Man #14, this Annual was scheduled before it was determined what the story would be about.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 28, 2015 2:23 AM
Isn't this pretty much where the whole "Ock-May romance/friendship" idea gets rolling?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | February 14, 2016 2:00 PM
Yes Omar, that's right.
This is where they meet for the first time. Electro and Sandman bring Betty and Aunt May to Ock. When they come in Ock says "Ah, Miss Brant! Come in! I've been expecting you! And who is that charming lady with you?
Posted by: Rick | February 14, 2016 3:02 PM
I remember really enjoying this one when it first came out. I agree that it was light on character interplay but the action sequences were a blast. I thought it was sad that they took so long to bring the team back and when they did McFarlane did only a mediocre job with it while Larsen's take was truly awful.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 29, 2016 10:24 PM
I'm surprised no one thought to have the Sinister Six reunite or make a new Sinister Six until almost twenty five years later. Just a fun idea in itself and could be great done over multiple issues.
Anyway best splash panels are the Electro and Sandman ones.
Posted by: david banes | December 10, 2017 10:49 PM
No splash panel is good if it means missing the Beverly Hillbillies. That's just common sense.
Posted by: ChrisW | December 10, 2017 11:16 PM
Comments are now closed.
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