Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #68
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #68
...this issue begins with Aunt May and Peter visiting Uncle Ben's grave. While they are there, Aunt May tells Peter that she and Nathan Lubenski have decided to leave the nursing home and move back into the old Parker house, with plans to turn it into a halfway house for other senior citizens. This is the beginning of a change of setting for Aunt May that is developed across all three Spidey books (the move will be shown in Marvel Team-Up #124), a nice example of inter-book continuity now that Tom DeFalco is editing them all.
After parting ways with Aunt May and Nathan, Peter encounters a group of armed agents seemingly harassing an old man near a tomb labelled Professor Mendel Stromm. Without changing into Spider-Man, Peter fights the agents off. This will turn out to be a misunderstanding (the agents are actually government agents), but i do like seeing Peter using his strength out of costume. He may be overdoing it a bit...
...but it's better then him wasting time changing into a costume while an old man is (seemingly) harassed.
That said, the agents do manage to get away, and Peter shows up at the university in a bad mood, so when Biff Rifkin gets in his face for sending Debra off in a pinwheel arm frenzy last issue, he overdoes it again.
That gets him a talking to from Professor Sloan, and between this demonstration of stress and his slipping grades, Peter agrees to give up being a teaching assistant. Debra subsequently follows him up to the roof, and learns that Peter is really Spider-Man.
Spider-Man later follows up on the old man at the graveyard, who said he was Mendel Stromm's brother, and he meets up with the government agents from before. They explain that Stromm has been building robots and providing them to various causes, including ones that were used against Israel and mosques in Saudi Arabia.
I said the agents were with the government, but in truth they were from various agencies but have now gone freelance and even gotten themselves some matching uniforms since their superiors wouldn't support their theories about Stromm.
Spidey travels with the agents back to Stromm's tomb, where they suspect he's got a secret lab. Which he does. But Spider-man learns that Stromm's "brother" is really a robot...
...who has been building other robots, mainly because he enjoys it, rather than for money or to support political causes.
The agents mostly get knocked out, but Spider-Man fights Stromm and his robot lackeys.
Spider-Man is very flippant after defeating the "Robot-Master".
Maybe because there's some movement on the personal life side of the equation, maybe because Luke McDonnell's art is a little better than what we've been getting on this title lately, or maybe just because those agents have such spiffy costumes, but this was a better than average issue of Spectacular for this part of Mantlo's run.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #230-231. The original Stromm's corpse is also shown underneath the Tomb, and since Stromm does eventually appear again (as "Gaunt")
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBiff Rifkin, Debra Whitman, Marcy Kane, Mendel Stromm, Morris Sloan, Nate Lubenski, Phillip Chang, Spider-Man, Steve Hopkins
Stromm should be listed as a character appearing- it's eventually revealed that he took an earlier version of the Goblin formula, so he didn't die in Amazing 37- he was put in suspended animation but his body was decaying.
Posted by: Michael | July 22, 2013 9:52 PM
Debra was used as a punching bag by most of the Spidey writers - in the end, she was just categorized as insane.
Posted by: Jack | July 22, 2013 11:26 PM
The agents of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US all work together against the menace of Mendel.
Posted by: kveto from prague | July 29, 2013 3:10 PM
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