Amazing Spider-Man #258

Greetings Webheads!

Today we take a look at what is essentially considered to be the final chapter in the Alien Costume Saga. This issue is so chalked full of stuff that I’ll just keep my words to a minimum up here and let the overview below do all the talking except for three little words: The Amazing Bag-Man!

Read on, True Believers….


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #258AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #258
Cover Date: November 1984
Cover Artist: Ron Frenz

THE SINISTER SECRET OF SPIDER-MAN’S NEW COSTUME!

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: Mary Jane reveals that she has known all along that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Before Peter can explain himself, Black Cat enters the apartment through a window, prompting Mary Jane to storm out. Peter then accidentally shoots a web at Black Cat while in his civilian clothing which causes him great concern as he didn’t know the Alien Costume could shoot web while not in the guise of Spider-Man.

In New Mexico, Puma starts gathering intel on Spider-Man.

After repairing his damaged apartment and endless unanswered phone calls to Mary Jane, Peter falls asleep in a chair. We see the Alien Costume envelope Peter and prowl the night with his body while Peter is in a dream state. During a dream sequence, Peter is caught in the middle of battle between his new black costume and his original red & blue costume. Now physically back in his bed, Peter wakes up just before the two costumes manage to tear him in half.

Spider-Man finally pays a visit to Mr. Fantastic to have his new costume analysed. After a series of tests, Mr. Fantastic determines that the Alien Costume is actually a highly evolved symbiote that has attached itself both mentally and physically to Spider-Man. In a panic, Spider-Man attempts to remove the costume but fails until the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic use flames and a sonic gun to trap the symbiote.

Hobgoblin proposes an alliance with the Rose to exact revenge on Spider-Man and to overthrow the Kingpin of crime.

The Human Torch digs up one of his old Fantastic Four outfits and lends it to Spider-Man so he can make his way home. With no mask available, Spider-Man is forced to wear a paper bag on his head and as luck would have it, he had to intervene in a police shootout with liquor store robbers.

Mary Jane visits Peter at his apartment to talk, while we see the symbiote thrashing in his containment cell at the Baxter Building.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Black Cat
  • H.U.B.E.R.T.
  • Hobgoblin
  • Human Torch
  • Jenna Taylor
  • Mary Jane Watson
  • Mr. Fantastic
  • Puma
  • Rose

Blogger’s Thoughts: It’s kind of funny because my first introduction to the Alien Costume Saga actually came from the 1990’s Spider-Man Animated series. In that story, the symbiote was a stowaway on a space shuttle returning from the moon and it latched onto Spider-Man when he rescued the pilots after it crash landed. Then later on, when Peter found out the costume was alive; he used the bells of a church tower to drive it away (and effectively into the “welcoming arms” of a disgruntled Eddie Brock). The Spider-Man 3 live-action movie also followed a similar plot for the Alien Costume. In contrast, the original version from the Amazing Spider-Man comic book ends with a little less of a bang. In its defence though, it would be almost 4 years before readers were be introduced to the villainous Venom which was the result of the symbiote bonding with its second human host, Eddie Brock. Truncating and then expanding the saga like the animated series and live-action film did does heighten the impact of Peter and the symbiote parting ways compared to what the reader will experience in this issue.

Ron Frenz got to flex his artistic muscles a little more in this issue as it contains many drama filled moments that required the artist to convey a range of emotions through facial expressions. Mary Jane and Peter looked great in this issue. Changing Peter’s look to his former one from those early (Steve Ditko) issues during the dream sequence was a brilliant touch. Even with all of his amazing powers, Peter Parker still subconsciously sees himself as that socially awkward bookworm from high school.

Amazing Spider-Man #258 was another pivitol issue packed with content provided by Tom DeFalco and executed perfectly by Ron Frenz, Josef Rubinstein and Bob Sharen.

Who knew that even 30 years later, people would still fondly remember Peter Parker being the butt end of Johnny Storm’s joke by having to wear a Fantastic Four uniform with a paper bag on his head and a “Kick Me” sign on his back. The Amazing Bag-Man!


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand
Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

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Amazing Spider-Man #257

Welcome back Webheads!

To preface, I don’t have much to add in this section of the blog as I kind of go on at length about my thoughts on this issue of Amazing Spider-Man down below. But maybe as a fun fact, I can add that I actually acquired this book as part of a lot that a former co-worker of mine got at auction as part of an even larger lot of various comic book series. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get my hands on a pretty decent raw copy of Amazing Spider-Man #252 as well as the rest of the ASM issues pertaining to the Alien Costume Saga. At the time, my wife wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was about shelling out the amount I did for these books, but I did end up with a little over 80 issues in all. The lot was a combination of books from the Amazing Spider-Man and Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man series of the same era.

On another related note, today IS Wednesday and we all know what that means…. it’s New Comic Book Day!!! Here’s what’s on my pull list for today:

  1. ALL NEW X-FACTOR #13
  2. SPIDER-MAN 2099 #3
  3. SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #15

If you’ve been reading some good comic books lately, please feel free to share in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Now, enough jibba jabber and let’s get on with the show….


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #257AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #257
Cover Date: October 1984
Cover Artist: Ron Frenz

BEWARE THE CLAWS OF PUMA!

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: Puma looms over Spider-Man’s unconscious body. Even after deeming him to be an unworthy foe, Puma prepares to complete his contract with the Rose and kill Spider-Man. Black Cat intervenes in the nick of time. After a short battle where we witness Black Cat’s bad luck powers in action, she escapes with Spider-Man having regained consciousness. Puma tracks them to Peter’s apartment, but decides to wait until he can get Spider-Man alone to finish the job.

In the apartment, Peter mentally orders his costume off of himself, but this proves to be a strain. The Alien Costume finally obeys. Black Cat and Spider-Man both agree that he should bring it to Mr. Fantastic for analysis sooner rather than later. Some time passes by and the Black Cat leaves Peter to mend his wounds, but then Mary Jane Watson shows up wanting to celebrate her modeling gig. At that moment, Puma returns to face Spider-Man. Peter barely has time to get Mary Jane out of his apartment before Puma crashes through the window. Their fight brings them back outside before they crash through the window of an athletic club. Due to his heightened senses, Puma notes that Spider-Man’s webbing is not man-made, but organic. The battle ends after Puma throws a universal gym out the window and Spider-Man leaps to catch it before it hits innocent bystanders down below.

Meanwhile, the Kingpin has gotten word that the Rose put an assassination contract out on Spider-Man and will not stand for being undermined. He forces the Rose to break the contract which is just as well for Puma who sees Spider-Man as a worthy opponent and would rather return to fight him on his own terms when Spider-Man is fully healed from their two encounters. The Hobgoblin shows up to propose a plan to The Rose and exact revenge on the Kingpin.

Back at Peter’s apartment, Mary Jane confesses that she’s known Peter’s secret all along. That she knows he is Spider-Man.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

  • Page 7 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
  • Page 7 – Daredevil (recent issues)
  • Page 7 – Spectacular Spider-Man Magazine (recent issues)
  • Page 11 – Amazing Spider-Man #256

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Black Cat
  • Hobgoblin
  • Jenna Taylor
  • Kingpin
  • Mary Jane Watson
  • Oswald Silkworth
  • Puma
  • Rose

Trivia:

  • The cover is an almost exact copy of the final panel image found on Page 16

Blogger’s Thoughts: Tom DeFalco did an incredible job with this particular issue. It was packed with many reveals, clarifications and character development. He establishes Puma/Thomas Fireheart as a man with honor and a certain level of integrity and who as not as morally ambiguous as he initially seemed. DeFalco also cleverly uses Puma’s heightened sense to reveal to the reader that Black Cat’s bad luck power is actually an aura of probability that surrounds her and activates when she is in harm’s way. We also get our first hint that the alien costume dispenses organic webbing rather than the usual man-made fluid that Peter used to manufacture for his web-shooters. Then there’s also our first hint that the Alien Costume is possibly sentient, showing signs of insubordination. If all of that wasn’t enough, we then get Mary Jane’s confession on the last page. Mary Jane knowing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man had a huge impact on Spider-Man and his relationship with Mary Jane. Everything started to change from that point on, but it would still take almost 3 years before Peter and MJ tied the knot.

Ron Frenz did a much better job with the pencils on this issue than last, but I’ve come to the conclusion that he does not make my list of favorite Spider-Man artists. There’s just nothing overly unique about the way he drew Spider-Man and his supporting cast. He just gets the job done, that’s it.

Overall, this was a solid entry into Spider-Man’s canon. The Alien Costume Saga is ramping up to its climax and Peter Parker’s life would forever be changed by Mary Jane’s confession. It was an issue that shouldn’t be missed.


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand
Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

Amazing Spider-Man #256

Greetings Webheads!

I hope you all had a restful Labour Day weekend. I know I did. I got to attend a quaint outdoor wedding, did some work around the house and ended up playing gobs of Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. I even managed to win a match.

But, now it’s time to turn my attention back on this place, so here we are as we take a look at issue #256 of Amazing Spider-Man which contains the first appearance of Puma. Read on to learn more about this character and this issue.


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #256AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #256
Cover Date: September 1984
Cover Artist: Ron Frenz

INTRODUCING… PUMA!

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: Spider-Man busts up a stolen goods fencing ring while Black Cat takes pictures for him from the rafters until she decides to join in on the action. Before long, the thieves are apprehended and Spider-Man makes his way back to his apartment, but not before expressing concern about Black Cat risking her life to help him out. Black Cat still has not told Spider-Man that she recently acquired “Bad Luck” powers from the Kingpin.

Back at his apartment, Peter develops the photos to be sold to the ‘Bugle and then stumbles upon his old spare red and blue costume. Exhausted, Peter goes to sleep and we once again see the alien black costume slither toward Peter. A shadowy figure is later seen swinging through New York City, prowling the night.

The next day, the Rose learns of Spider-Man’s interference with his operations and seeks out a professional to contract for a hit on the vigilante. We are introduced to Thomas Fireheart, the Puma. The man-beast is first seen in the New Mexico desert tracking Mountain Lions. After dispatching the animals, Puma returns to his helicopter and reverts back to human form.

Peter makes his way to the Daily Bugle where Betty Brant and Mary Jane Watson both point out how tired Peter seems to be.

Puma begins tracking Spider-Man and intercepts him shortly after by throwing a section of piping at him. Caught off-guard mid-swing, Spider-Man falls through the air before clinging a hand to the side of a building. The momentum of breaking his fall results in Spider-Man dislocating his shoulder before falling again onto a rooftop below. The issue ends with Spider-Man dazed and in pain having to face off against the prowess of Puma.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Betty Brant
  • Black Cat
  • Jenna Taylor (First Appearance)
  • Joseph “Robbie” Robertson
  • Mary Jane Watson
  • Rose
  • Puma (First Appearance)

Blogger’s Thoughts: This was a pretty packed issue with many plot points moving along. This was a time in Spider-Man’s publishing history where many events were intertwined with other Marvel Comics series, mainly Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man which had a high focus on Spider-Man’s relationship with the Black Cat. Aside from that, we had Peter’s lethargy thanks to his Alien Costume prowling the night with his body while unconscious, and then there was Peter’s own concern about what kind of material this costume was actually made of. Peter was also in a bit of a slump in regards to his freelancing for the Daily Bugle which meant that he also had to deal with financial troubles, like trying to make the rent on time. And then we can top all of that off by adding the introduction of a new super powered character that Spider-Man must now face.

Puma as a character is very much like a combination of Kraven the Hunter and Sabretooth. As a human, he is the CEO of Fireheart Enterprise in Heartsdale New Mexico. He is also the guardian of a Native American tribe that used mystic ceremonies and selective breeding to create a perfect warrior. Thomas Fireheart is the latest in this line of men. Growing bored of his corporate life, Fireheart seeked out greater challenges and began offering his skills as Puma for a fee. This is what led him to first encounter Spider-Man.

Puma has all the typical powers you’d expect from a Mountain Lion/Human hybrid. Acute senses, strength, speed, stamina, agility, flexibility, reflexes/reactions, coordination, balance, endurance, and Razor sharp fangs and claws.

The character then more often than not sided with heroes in his publication history, even helping Spider-Man on a few occasions.

I was never really a fan of Puma because he seemed overly unoriginal to me. As far as Superhuman characters go he’s pretty generic. Marvel is just too saturated with this type of power set. Enhanced animalistic senses and the like.

As far as this specific issue of Amazing Spider-Man goes, it did have a lot going on with it and ended with a great cliff-hanger, but overall it didn’t have as much impact as I would have liked. I still find Ron Frenz’s artwork to be pretty bland, although his Mary Jane did look terrific in this issue even if only appearing on one page. She still had that signature John Romita Sr. look, but clad in the fashionable garb common to the mid-eighties.

That’ll do it for today folks, thanks for dropping by.


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand
Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

Amazing Spider-Man #255

Welcome back Webheads!

Thanks for checking out my blog. If this is your first time here, let me bring you up to speed on what I’m doing with this place. For now, I don’t have a lot of content up, but I am working toward turning this place into a resource filled with a bunch of useful information about individual comic books from my personal collection. Right now I’m working my way through a first batch of ten comics from the Amazing Spider-Man series. Issues #250 to #259. Today we’re taking a look at Issue #255.

If you’ve been here before, well you know the deal. I’m still looking for a snazzy title for my venture, so please comment with any suggestions you might have.

Amazing Spider-Man #255 features the first appearance of Black Fox (Raul Chambers). Not a particularly noteworthy foe for our favorite web slinging hero, but he has managed to pop up in various adventures across many Spider-titles over the years. Most recently, he has been found partnering up with the Irredeemable Ant-Man, Scott Lang.

Another fun tidbit as it concerns the Alien Costume saga is that this is the first issue where we get a hint that there’s something possibly sinister behind the seemingly alive black material. On one page, the costume can be seen slithering its way to Peter Parker while he sleeps. You may remember a similar scene in Spider-Man 3, the 2007 Sam Raimi directed flick starring Toby Maguire. In the movie, Peter discovers shortly thereafter that the costume has been roaming the city with his body while he sleeps.

But enough about that, we’re here to talk about comic books!


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #255AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #254
Cover Date: August 1984
Cover Artist: Ron Frenz

EVEN A GHOST CAN FEAR THE NIGHT!

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editors: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: A shadowy thief breaks into a luxury apartment only to be ambushed by the dwelling’s occupants, Red Ghost and his Super-Apes. We soon learn that the thief is an aging jewel thief who calls himself Black Fox (in his very first Marvel Comics appearance). Red Ghost is building a machine he calls the Cosmicizer which will serve to augment his powers, but he has run out of funds to complete the project so he hired Black Fox to burglarize his own place in an effort to strong-arm him into pulling a bank heist for the money he needs.

Meanwhile, Peter is still dealing with his own personal problems. His rent is overdue, he doesn’t have enough food to even make a sandwich and his Aunt May still will not speak with him because he dropped out of graduate school. After washing his Spider-Man costume, Peter goes to bed only to wake up realizing that he had been asleep for over a day, but doesn’t actually feel rested. Still, he dons the alien costume and goes out in search of the Hobgoblin’s battle wagon.

Naturally, our hero’s search is interrupted by the bank robbery in progress. Spider-Man follows the wail of police sirens and happens upon the Super-Apes delivering a thrashing to Black Fox in a nearby alley after the heist went south. Spidey quickly dispatches the Super-Apes and interrogates Black Fox to find out what Red Ghost is up to. The web-slinger shows up at Red Ghost’s luxury apartment and battles the villain. Spider-Man tricks one of the Super-Apes into inadvertently destroying the Cosmicizer. Having nothing left to defend, Red Ghost escapes his apartment with his Super-Apes once the authorities show up.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

  • Page 4 – Marvel Team-Up #142 & #143
  • Page 4 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
  • Page 5 – Amazing Spider-Man #254
  • Page 8 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #92
  • Page 9 – Amazing Spider-Man #254
  • Page 10 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #91
  • Page 16 – Amazing Spider-Man #223

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Black Fox (First Appearance)
  • Mamie Muggins
  • Nathan Lubensky
  • Red Ghost
  • Super-Apes

Blogger’s Thoughts: After enjoying the stellar work by Leonardi from last issue, I was fairly disappointed with Ron Frenz’s outing in this issue. Frenz employs very traditional panel layouts that make the visuals much less dynamic than they should be. Even the climactic battle at the end fell flat.

DeFalco’s script had me cringing at times. There are a few things I didn’t quite understand in the plot. One, if Red Ghost was so hell bent on keeping his presence in New York City a secret as to not attract the attention of the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, why would he send out his three super powered apes to help with the bank heist? Anyone who encounters the apes would surely put two and two together to figure out that Red Ghost is in town. Secondly, I don’t understand the purpose of the Cosmicizer. It supposed to augment the Red Ghost’s power. How exactly does one become MORE intangible? Other than that, I can’t help but laugh at the vague description of technologies found in comics from the 1960’s all the way up to even 1984 as evident in this book. On page two, there’s a panel that reads:

“And then, he quickly removes a highly specialized electronic device from his skintight costume.”

And then, we don’t even get to see it or find out exactly what it does. All we know is that Black Fox disables the security alarm with it. This would never fly these days. Fanboys on the internet would demand a believable scientific explanation as to what that piece of technology is and what it does.

Ultimately, this issue felt like a fill-in. I’m not sure if that was the case, but being familiar with Ron Frenz’s work, this looked extremely rushed. I’m looking forward to comparing it to next issue, the introduction of the character Puma!

See you then, True Believers!


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand

Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

Amazing Spider-Man #254

Greetings Webheads!

I gotta tell you, I’ve been enjoying revisiting these 30 year old issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Cracking these books open just invades my nostrils with the unmistakably unique smell of… grandma’s attic? Seriously though, there’s a smell from the pages that comics today will never have. Its a combination of the oxidation of the paper, the old four color process printing ink, and whatever ambient smell the book imbibed from whatever location it spent most of its life being stored in. It’s sublime to a comic book collector such as me.

With that being said, we are now reaching the halfway mark of my little venture into this first stack of my Amazing Spider-Man collection. The Amazing Spider-Stacks? Sorry, I’m still trying to come up for a snazzy name for these posts. Web-Stacks? Yes? No? Maybe?

Read on true believers, and let’s see what vile villain our black alien suited hero will face off against today!


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #254AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #254
Cover Date: July 1984
Cover Artist: Rick Leonardi

WITH GREAT POWER…

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: Spider-Man overlooks a salvage crew pulling the Hobgoblin’s battle wagon out of the Hudson River after it ended up in the drink during Spidey and Hobgoblin’s last battle a few weeks prior. When no one looks, Spider-Man swings down to plant a spider-tracer on the vehicle so that he can be aware of its whereabouts.

Peter calls his Aunt from a pay phone (remember those?), but she still refuses to talk to him after he told her that he dropped out of graduate school. Unbeknownst to May, Nathan Lubensky invites Peter to lunch so that he and his Aunt can talk face to face. Before Peter can make his way to the restaurant, he learns that the Hobgoblin’s wagon was high jacked from its transport. Spider-Man follows his spider-tracer signal to its location where he encounters Jack O’Lantern.

The ensuing battle eventually leads the pair to a toy store (complete with G.I.Joe product placement), but Jack O’Lantern ends up escaping after Spider-Man is forced to turn his attention to rescue innocent bystanders.

Peter Parker finally makes his way to the restaurant only to find out that Aunt May had already gone. Nathan stayed behind to inform Peter of how upset she was and how disappointed in him both of them have been lately.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

  • Page 1 – Amazing Spider-Man #251
  • Page 2 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
  • Page 4 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #91
  • Page 4 – Amazing Spider-Man #253
  • Page 14 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #56

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Betty Brant
  • J. Jonah Jameson
  • Jack O’Lantern
  • Joseph “Robbie” Robertson
  • May Parker
  • Nathan Lubensky
  • Wendy Thorton

Blogger’s Thoughts: I was thoroughly impressed with Rick Leonardi’s pencils in this particular issue. He had Spidey performing anatomically impossible acrobatics way before guys like McFarlane and Larsen came along. I couldn’t find a single panel featuring Spidey that didn’t look fantastic, especially when he’s chasing Jack O’Lantern around New York City. But even the quieter moments of the book are truly spectacular. The look on Aunt May’s face when’s she’s talking to Nathan about her nephew Peter is heart breaking.

The issue also serves as a great showcase of Spider-Man’s new found power enhancements. Jack O’Lantern comments on how his speed, agility, stamina and strength seem greater than the last time they faced each other. So much so, that the villain had to resort to endangering bystanders to escape as he knew he could not continue to trade blows with our hero.

I enjoyed this issue. It had breathtaking art, great pacing, lots of action and intrigue as well as turmoil as far as the relationship between Aunt May and Peter is concerned. Parker was in a tough spot in this era. He had trouble selling pix to the Bugle, he could never find a time to have a serious talk with his girlfriend the Black Cat and he had dropped out of college, much to his Aunt’s dismay. Things were pretty bleak. It seemed the only thing he did have going for him was his amazing new costume!

…but we all know how that eventually turns out. 😉

Until next time… same spider-time, same spider-channel.


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand

Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

Amazing Spider-Man #253

Greetings Webheads!

Wow, already my 4th post in just as many days! I gotta tell you, I’m feeling pretty good about this. I know I won’t always be able to keep up with posting one of these per day, but I’m gonna try my hardest to not have you folks wait too long for the next edition.

Today we’ll be looking at the Amazing Spider-Man issue #253. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it except that it does contain the first appearance of The Rose to which writer Tom DeFalco recounts the following:

“When I created the Rose, I wanted a character in middle management. We had all the big crimelords, and then the second-tier crimelords, and this guy was supposed to be second-tier. He doesn’t fight, he hires people to do the fighting. I put him in a mask to make him distinctive. It was not a plan that he would have a secret identity. But at some point later on, I was reading something about the big mystery of “Who is the Rose?” I didn’t realize there was a mystery! So I realized I’d have to come up with something for the Rose, and I figured I’d use Roderick Kingsley, because we’d already eliminated him as the Hobgoblin but he fit perfectly as the Rose.”
~ Back Issue Magazine, Issue 35, Page 15 (July 2009)

But DeFalco was fired as writer of Amazing Spider-Man before he could reveal Kingsley as The Rose. The Rose’s secret identity was later revealed to have been Richard Fisk, the Kingpin’s son.


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #253AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #253
Cover Date: June 1984
Cover Artist: Rick Leonardi

BY MYSELF BETRAYED!

Writers: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Bill Anderson
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary: Peter Parker is on photo assignment at a Football game with Daily Bugle sports columnist, Wendy Thorton. There, Peter runs into a former chemistry student of his named Tony Nesters who also happens to be the younger brother of the New York Mammoths QB, Ray Nesters. After the game, we find out that Ray Nesters has been throwing games for a gangster called The Rose.

Later, after having dinner with his Aunt May and Nathan Lubensky, Peter takes the opportunity to tell May that he has postponed his graduate studies. She does not take the news well.

Back at the Daily Bugle, Wendy pairs up with Peter again to interview Ray Nesters at his apartment. When they get there, they find the Quartback rushing past them into the elevator. Peter and Wendy discover that Ray’s apartment has been ransacked, so Peter quickly sneaks out the window in pursuit.

The chase leads Spider-Man to a warehouse, where The Rose is holding Tony Nesters hostage. Spidey fights his way through a horde of goons only to end up under a pile of crates, keeping Ray Nesters from getting crushed after The Rose knocked the stack down to make an escape.

The story ends with Ray Nesters having confessed his ties to organized crimes through an exclusive interview with Wendy Thorton, thus ensuring the safety of his little brother.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

  • Page 5 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #6
  • Page 10 – Amazing Spider-Man #243
  • Page 11 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man (recent issues)

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Betty Brant
  • Joseph “Robbie” Robertson
  • May Parker
  • Nathan Lubensky
  • Rose (First Appearance)
  • Wendy Thorton (First Appearance)

Blogger’s Thoughts: DeFalco manages to craft a mature one issue story that serves as a great introduction to the villainous Rose. A sports betting racket seems to be right up the alley for a gangster of The Rose’s stature. DeFalco also manages to weave believable links to connect Peter Parker and the Daily Bugle to the events that transpire throughout the story. All the while, Peter continues to adjust to his alien costume as he attempts to deal with personal issues like his relationship with Black Cat and telling his Aunt that he has dropped out of college. Overall, it’s a pretty solid bit of storytelling with as much drama as action.

Speaking of action, the final showdown at the Rose’s warehouse is beautifully depicted by Rick Leonardi. It’s a shame that he never got steady work on Amazing Spider-Man, but thankfully some of us got to enjoy much of his work in the 90’s as the man co-responsible for launching the Spider-Man 2099 title with writer Peter David. Leonardi penciled nearly half of that run.

As far as the Alien Costume Saga goes, Amazing Spider-Man #253 doesn’t do much to push that plot along except for Peter yet again reminding himself that he needs to visit Reed Richards to further analyse the suit.

And with that, we wrap up another edition of whatever the hell this is, lol. Seriously folks, if you have any suggestions on what I should call this segment, just shout it out.

See you back here soon when we take a look at Amazing Spider-Man #254!


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand
Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net

Amazing Spider-Man #252

Greetings Webheads!

Today we take a look at a key issue in Spider-Man’s publishing history. Amazing Spider-Man #252. This issue is kind of a big deal for a few reasons. First and most obvious is Spidey’s new look. Gone were the classic red & blues which had now been replaced by a much more menacing all-black costume with prominent white spider wrapping around the torso area. Purists will tell you that this new costume actually made its very first published appearance in Amazing Heroes #39 (Jan. 1984) followed by Marvel Age #12 (Mar. 1984) before debuting in Spider-Man’s own flagship series a few months later. Although, it wouldn’t be until Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 hit the newsstands in December 1984 that readers would witness exactly how Spider-Man obtained the costume.

The original concept for the costume was submitted to Marvel Comics sometime in the summer of 1982 by a fan named Randy Schueller. Marvel bought the idea from him for 220 dollars.

The second reason why this issue is a milestone is that it marked the end of Roger Stern’s undisrupted 24-issue run on the Amazing Spider-Man title (#229 to #252).

So any true Amazing Spider-Man collector worth his salt either already has this issue in their collection or is vying to own it.

Let’s take a look, shall we?


Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #252AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #252
Cover Date: May 1984
Cover Artist: Ron Frenz

HOMECOMING!

Writers: Roger Stern (plot) & Tom DeFalco (script)
Artist: Ron Frenz
Inker: Brett Breeding
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue Summary:  Spider-Man leaps out of the suddenly reappeared alien monument that caused him to vanish at the end of last issue (in case you weren’t paying attention, the Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars took place between the Amazing Spider-Man #251 & #252). He is carrying Dr. Curt Connors and wearing an all-new, all-black costume.

The costume is more than it seems as it obeys Peter Parker’s mental commands and opens up to hide Peter’s wallet and keys which he had left high up in a tree with his clothing before his disappearance. He drops Dr. Connors off at his home to his family before heading back to his own apartment to contact Aunt May. While out to grab himself some dinner, the Black Cat drops in through the skylight of Peter’s apartment in search of Spider-Man to tell him about her newly gained powers. She leaves before he’s had a chance to return.

Peter Parker feels restless and has trouble falling asleep. Before he can even finish contemplating patrolling the city as Spider-Man, his new costume slithers across the floor and envelopes him. Peter reminds himself that he needs to pay Mr. Fantastic a visit so that they may study the alien costume further. During his patrol, he stops a mugging and realizes that his new look is more terrifying to innocent bystanders than to muggers. He moves on to break-up a domestic dispute and grabs the couple for an impromptu web swing across New York City. Spider-Man is glad to be back home and feels invigorated.

Other issues referenced in Editor’s Notes:

  • Page 7 – Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 to #12
  • Page 8 – Amazing Spider-Man #251
  • Page 12 – Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #89

Notable Character Appearances:

  • Black Cat
  • Dr. Curtis Connors
  • J. Jonah Jameson
  • Joseph “Robbie” Robertson
  • May Parker
  • Nathan Lubensky

Trivia:

  • The cover is a homage to Amazing Fantasy #15

Blogger’s Thoughts: As far as single issues go, this one is actually pretty lack-luster. The thing to keep in mind is that it was Stern’s final issue on Amazing Spider-Man and has only come back to write a handful of issues since then. Naturally, he wasn’t going to kick off a new adventure for ol’webhead before handing over full writing duties to Tom DeFalco. This issue really only served as a bookend to the Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars story, introducing readers to the alien costume before it even had the chance to appear in the afformentioned 12-issue limited series.

On the artwork front, Ron Frenz was a little more subdued here because of the lack of action. I don’t recall Spidey even throwing a single punch in this issue. The slower pace did allow Frenz to make use of creative “camera angles” in many panels though. The panel backgrounds are also highly detailed in most cases, giving us good looks at New York City from above, the interior of Peter’s apartment as well as Central Park, where Spider-Man first appears at the beginning of the issue.

The changing of Inker and Colorist from last issue might have also contributed to the more polished feel of this book.

I wonder if any of these guys even knew how much of an impact this alien costume concept was going to have on the history of the character and the eventual creation of one of Spider-Man’s most lethal foes. Could they also have known that 30 years later, a double amputee Eugene “Flash” Thompson would donne that very same costume as Agent Venom and travel through space in search of its homeworld?

Hmm.

Well, until next time, thanks for reading.


Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts & ideas.

Dan “SpidermanGeek” Briand

Twitter: @SpidermanGeek
Email: spidermangeek@comicattack.net