The First "Heavyweight" Villain
The cover: 4 stars
A good cover spoiled by my pet hate in comic books, the dreaded word balloon. They disappeared around the end of 1963 and didn’t really re-appear until early 1970. I always felt that they diminished the artist’s power to entice the reader into buying the comic based on pure imagery. Spidey is being held helpless by 4 mechanical arms attached to a shadowy, menacing figure so why do we need a word balloon stating exactly what we can see for ourselves. It’s nowhere near as good as the issue #2 cover, but it’s still one of the iconic images from Spider-Man’s history because it’s the first sight of one of Spidey’s greatest villains.
The Strangest Foe Of All Time … Doctor Octopus (21 pages)
The first full length story for our new hero, guest starring the Human Torch and the most powerful foe he has faced yet, but it’s still early days for our idol. We’re only up to issue #3, Spidey’s sixth adventure and already he’s getting cocky thinking he’s unbeatable and a few pages later he gets beaten, loses his confidence, is inspired to try again, fights back against the odds and, of course, eventually wins. Yes, this story sets the trend for many, many future story-lines.
Stan’s dialogue is a bit stilted, lacking some the humour we usually associate with our hero and Steve’s artwork isn’t quite as good as the previous issue, but it’s still a brilliant comic, after all Spidey/Peter’s character is still in it’s formative stages.
Exactly how Peter’s Spider sense works still seems to be undecided at this point. He senses danger … yes, but he also uses his spider sense to locate the Human Torch in his hotel room, which sort of negates the need to develop his spider tracer later on. Also in issue #2 he locates the Tinkerer by sensing the radio waves in the doctored radios.
We have the first appearance of the letters page, the Spider’s Web.There’s also a bonus pin-up page.