The Silver Spider OR That Spider-Man’s a Menace I Tell Ya!
This is a landmark issue that illustrates the first ever meeting between Spider-Man and The Silver Surfer. Was I excited to see Spidey on the cover? You betcha! The critically acclaimed Silver Surfer series has had its ups and downs – thankfully mainly ups. The theme running through the series is that humans mistrust the Surfer, who is stuck on Earth, because they fear him, because he’s different and because they don’t understand his powers. A recurring event in the series has been the Surfer continuing to help mankind and mankind continuing to turn on him to the point where at the end of the last issues (#15) the Surfer walked away with a tear in his eye!
Enter our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, an often misunderstood hero himself. Surely he will understand the Surfer’s situation and be able to empathise with him! Apparently not. Once the heroes meet, the usual misunderstanding occurs followed by an avoidable fight. But it was great to see two of my favourite heroes square off. One might think the Surfer’s Power Cosmic would easily overcome Spider-Man but Spidey didn’t get to where he is by being an easy target! The fight scene was well illustrated and was completely plausible given the Surfer’s reluctance to harm Spider-Man.
However I have a major problem with how Spidey’s personality was portrayed. By this time in The Amazing Spider-Man he had already (mostly) moved past his rash, youthful anger and started behaving more maturely. But for this issue it seems Stan Lee decided to ignore that and make him as hot headed as he used to be a few years ago. Also his intelligence seemed to be SLIGHTLY lower than normal as he mistook the Surfer’s attempt to save him as another attack.
Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable read even considering the issues above. There was one panel with an Editor’s Note by Stan Lee telling us that Doc Ock and Vulture are Spider-Man villains that had me smiling. The best part was the conclusion where the Surfer proved he has more humanity than any of the humans in this issue – possibly even Spider-Man.