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Amazing Spider-Man
# 21-30, Annual #1


Amazing Spider-Man # 21: "Where Flies the Beetle!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Beetle, released from jail and eager for revenge, sets his sights on the Torch's girlfriend Doris. However, Peter Parker has also taken an interest in Doris, but Spidey can't stop the Beetle from kidnaping her. The Human Torch flies off the handle and attacks Spidey, but Spidey manages to lead him to the Beetle where they take him down.

Amazing Spider-Man # 22:
"Preeeesenting ... the Clown, and his Masters of Menace!" 
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Spidey checks in on the Circus of Crime, who have just been released from prison, and plants a spidey tracer on the Ringmaster. Unfortunately, the Circus of Crime decides to boot out the Ringmaster and appoint the Clown as their new leader. The new Masters of Menace begin a crime spree, and Spidey follows up on the wrong lead. However, Spidey does catch on and captures the Masters of Menace, who through their own greed virtually defeat themselves.

Amazing Spider-Man # 23: "The Goblin and Gangsters"
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Spidey gets caught between the Green Goblin, who attempting to cut into the local mob scene, and the mobsters themselves. He finally catches on to what's going, but fails to bring in the Green Goblin. However, the Green Goblin did his job too well and the police ended up arresting the entire gang, leaving him nothing to take over.

Amazing Spider-Man # 24: "Spider-Man Goes Mad!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJJ
Synopsis:
J. Jonah Jameson steps up his campaign against Spidey and enlist the help of a European psychiatrist Dr. Rinehart who believes that Spidey's insane. Unfortunately, Spidey's fragile self-confidence makes him vulnerable and he decides to turn himself into Dr. Rinehart. Ironically, J. Jonah Jameson, who has learns that Dr. Rinehart is a phony, inadvertently rescues Spidey, who discovers that Dr. Rinehart is Mysterio. Mysterio had carefully laid this trap for Spidey and had almost defeated him.

Amazing Spider-Man # 25: "Captured by J. Jonah Jameson!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
Professor Smythe presents his Spider Slayer to J. Jonah Jameson, who is suitably impressed by the robot. The robot's sensors are set for Spidey and with Jameson's face on it, it seeks him out. Spidey's initial encounter with the robot forces him to flee. Spidey tires of the pursuit and faces the Spider Slayer. The robot is too much for Spidey and it captures him. Spidey is able to free himself before Smythe and Jameson arrive to personally take him in.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Mary Jane Watson, except that her face is hidden.
  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #163.

Amazing Spider-Man # 26: "The Mystery of the Man in the Crime-Master's Mask!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
The Crime Master reneges on his deal with the Green Goblin and decides to take on the underworld on his own. Spidey believes that Frederick Foswell, who was a former mob boss called Big Man and who is now working for the Bugle, has some kind of connection to the Crime Master. While investigating Foswell, Spidey battles the Crime Master and is beat up. Spidey continues his investigation, but is caught off guard by the Green Goblin and captured.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #164

Amazing Spider-Man # 27: "Bring Back my Goblin to Me!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
The Green Goblin upstages the Crime Master's attempt to seize control of the underworld, but delivering a defeated Spider-Man. Spidey gets a break as the warehouse is raided by the cops and he helps the cops round up most of the thugs. The Green Goblin and the Crime Master get away though. As it turns out, Foswell actually tips off the police to the Crime Master's identity, but the Crime Master is killed before he can be apprehended.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #165.

Amazing Spider-Man # 28: "The Menance of the Molten Man!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Peter Parker pays a visit to Dr. Smythe and gets his costume back (taken back in issue #25). Smythe's lab assistant, Raxton, gets in an argument with Smythe over the liquid metal alloy they invented together. They fight and the jar containing the liquid breaks and Raxton is doused it in. Strangely his skin absorbs the metal alloy and he discovers how powerful he has become. Spidey tracks him down and defeats him in time to rush over to his high school graduation. Peter wins a science scholarship and all he has to do is sit through a speech by guest speaker J. Jonah Jameson.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance and origin of the Molten Man.
  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #166.
  • Spidey teams up with Dr. Strange to battle Xandu in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2.

Amazing Spider-Man # 29: "Never Step on a Scorpion! or ... You Think It's Easy to Dream up Titles Like This?"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Scorpion escapes from jail and sets his sights on J. Jonah Jameson. Spidey does his best to draw the Scorpion's attention, but the Scorpion makes his move on Jameson first. Spidey comes to Jameson's rescue and defeats the Scorpion. Meanwhile, Ned Leeds returns from his assignment in Europe and spends a lot of time with Betty, much to Peter's dismay.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #168.

Amazing Spider-Man # 30: "The Claws of the Cat!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJ1/2
Synopsis:
J. Jonah Jameson becomes the next victim of the burglar known as the Cat. Jameson puts out a $1,000 reward for the Cat's capture and Spidey's eager to collect the reward. Spidey catches up with the Cat, but he leads him right into the police's hands. Jameson is overjoyed that he doesn't have to pay anyone the reward, espcially not having to hand it over to Spidey. Meanwhile, Betty announces to Peter that Ned has proposed to her. Peter is prepared to offer his own proposal but realizes that Spidey will always get in the way of love life.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #169


Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 1: "The Sinister Six!"
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJJ
Synopsis:
Doc Ock escapes from prison and recruits Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, and the Vulture to form the Sinister Six. Meanwhile, Spidey struggles with the mysterious loss of his powers. The Sinister Six kidnap Betty and Aunt May as bait. Spidey regains his powers in time to run through a gauntlet of his fiercest enemies. He defeats each villain and rescues the two most important women in his life.

Jay's Notes:

  • Cameos by Captain America, Dr. Strange, the Fantastic Four, Giant Man and Wasp, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men.
  • Beautiful splash pages by Ditko, one with Spidey and each member of the Sinister Six.
  • Solid plot device using the egos of the Sinister Six to defeat themselves.

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