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Amazing Spider-Man
# 31-40, Annual #2


Amazing Spider-Man # 31: "If This Be My Destiny..." 
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJJ
Synopsis:
Spidey fails to stop a group of well-organised robbers steal several radioactive devices. The next day, Peter is kept busy by his first day at Empire State University, and returns home as Aunt May becomes seriously ill. Overly concerned by his Aunt's condition, Peter unintentionally alienates his fellow students, Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy. Spidey gets tipped off on the next burglary attempt, but fails again to thwart the schemes of the Master Planner.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy.

Amazing Spider-Man # 32: "Man On A Rampage!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating:
JJJJJ
Synopsis:
Peter refuses to let Betty into his life as Ned expects an answer to her marriage proposal. Aunt May is suffering from blood poisoning caused by the transfusion she received from Peter (issue #10). Spidey seeks out Dr Connor, and he needs  the ISO-36 serum, which has just been stolen by the Master Planner. Spidey tears through the city's underworld and tracks down the Master Planner, who turns out to be Doctor Octopus. During their battle, Spidey is trapped under the rubble of the collapsed chamber, inches away from the ISO-36.

Jay's Notes:

  • Doctor Octopus last seen in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.

Amazing Spider-Man # 33: "The Final Chapter!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJJ
Synopsis:
Spidey refuses to give up and finds the strength to free himself. He battles through Doc Ock's henchmen to get the ISO-36 and escapes with it. He gets it to Dr. Connors and they develop a serum for Aunt May. Spidey gets the serum to the hospital and it saves Aunt May's life.

Amazing Spider-Man # 34: "The Thrill of the Hunt!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
Kraven returns to America and seeks his greatest prey, Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Aunt May's health improves as does Peter's mood. Kraven, disguised as Spider-Man, hounds J. Jonah Jameson which of course draws out the real Spider-Man. After an all-out battle, Spider-Man defeats Kraven once again. Peter can't muster the courage to face Betty Brant, who unknown to him has left her job at the Daily Bugle. 

Jay's Notes:

  • Kraven last seen in Amazing Spider-Man #15.

Amazing Spider-Man # 35: "The Molten Man Regrets ...!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating:
JJJJ
Synopsis:
The Molten Man is released from prison and tries a subtler approach to crime. Spidey finally catches up with him and takes him on in a no-holds barred battle. Spidey defeats the Molten Man and turns him over to the authorities. Peter checks in on Betty only to find that she's left. He begins to get suspicious about her and Ned Leeds, since he's out of the office as well.

Jay's Notes:

  • Molten Man last seen in Amazing Spider-Man #28.

Amazing Spider-Man # 36: "When Falls the Meteor!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
An amateur scientists comes across a strange meteor and is exposes to a strange gas which grants him incredible powers. He dons a costume and takes the name Looter and begins a one-man crime wave. Spidey eventually catches up with him and after a great slug out, defeats the Looter.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance and origin of the Looter.

Amazing Spider-Man # 37: "Once Upon a Time, There was a Robot"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
Professor Stromm is release from prison and puts in motion a plan to get revenge on the man who falsely had him imprisoned, Norman Osborn. Spidey has a run-in with one of Stromm's robots who destroys one of Osborn's electronics plants. Stromm then sends another robot directly after Osborn, but Spidey comes to his rescue. Spidey defeats Stromm, but someone (Osborn) tries to kill Stromm and the shock gives Stromm a fatal heart attack.

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Professor Stromm.
  • Spidey actually tracks his spider tracer using his spider-sense for the first time.

Amazing Spider-Man # 38: "Just a Guy Named Joe!"
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Artist: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ
Synopsis:
A perennial loser named Joe Smith gets into an accident during a film shoot and it leaves him disoriented but with super strength. Spidey gets into a brief battle with him, but Joe makes his escape. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn puts a mob bounty on Spidey. Spidey quickly becomes the target of various low-lifes who are looking to get rich quick. Spidey catches up with Joe and after a brief battle, Joe regains his wits, but loses his strength. 

Jay's Notes:

  • First appearance of Joe Smith.
  • Last issue of co-plots and art by Ditko.

Amazing Spider-Man # 39: "How Green was my Goblin!"
Writer: Stan Lee/John Romita
Penciller: John Romita
Inker: Mike Esposito (as Mickey Demeo)
Jay's Rating:
JJJJJ
Synopsis:
The Goblin prepares for another confrontation with Spider-Man, while Peter learns that Aunt May's heart condition is serious and any sudden shock could prove fatal. The Goblin stages a robbery and has one of his thugs use a gas grenade on him that robs him of his spider sense.  Without his spider sense, Spider doesn't detect the Goblin who follows him and learns his secret identity. The Green Goblin confronts Peter and manages to capture him since he's too close to home and if he's seen by Aunt May it may kill her. Back at his lair, the Goblin reveals himself to be Norman Osborn.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #178.

Amazing Spider-Man # 40: "Spidey Saves the Day!"
Writer: Stan Lee/John Romita
Penciller: John Romita
Inker: Mike Esposito (as Mickey Demeo)
Jay's Rating:
JJJJJ
Synopsis:
The Green Goblin, revealed last issues to be Norman Osborn, gloats over a captive Spider-Man. Spidey manages to keep Osborn busy telling his life story and origin. Osborn knows Spidey is trying to free himself, and releases him go so that he can defeat him once and for all. Spidey, however, is up to the task and defeats the Green Goblin despite his bag of tricks. The aftermath of the battle leaves Osborn with amnesia and not recollection of his activities as the Green Goblin.

Jay's Notes:

  • Reprinted in Marvel Tales #178.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 2:
"The Wonderous World of Dr. Strange!" 
Writer: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko
Penciller: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
Jay's Rating: JJJJ1/2
Synopsis:
Xandu sends a couple of ensorcered thugs after Dr. Strange. They beat him up take the second half of the wand of Watoomb. Spidey tries to stop them, but they're too much for him. He follows them to Xandu's lair. Dr. Strange joins in against Xandu, but he's too much for both of them now that he has the complete wand of Watoomb. Dr. Strange and Spidey regroup and combine their attack on Xandu. They manage to take back the wand and defeat Xandu.

Jay's Notes:

  • An outstanding job by Ditko.

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