Written by: Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Steve Ditko
Lettered by: Sam Rosen
Originally published: March 1964
Most of the last couple issues I read seem to have taken place during this issue, in the time that elapses between panels. That’s pretty cool.
The last couple issues of Untold Tales kept mentioning the Big Man and the Enforcers and how they were taking over the New York gang scene. I’d assumed this was referring to Kingpin, but this issue completely proves me wrong. I’m not really convinced the Kingpin stuff fits in with the overall canon stories at all. If they do, it’ll take a smarter man than myself to figure out where.
Anyway, now that I’ve seen the Enforcers, I realize I’ve seen them before in Tales of the Marvels: Inner Demons working for Norman Osborn. Here, though, they aren’t – it turns out the Big Man is some dude named Foswell who’s a writer for the Bugle. That’s not terribly interesting and, frankly, neither is most of the Big Man / Enforcers action stuff that goes down. In fact, I figured out another thing I don’t like about these old books: the characters are always fucking narrating their own fights. Jesus shit, I don’t need Spider-Man to tell me he’s going to jump out of the way; it’s a fucking comic book, show him jumping out of the way.
The really good thing about this book was all the character development and personal plot development. Betty Brant is involved with the Enforcers and splits town, Peter has to deal with feelings of betrayal when Betty won’t confide in him, and JJJ admits that he’s jealous and envious of Spider-Man. Good stuff.
My big wish is that these Lee/Ditko books could be more consistent.