The Reprehensible Riddle of…The Sorcerer!
Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Ross Andru
Embellished by: Bill Everett
Lettered by: Sam Rosen
Originally published: May 1968
A new Spider-Man artist! He does a good job.
We open on the Sorcerer in his awesomely-decorated home. He is “ready to execute the strangest crime ever attempted” ( = killing Spider-Man). This first page after the splash is actually super awesome and kinda creepy. Apparently he has some kind of mind-power that can reach Spider-Man anywhere and give him a “strange malady”.
We cut to Spider-Man as he’s about to apprehend some hoods and he is, in fact, becoming weak and dizzy. Fortunately, Spider-Man can still kick their asses, but he’s actually in pretty rough shape. We then see the Sorcerer again where we learn this is just the beginning, and that he plans to get to the worse stuff in a bit. He doesn’t even have to leave his apartment, he’s just going to turn Spidey’s brain to mush or something and Spider-Man won’t have any idea what’s going on.
The Sorcerer’s origin: he was an expert on psychic research and had ESP. He went to India (I think) and Africa and learned a bunch of shit there. I guess that’s not really an origin. He also has a “psychic intensifier” machine that helps him.
Even though he didn’t use one originally, the Sorcerer then grabs a Spider-Man “juju doll”, and uses it to make Peter’s brain explode in even more pain. Later, he actually starts controlling Peter’s actions and makes Peter take a flight to New Orleans (where Mardi Gras is on!). Spider-Man is mentally led to a warehouse where he finds something the Sorcerer refers to both as “the synthetic man” and “the hollow man” – basically a huge android or golem of some kind. Spider-Man is still out of it and in serious pain, and the synthetic man kicks his ass.
This is where the story falls apart. The Sorcerer had mailed his Spider-Man juju doll to “Spider-Man c/o General Delivery”, assuming it would eventually end up with the police and that he would get some credit for what he had done. However, he included a return address! So, instead of giving the package to the cops, the post office simply returns it to the stupid-ass Sorcerer. Fine, he’s completely inept. But, the mailman doesn’t simply leave the package in a mailbox or anything, he chooses to actually ring the Sorcerer’s doorbell. Then, “the shrill ring of the doorbell [changes] the mystic pitch of the sorcerer’s psycho-intensifier…[changes] it just enough to case a deadly mental feedback.” What the fuck?! That is so lame. Fuck this.
So yeah, now the Sorcerer’s control of Spider-Man and the synthetic man is broken. The synthetic man inexplicably walks into the gulf, completely submerging himself, and it’s all over.
This started off super awesome and I was considering giving it five stars. The end was so infuriating, though, that I’m dropping it down to 2.5. Suck on that!
Also: Um…why is there a shower right in the middle of Peter’s bedroom? And why is Harry showering in it?