And Death Shall Come!
Story: Stan Lee
Art: Gil Kane
Inking: John Romita
Lettering: Sam Rosen
Originally published: November 1970
We open with Spider-Man realizing he has only a small amount of time to save himself before he is splattered on the pavement below. To complicate his predicament, he’s all out of web fluid. He is, however, able to grab onto some of Doc Ock’s tentacles and use them to swing through a window. He’s safe! Whew!
Spider-Man is able to hide in the building a get a brief reprieve from Dr. Octopus’s tentacles. He even is able to throw a spider tracer on them, so he can make sure to keep track of Ock later. Spidey decides that his best move for the time-being is to head home and get some rest. On the way home, Pete starts feeling ill. He runs into Captain George Stacy, who helps Peter home after the poor boy faints.
Pete wakes up to Gwen and her dad looking after him. He’s basically completely recovered. When Captain Stacy mentions this, it causes Pete to question how much Stacy has guessed about Pete’s secret identity. Pete goes back home and has an idea for how to defeat Doc Ock. He fills up his web shooters with a new web fluid he’s cooked up, but the exact nature of it remains a mystery. He also gives himself a new button to fire the fluid – right on his belt. Intriguing…
Spidey goes out to find Ock by following his spider tracer. He’s drawn towards a building where he finds – Doc Ock waiting for him! Ock found the tracer and laid a trap for Spidey, grabbing him as he approached. Ock proceeds to knock the crap out of Spidey up on the building’s roof. Luckily, Spider-Man eventually gets free, moves towards Ock and starts shooting webbing at his tentacles.
It take Ock a moment to realize that those tentacles will no longer obey him! That was Spidey’s secret plan! His webbing contained some sort of chemical that disrupted the signals from Ock’s brain. How did he come up with this? I’m not exactly sure. Seems kinda far-fetched. The afflicted tentacles start striking out randomly, then start attacking Doc Ock himself. This whole idea is really preposterous and just about ruins the whole issue for me.
Down below, Captain Stacy arrives among the crowd gathered below. Back on the roof, the tentacles are going nuts and smash the building’s chimney. The pieces of brick start falling to the ground, straight towards some stupid little kid. Captain Stacy jumps out and knocks the kid out of the way, but the bricks end up crushing Stacy!
Spidey rushes down to try and help Stacy, who is alive but incredibly weak. As he begins to rush Stacy to a doctor, we can hear the crowd in the background accusing Spider-Man of killing the retired captain. Stacy tells Spidey there’s no time, and begs him to be let down. As he’s dying, Stacy reveals that he knows that Spider-Man is really Peter, and asks Pete to take care of Gwen after he’s gone.
Stacy dies, and Spider-Man kinda flips out. He blames himself for Stacy’s death, and immediately draws parallels to his Uncle Ben’s death. This is not going to be good for Spidey’s psyche. As the issue ends, Spider-Man is holding Stacy’s body, wondering what will happen if Gwen learns that Peter caused her father’s death.
This issue was ok. I probably built it up a lot in my head, which is always a bad idea. I would probably give it four stars if it wasn’t for the completely unbelievable way in which Spider-Man was able to subdue Doctor Octopus. That really took me out of the story, and I think Stan probably could have come up with something a little better. Oh well, it is what it is – a classic issue that, like many others, has some flaws.
[Note on order: Captain Stacy mentions Pete’s flu in this issue, and Pete remembers that the last time he saw Stacy he did indeed have the flu. This messes up having this issue (along with ASM 88 and 89) so far after ASM 87. That’s not a huge deal, I can fit these in elsewhere I guess.]