The Mark of the Man-Wolf
Scripter: Gerry Conway
Penciller: Gil Kane
Inkers: John Romita, T. Mortellero
Letterer: Artie Simek
Colorist: David Hunt
Originally published: September 1973
Ten days since Gwen and Norman Osborn bit it, and things aren’t getting any better for Spider-Man. The issue opens in the rain, and it’s a perfect way to set the mood. Mysteries still abound – who is covering up Osborn’s secret identity? What was up with that guy in Montreal that wanted to see Aunt May?
Those questions won’t be answered here, unfortunately. This issue shows Peter’s continuing struggle to deal with Gwen’s death, as well as introducing a new problem: J.J. Jameson’s son John has become a werewolf!
First, the Gwen stuff. Pete oscillates between trying to convince himself that he’s fine and ready to move on, and having wild outbursts and mood swings that point to the exact opposite. He attempts to go to class, can’t handle it, and flips out at MJ and Flash. These school scenes are the best in the issue. Later, he cracks up and smashes a newspaper box, destroying its content. (Sure he often destroys way more property than that, but it’s usually in the form of Spider-Man and usually for a greater good. This time he was just venting.) He then takes off, fully intending to attack Jameson. He’s become unhinged. The anger fades, but still…pretty shocking that it bubbled up in the first place.
Man-Wolf: Dave Hunt’s colouring gets lousy marks for his work on John Jameson. The Junior JJ has always been a striking brunette, but Hunt has given him completely grey hair. I realize that his hair could have greyed over time, but it’s obviously just a screw up. It irks me. And what’s with all the werewolf stuff? This is from September ’73. In August ’73, Spider-Man was dealing with the Werewolf. Now he has Man-Wolf? Gerry Conway wrote this one and plotted the other one, so it isn’t just a crazy coincidence. Conway’s wolf-crazy.
This issue wasn’t bad, and it’s nice to get back into an issue that’s taking a larger look at the ongoing arc, rather than just wrapping everything up super neatly. The Man-Wolf stuff doesn’t get resolved here, and is continued in the next ASM.
By the way, I think this is the last Gil Kane appearance in Amazing Spider-Man. His art here pretty much sums up how I’ve felt about his whole run – it’s a total mixed bag. There are some things in here that I love, that look totally awesome. And there are some panels that just look uninspired and bad. I don’t know if it’s just me, but Kane’s work has never seemed consistent. I’m usually excited by artist changes, and this isn’t an exception. I just hope the new stuff is by someone good!