“The Terrible Threat of the Living Brain”
“Spider-Man Tackles The Torch!”
Amazing Spider-Man #8
Written by Stan Lee
Pencils by Steve Ditko (Jack Kirby in part 2)
Inks by Steve Ditko
It’s a super special teenage issue this month as we see Parker slug it out with school rival Flash Thompson and even Johnny Storm gets a few pages to stretch out his talents with the wall-crawler. Not only this but we also get a rampaging computer “thinking machine” of sorts that goes berserk when someone accidentally bumps into it. Must be that time of the month. Sorry.
But yeah, a bit of a jam-packed issue with lots of little tid-bits but no real meat to any of the stories with the exception of Parker and Thompson’s boxing match which even then comes off as a little silly. Nevertheless, it’s still fun to read which is not at all what I can say for the Living Brain segment which just goes on and on and on. You can tell that Lee and company were having a rough time filling in the panels this month, as not only do we have lots of little miniature stories (plus a completely separate run-in with the Torch during which a bizarrely out-of-character Spider-Man drawn by Kirby acts like a complete jerk and ruins and party before running off more or less with tongue out, hands at ears singing “Naa naa naa naa”) but the stories themselves are milked to no end. Literally for about five pages, Spider-Man leaps about trying to get to the machine’s control box. Wow.
So I guess you could say that this is probably the poorest Spider-Man to date, and you’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that it is downright unreadable either—there’s just a high standard of quality expected from this series, which this one undeniably doesn’t get close to. Nevertheless, there are some fun moments here and although the last segment involving Torch is equally ridiculous, seeing Spider-man be a complete wise-guy troll is at the very least entertaining to watch. So it’s not all bad; but it’s something of a sign that the once impeccable Amazing series is starting to flounder.
MY SCORE: 5.0 (out of 10)