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Amazing Spider-Man #11: Review

Apr 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Turning Point

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #11 Review by (December 27, 2023)

Review: One of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies returns with the second appearance of Doctor Octopus! The crux of the story is actually centered around Betty Brant, as we finally get answers on what’s been going on with her. Turns out, her brother owed some mobsters a lot of money and Betty got roped in to helping him. Doc Ock is honestly just kind of along for the ride at first but ends up being the real threat, as he often is. For the longest time, this was Bennett Brant’s only appearance. He shows up, dies, and then is mentioned every now and then. Decades later he would have a couple of appearances in flashbacks or in stories set in the early days. And then, in 2011, he was revealed to have not died at all. Yes, someone apparently cared enough about Bennett Brant to revive him almost 50 YEARS after a one issue appearance. Norman Osborn, eat your heart out.

This is a really cool story though, giving Betty more importance than usual, and establishing that characters, even relatively innocent ones, can die (Uncle Ben notwithstanding). There’s an odd bit of slightly lazy writing in which Spidey sprains his ankle, giving him something else to contend with in addition to Doc Ock and everything else, but it honestly doesn’t end up affecting that much. Plus, having Betty link Spider-Man somewhat to her brother’s death puts more fuel for drama, which always makes for great Spidey stories. Doc Ock got away as well, one of the first times a villain has escaped, leading for an even more memorable appearance next issue!

Comments: First use of a Spider Tracer, though they are not yet called as such. First appearance of Blackie Gaxton. First appearance and apparent death of Bennett Brant, which would be retconned almost 50 years later. Doctor Octopus’ last appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #3.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #11 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story opens with Peter Parker moping at home, pining over Betty Brant, who had left town the previous issue. Peter is snapped out of his thoughts by a news bulletin on the radio, stating that Doctor Octopus is being released from prison today.  Peter heads to the municipal prison as Spider-Man to try and convince the warden not to release Doc Ock, but the warden says that Ock has served his sentence, and they can’t hold him anymore. In his cell, Doctor Octopus awaits his upcoming release and revels in his increased aptitude with his mechanical arms, vowing not be captured again. Back at home, Peter constructs a small tracking device (later dubbed spider-tracers), in order to keep tabs on Doc Ock, and sets out to find him.

Spider-Man reaches the prison, right as Doc Ock is being released and witnesses him get into a car with none other than Betty Brant! Spider-Man manages to throw his new tracer onto the car and investigates a road map that fell out of the car, for Philadelphia, concluding that that’s where they must be headed. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a prolific criminal named Blackie Gaxton meets in his cell with his lawyer, Betty’s brother Bennett Brant. Blackie promises to waive Bennett’s gambling debts owed him once Betty brings Doctor Octopus to break him out of jail. Bennett feels ashamed in his whole situation and returns home to find Doctor Octopus and Betty have arrived. Bennett promises to make it up to Betty, but doesn’t yet have the courage to leave.

Back in New York, Peter tells Aunt May that he’s going on a trip to Philadelphia, and a short flight later, lands in the city of brotherly love. Spidey swings around until he gets a ping from the tracer he put on Betty’s car, and changes to Peter to confront her. Both of them feeling how much they mean to each other, Betty explains her whole situation to Peter, and Peter reassures her by telling her that he heard that Spider-Man is in Philly, and he’ll certainly put a stop to things! Peter also makes the decision, that once everything is taken care of, he’ll reveal to Betty that he’s Spider-Man. That night, Doctor Octopus makes his way to Blackie’s holding cell and breaks him out. Spider-Man arrives just too late and the guards think Spider-Man is the one who helped Blackie escape, forcing Spider-Man to flee himself.

Before Spider-Man can make it back to Betty, some of Blackie’s goons take Betty and Bennett hostage aboard a steamboat, just before Doc Ock and Blackie arrive as well. Spider-Man races there as well, still following the tracer, but in his tunnel-visioned haste, accidentally sprains his ankle as he lands on the boat. Blackie’s guys take the handicapped Spider-Man to their boss, where Doctor Octopus reveals that he’s taking over, and has no need of Blackie anymore. Spider-Man knocks some of Blackie’s guys into Ock, sending them tumbling into another room, as Blackie grabs a nearby gun. Spider-Man wrestles with Blackie, but an errant shot ends up hitting Bennett, killing him. This causes Betty to lash out, blaming Spider-Man for her brother’s death.

Furious, Spider-Man chases after Blackie, completely barreling through all his guys and delivering an earth shattering blow to Blackie. Doc Ock, equally furious, reappears, as Spider-Man tries to stay out of his reach. Spider-Man briefly stuns and evades Ock and goes to try and find Betty. Two of Blackie’s goons try to take Betty hostage to escape, but they’re intercepted by Doc Ock, who escapes onto the launch boat, initially there to pick up Blackie. Spider-Man realizes he’ll have less room to maneuver there, but chases after Doc Ock anyway. They tussle until the boat careens into a piling, knocking both Spidey and Ock into the sea! Ock makes his escape as Blackie and his goons are rounded up by the police. We end with Peter comforting Betty at Bennett’s funeral. Betty no longer blames Spider-Man, but still wants nothing to do with him, as he would just be another reminder of what she’s lost, with Peter realizing he can now never tell Betty the truth about himself.


Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Bennett Brant, Betty Brant, Blackie Gaxton.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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