Comic Browser:


Amazing Spider-Man #12: Review

May 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Unmasked by Dr. Octopus!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #12 Review by (December 27, 2023)

Review: Spider-Man unmasked, just as the cover promised! I consider this one to be one of the more memorable of the early batch of Spidey issues, featuring Doctor Octopus yet again, making him the first villain to appear in two consecutive issues! Because of this, I often remembered this and last issue as being a two part story, but each issue tells a rather complete story, so it’s not really a two parter, just two consecutive single issues with the same villain. This issue is really cool, with Peter showing real bravery by standing up to Doc Ock even while sick, leading to the unmasking. Luckily, no one thinks Pete was the real Spider-Man, due to how easily he went down, allowing for a genuine unmasking but also letting him keep his identity a secret. Some great stuff.

Although, with Peter weakened from the blood transfusion in issue 10, his sprained ankle in issue 11, and now the temporary flu in issue 12, that makes it three issues in a row where they gave Spidey some kind of handicap for dramatic purposes. Stan was writing so much during this period, it’s no wonder he reused plot elements from time to time. Though three consecutive issues certainly raises some eyebrows. There’s some great Spidey and Doc Ock action in their second bout this issue, with the environment actually taking out Doc Ock, rather than Spider-Man himself. Doc Ock himself is sure to point this out, stating that he was really defeated by the fire and not by Spider-Man. There’s then a puzzling moment where a cop clarifies that he’s been caught by Spider-Man each time they’ve tussled, even though he literally escaped from Spidey last issue. Stan’s infamous memory strikes again! Overall, a fantastic issue, as Doc Ock is proving himself as Spidey’s, currently, most formidable and compelling villain!

Comments: First time a villain appears in two consecutive issues. First time Spider-Man gets publicly unmasked. Peter finally asks out Betty Brant this issue. Peter makes a reference to Billy Graham, longstanding Christian televangelist.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #12 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Directly following up on last issue, this one begins with a Daily Bugle publication proclaiming how Doctor Octopus escaped during his battle with Spider-Man. Spidey arrives at the Daily Bugle to find the temporary secretary, hired by J. Jonah Jameson to replace Betty Brant, angrily quitting and storming off. Betty arrives and asks for her job back and Jonah happily, as happily as he is capable of, takes her back. Meanwhile, after escaping from Spider-Man in their last struggle, Doctor Octopus embarked upon a crime spree across the country, in order to try and draw Spider-Man to him, to destroy him once and for all. After continuously failing to draw Spider-Man out, Ock decides to return to New York and take the fight to him.

Back in New York, it’s made apparent that Spider-Man hasn’t been after Doc Ock due the fact that he has no money, as well as exams coming up, typical teenager problems, unbeknownst to Ock. Aunt May worries that Peter may be getting sick, as Peter heads to school. Back at the Daily Bugle, Betty gets a call from a mysterious person, who we see is Doctor Octopus, in order to ascertain that she still works at the Bugle. Peter soon arrives, and just after, Doc Ock bursts in through the window in order to take Betty prisoner, to draw Spider-Man out. Ock holds back Peter and Jameson, and tells Jameson to print a note for Spider-Man in his paper, telling him to come to Coney Island for their showdown, if he wants to save Betty. Peter comes back later to the Bugle as Spider-Man, pretending to be oblivious, and Jameson points him in Ock’s direction, before also deciding to head to Coney Island himself, in order to make sure they get the story.

On the way to Coney Island, Peter realizes that Aunt May was right, and he actually is getting sick, as it’s getting harder and harder to move upright. He arrives at Coney Island, just as Betty gets free of her restraints, and tries to take Ock by surprise. However, Spidey is so weakened from his flu, that his punches barely have any effect, and Doc Ock quickly overwhelms him and leaves him barely conscious. He unmasks Spidey, for everyone to see, including Betty and Jameson, but surmises that it was just Peter dressing up like Spider-Man, rather than the genuine article. Doc Ock makes his escape after tossing Peter aside, and Peter is taken home, where a doctor diagnoses him with a simple 24 hour virus, saying he should be good as new tomorrow. During the night, Peter has fitful dreams of his Spider-Man persona berating him for going after Doc Ock while he was sick.

Peter awakens the next day, feeling good as new, but gets a verbal lashing from Aunt May, as she was told what had really happened the previous night. Peter promises not to be so reckless in the future and heads to school. At school, Peter earns some derision from Flash Thompson about the ordeal, which earns Flash the ire of Liz Allan, flipping out on him, as she thinks that Peter was incredibly brave. In his hideout, Doctor Octopus is furious about the whole thing, feeling fooled by a teenager, and sets out to once again try and draw Spider-Man to him. He sets free a number of dangerous animals from the nearby zoo, and police attempt to deal with them as best they can. Peter finds that Liz is now much more interested in him than before, and ends up having to escape her in order to switch to Spider-Man.

Spider-Man arrives to help with the escaped animals, grabbing a lion and tossing it into a net held by awaiting police officers. He then recaptures a bear and a gorilla, as a short distance away, Doc Ock is about to drop a large sign onto a helpless crowd below. Spider-Man arrives just in time to web up the sign as he and Doc Ock face off once more. Spider-Man tries tying Ock to a large chimney, but he escapes it and continues his chase, eventually tagging Spider-Man. Spidey dips down an airshaft, but then uses his webs to fling himself back up quickly, surprising Doc Ock and allowing him to flip him over and land a good hit. Their scuffle eventually ends up with them falling through a skylight into a deserted sculptor’s studio, where the spilled cleaning fluid starts a fire!

The furious movements from Spidey and Ock, cause a large heavy sculpture to fall on Doc Ock, which then causes the floor to collapse under him, as the fire spreads. Spider-Man uses some quickly spun web shields to eventually escape the burning building, through the window. He changes back to Peter, as responding firefighters drag a barely conscious Doc Ock from the burning building, and hand him off to waiting police. Liz once again tries to ask out Peter but he brushes her off, heading himself to finally go ask out Betty, ending the story on a happy, hopeful note.


Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

Share This Page