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Amazing Spider-Man #16: Review

Sep 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Duel With Daredevil

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #16 Review by (January 3, 2024)

Review: A decades long partnership is formed, with the first meeting of Spider-Man and Daredevil! This was honestly a really fun issue, showcasing the first meeting between two of my favorite Marvel heroes. Daredevil was still really new as well, with this only being his fourth appearance ever, only having three issues of his own comic to his name at the time! It’s cool to see just how far back Spidey and DD’s friendship goes! Not only that, but this was also only the second ever appearance of the Circus of Crime, honestly working much better fighting Spidey and Daredevil than the Hulk, in my opinion. Though even here, they’re not a problem at all for the two heroes, with Daredevil even dipping out when he realizes Spidey doesn’t need any help. The circus setting made for some truly dynamic and acrobatic action though, with some of my favorite displays of Spidey’s powers so far! The setting really worked to his advantage.

I also think it’s interesting that there is a bit of a role reversal in the issue. Usually in this kind of story, the guest star would be the one to get hypnotized, forcing our main hero to reluctantly fight them, but here it’s the other way around, which makes perfect sense in context! I also found myself enjoying this issue more than the actual Daredevil comics of the time, as they could be less than stellar. For a negative, Betty continues her recent trend of being a little whinier than usual, constantly assuming Peter is going out with other women, without even giving him chances to explain. Oh well, the personal drama aspect can’t always be good. Still, a very fun issue, and the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Comments: First meeting of Spider-Man and Daredevil, as well as Daredevil’s first appearance in a Spidey comic. First time Spider-Man battles the Circus of Crime. First time Mary Jane Watson is mentioned by name, as she went unnamed in the previous issue. Daredevil last appeared in issue 3 of his own comic. Only the second appearance ever of the Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime, last appearing in Incredible Hulk #3.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #16 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins with our hero in a rough spot, as Peter Parker gets an earful from his Aunt May, nagging him about going out with Mary Jane Watson. Peter reminds Aunt May that he already has a girlfriend, and eventually decides to go out as Spider-Man, in order to avoid more of Aunt May’s pestering. While swinging around, Spidey spots some thieves exiting a store. The thieves happen upon a nearby blind man, who we know to be Matt Murdock, alias Daredevil, and Spidey swings down and stylishly defeats the crooks, earning gratitude from Murdock. After Spidey swings off, Matt surmises, with help from his enhanced senses, that Spider-Man must be very young, about 17. Matt thinks about how he was planning on taking down the crooks himself and changes to Daredevil in order to make it back to his law office in a quicker and more fun fashion. There, Matt encounters his law partner, Foggy Nelson, as he tells Matt that he and Karen Page, their secretary, are going to the circus the next day, and invite Matt to join them, but Matt declines, feeling wary of his feelings for Karen.

Meanwhile, the next day we check in on the aforementioned circus, where we discover that it’s actually the Circus of Crime, run by their leader, the Ringmaster! The Ringmaster rushes to make sure everything is ready for their plan, revealing that they’ve advertised that Spider-Man will be at their circus, hoping to draw a bigger crowd. Peter later sees the advertisement and thinks that maybe it’s not such a bad idea to show up, hoping to improve his public image. Peter checks in with J. Jonah Jameson to make sure he doesn’t need him, and Jameson scolds him for not bringing in any photos lately, even telling Peter he’s through printing about Spider-Man. Betty Brant then tries to make plans with Peter but sees the circus ticket and assumes Peter is going with another girl, rushing off before Peter can explain.

Back at the Nelson and Murdock law office, Matt hears about Spider-Man’s attendance at the circus and decides to join Foggy and Karen after all. With all of our various characters arriving at the circus, Matt, Foggy, and Karen find their seats, as Pete switches to Spider-man, making a grand entrance. Spidey puts on a daring acrobatic display, wowing the cheering crowd. The Ringmaster is surprised at Spider-Man’s actual arrival but decides that it can still work for his plan. The Ringmaster calls Spider-Man down and uses the hypnotic device in his hat to hypnotize Spider-Man, along with the entire audience. While everyone is hypnotized, the circus goes about stealing their valuables. There is one person unaffected by the Ringmaster’s trick however, due to his blindness, giving Matt the opportunity to switch to Daredevil to confront the Ringmaster.

Before Daredevil can reach the Ringmaster, Ringmaster commands the hypnotized Spider-Man to defend him. Daredevil knows he’s outmatched, and realizes he’ll have to outthink Spider-Man, being grateful that Spidey doesn’t currently have all of his faculties. Daredevil climbs up the trapezes, and is able to outmaneuver Spider-Man, due to Spidey having to stop to receive more commands from the Ringmaster. With this pause, Daredevil is able drop down, knocking the Ringmaster over with a large circus ball, and grabbing his dropped hat, using it to break Spider-Man out the Ringmaster’s control. With Spidey now in control of himself again, the Ringmaster commands his Circus of Crime to stop the two heroes.

Daredevil and Spider-Man plow through the first wave of attackers with little difficulty. Daredevil quickly realizes that Spider-Man doesn’t really need his help, as he changes back to Matt Murdock to enjoy the show. The strongman tries swinging a heavy barbell at Spidey, who easily catches it, flipping him over, before throwing the barbell to more of the performers, incapacitating them. Spidey jumps up to the trapezes and webs the acrobats to their trapezes. Finally, the human cannonball shoots himself at Spidey, but Spidey is able to swing him around, sending him flying directly into the last of the circus members. The Ringmaster recovers his hat and tries to hypnotize Spidey once more, but Spidey simply closes his eyes and the conks the Ringmaster on the head. Using the hat, Spidey lifts the hypnotic spell on the audience. Our issue ends with Matt cheekily giving the captured Ringmaster a card for their offices, and Spidey swings off, thinking it ironic that this is the most fun he’s had today.

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.


(Matt Murdock)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Foggy Nelson (Franklin Nelson).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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