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Amazing Spider-Man #18: Review

Nov 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The End of Spider-Man!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #18 Review by (January 17, 2024)

Review: Here we have quite the unique issue, at least up to this point in time. This marks the first issue in which Spider-Man doesn’t really fight any enemies, with the meat of the story focusing more on his personal issues and the growing negative perception of Spider-Man. He does encounter Sandman briefly, who quite literally appears out of nowhere, but he doesn’t really fight him, just kind of evading and running from him. I do feel like a lot of the other heroes were pretty quick to trust the stories of Spider-Man’s cowardice, but I guess most of them hadn’t really met him for more than a few moments at this point. It is pretty sweet in its own way though, how much the Human Torch refuses to believe the stories about Spidey, showing even more that he really does care for Spidey, beneath all the childish feuding. We also get more great character stuff from Flash, being the only other person not to give up on Spidey. Sure, his plan to dress up like Spidey was pretty foolish, but showed a lot of bravery and loyalty, showcasing the traits that will define him more in the future as he matures.

The highlight of the issue for once though is undoubtedly Aunt May, showing a lot more gumption and strength of will, inspiring Peter himself not to give up. It reminds me a bit of her inspiring little speech in the Spider-Man 2 movie. Unfortunately, Aunt May doesn’t often get to do much in these stories aside from worry about Peter or have Peter worry about her, so it’s nice to see that she can be a strong figure in her own right sometimes. It would be quite a few years before that kind of characterization would get more consistent however. We also get the first appearance of Ned Leeds, though unnamed here, who will go on to be a character of fluctuating importance in the following decades (note that this version is nothing like the portrayal from the recent movies). Overall, a refreshingly different kind of story, at least at this point, with some great drama and character moments, making the supporting cast feel that much more important!

Comments: This is the first issue in which Spider-Man has no real fight with an enemy. Anna Watson is mistakenly referred to as “Anna Watkins” throughout the issue. First appearance of Ned Leeds, though he goes unnamed in this issue. Human Torch tells Spider-Man to meet him at their last meeting place, which refers to an occurrence in Strange Tales Annual #2. Peter reminisces in this issue about his recent fights with the Sinister Six from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #18 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Fresh off the last issue, this one opens with J. Jonah Jameson, giddy as can be, reveling in his expose showing Spider-Man as the coward Jameson, and the world now, think he is. We then see the reactions to this news from several notable characters, hero and villain alike. While the Green Goblin gloats about being the first to make Spider-Man run away scared, we see other villains such as Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, and the Vulture wishing that it could have been their victories. We then also get reactions from the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Daredevil, each disappointed over Spider-man’s apparent cowardice. Even the public thinks of Spider-Man as a coward, while Jameson proclaims that Spider-Man hasn’t been seen in weeks. We then see exactly why that is, as Peter Parker has been feverishly taking care of his ailing Aunt May this whole time, rarely leaving her side, unable to concentrate in school and ignoring his peers, even with May’s friend, Anna Watson’s, help.

Meanwhile, at school, Flash Thompson is the only one who still believes in Spidey, making him the unpopular one for once. Liz Allan tries to make plans with Peter but Peter is too worried about Aunt May and their quickly depleting funds, and tries to come up with ways to make money fast. As Spider-Man, Peter goes to a company that prints baseball cards and offers to let them make cards of him, but he gets shot down. No one wants anything of Spider-Man anymore. Outside, Spidey sees a bunch of crooks about to break in to a jewelry store, but is too worried about Aunt May in case anything should happen to him, calling the heist in to the police instead. At home, Peter tries calling Betty Brant, to see if she’s still angry at him, but she’s still very upset from everything, while Jameson, on the other hand, is happy as could be, to the great annoyance of his employees.

With Peter later still unable to contact Betty, he reminisces about all the times he’s saved her, thinking of his recent battles with the various members of the Sinister Six from Annual #1. As he keeps being reminded of how everyone now hates Spider-Man, and with Betty upset at Peter Parker, he even tries seeing Betty in person but she runs away, afraid of being hurt again. Peter’s next idea for making money comes to him as he tries to sell his web formula as a super strong adhesive. However, once it’s apparent that his webs dissolve after a short time, Spidey is turned down, as a temporary adhesive isn’t wanted, and it would take too long to modify and improve it. After Spidey swings away, he suddenly encounters the Sandman, who’s looking for the chance to pay Spidey back for his previous defeats. Spider-Man is still concerned about Aunt May and reasons that he could lose, worrying about what would happen to Aunt May if that happened. Spider-Man finds himself evading and running from Sandman, while the public just sees this as more proof of his cowardice.

As Jameson continues his coverage of Spider-Man with glee, the public’s opinion on Spider-Man just gets worse and worse. The Human Torch, fed up, knows that there must be something else going on, and writes a message for Spider-Man in the sky to meet him at their last meeting place (from Strange Tales Annual #2). However, though the Torch waits at the Statue of Liberty long into the night, Spider-Man never shows, leaving the Torch despondent. Late the next night, Liz comes to Peter worried about Flash. She tells Peter that Flash got the bright idea to dress up like Spider-Man, so that the real Spider-Man will arrive when he gets into trouble, proving that he’s still a hero. Flash, dressed as Spidey, encounters some crooks and quickly gets overwhelmed, as Peter races to find him. Fortunately, Flash is saved by some nearby cops, as Peter realizes how close the whole thing was.

The next day, Peter tries to talk to Flash, who blows him off, upset and frustrated with the whole ordeal. On his way home, Peter sees Betty with another guy, leaving Peter in even worse spirits, depressed over the various troubles being Spider-Man has given him. At home, Peter decides to quit being Spider-Man for good, when he sees Aunt May up and about and worries for her wellbeing. Aunt May gives him some empowering words, saying that she’s not going to quit, even if the road ahead may be hard, and that he doesn’t need to worry about her so much. Inspired by her words, Peter realizes that he can’t quit either, donning his Spider-Man outfit once again, knowing that Spider-Man is who he is, and nothing will change that!

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)
Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)
Green Goblin
Green Goblin

(Norman Osborn)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

(Kraven the Hunter)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

(Adrian Toomes)

Plus: Anna Watson, Betty Brant, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn), Ned Leeds.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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