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Amazing Spider-Man #25: Review

Jun 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Captured by J. Jonah Jameson!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #25 Review by (January 31, 2024)

Review: Here we have another issue with quite a large number of firsts! First off, this is the first issue that is explicitly stated to have been plotted by Steve Ditko! This is also the first appearance of Spencer Smythe, called just Smythe here, and the first Spider-Slayer, though that name isn’t used either. It also wouldn’t really apply here, as this robot wasn’t built to kill Spider-Man, just capture him. Probably most importantly, this issue contains the first appearance of Mary Jane Watson! Kind of. Her face is obscured from the audience and most people tend to count her first unobscured appearance later in ASM #42 to be her official debut. This is still undoubtedly an important milestone however, even if it takes a while to see what Betty and Liz saw!

The actual plot of this story has Jameson taking a slightly more actively villainous role, using Smythe’s robot to hunt down Spider-Man. I guess technically Jameson didn’t do anything illegal, as he could chalk up capturing Spider-Man to the same as a citizen’s arrest. What I find more strange is that we don’t learn why Smythe built this robot and presented it to Jameson. He knew that Jameson hates Spider-Man but Smythe has no reason to at this point in time. I guess it could just be scientific curiosity, just wanting to see if his machine would work. It’s also slightly anticlimactic that Spidey stops the robot off-screen, and by simply finding it’s easily located power source. It does allow for his amusing gag of Jameson finding the empty Spider-Man costume though, so I can forgive it. Overall, a solid, fun issue with a number of firsts, though none of them are super monumental. It does, however, establish the Spider-Slayers for some more memorable and dangerous appearances later down the line!

Comments: First story explicitly plotted by Steve Ditko. First appearance of Spencer Smythe, though his first name is not given here. First appearance of a Spider-Slayer, though they have not received that moniker yet. First appearance of Mary Jane Watson, though her face is obscured. Issue contains another unnamed early appearance of Norman Osborn.






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #25 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins right where the last left off, with Peter Parker heading home after helping Liz Allan in her science studies. Before he heads home, Peter goes to retrieve his spider-signal, which he left on a roof to distract Flash the previous issue. While he’s up there, Peter notices some carjackers making rounds and uses his spider-signal to alert a nearby cop into seeing them. Back at home, Peter checks on Aunt May before patching up a spare Spidey costume. The next day, at the Bugle, Peter desperately tries to sell the pictures he took of the carjacking incident to J. Jonah Jameson, even resorting to arguing how they make Spider-Man look bad, in order to make them seem more appealing. Jameson agrees to buy the photos, but this earns Peter the disapproval of Betty Brant.

Just then, an inventor by the name of Spencer Smythe enters, wanting to show Jameson a robot he built that is sure to catch Spider-Man. Jameson is reluctant, not wanting to be made a laughingstock again, but Peter is underwhelmed by the robot and tries to persuade Jameson to try it out, thinking it could make for an amusing turn of events and possibly net him more photos to sell. This earns Peter more scolding from Betty but Jameson finally agrees to see what the robot can do. Smythe has Peter hold an encaged spider, to demonstrate how the robot is attuned specifically to spiders, when powerful tendrils shoot out of the robot, entangling Peter as well as the spider. Jameson and Smythe work out the details while Peter struggles to get free. After Peter is freed, Betty lays into him, ashamed in him because of all Spider-Man has done for them, leading Peter to feel lousy and concerned, considering the robot really is dangerous.

Later at school, Flash Thompson once again sees Liz talking to Peter, causing him to actually challenge Peter to a genuine fight after school. Peter is jumpy throughout the day, due to worrying about the robot possibly showing up, while Flash thinks Peter is scared of him. Back at the Bugle, Smythe sets everything up for Jameson to control the robot, even including a screen that projects Jameson’s face, allowing him to see whatever the robot sees. Then, as school ends, Peter notices the robot approaching from the window and runs out a side door, in order to get safely away from the school. Flash is alerted to this and he and his gang of friends run after Peter, thinking Peter is running away from their fight. Jameson’s robot is then following them in turn, leading to quite the conga line! Peter ducks around a corner and flips up to a roof, leaving Flash and his cronies confused, while the robot climbs up the wall after him.

Peter is able to change to Spider-Man, just barely, before Jameson catches up. Spider-Man leaps from the rooftop as Jameson gives chase, and Flash decides he should try and help Spider-Man rather than continue to chase after Peter. Spidey leads the robot to an open street and tries webbing up the robot, but finds that his webs are quite ineffective! The robot’s tendrils try to grab Spidey, as he continues to run and evade them. Back at the Bugle, Betty tries to help in her own way by attempting to “accidentally” disconnect the robot’s power source. She is caught by Jameson and kicked out of the room. Betty then tries to call Peter but can’t reach him and so decides to head to his house to see if she can find him there. Flash has the same idea and he, Liz and that whole group head to Peter’s house to find him as well.

Spider-Man continues to evade the robot but notes that he’s starting to get tired, while the robot never will. Outside Peter’s house, Betty and Liz run into each other and both make their way inside to see Peter. Inside, Aunt May introduces them to another girl there to see Peter, Mary Jane Watson, the niece of her neighbor, and the two are stunned by her beauty, though her face is obscured for the audience. Both girls dejectedly leave while Flash decides to wait outside for Peter to eventually come home. Back with Spidey, the robot eventually catches up with him, wrapping him up in its powerful tendrils. Thinking that Spider-Man is trapped, Jameson and Smythe leave the Bugle to head to where the robot has Spider-Man while Spidey uses their absence as an opportunity to rip open the plating to the robot’s power source.

Jameson and Smythe reach the spot where the robot has Spider-Man ensnared and Jameson removes Spider-Man’s mask to find that his costume is empty! Up above, we see Peter puppeteering his costume via web strands, as he looks on amused. Jameson angrily realizes that Spider-Man escaped him again, while Smythe concedes to make more improvements for the future. Our story ends with Peter arriving home to find Aunt May quite angry at him. Turns out, she found his spare Spidey costume, and Peter fumbles for an explanation, saying he got it to fool some people. Aunt May tells him she doesn’t want him wearing it to any parties, taking it with her. This leaves Peter relieved but at the same time worriedly amused that he’s now currently a superhero without a costume!



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

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn), Norman Osborn, Spencer Smythe, Spider-Slayer.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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