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Amazing Spider-Man #26: Review

Jul 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Man in the Crime-Master's Mask!

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #26 Review by (February 7, 2024)

Review: Who is the Crime-Master? That’s the question on Spidey’s mind as we’re introduced to the villain this issue, though he’s not a major villain and won’t be around long. Still, this was another excellent issue, as the Crime-Master attempts to take over the criminal underworld much like the Big Man and the Green Goblin tried to do in the past. This actually causes quite a rift between the Crime-Master and Gobby, as each has the goods on each other! It makes for an interesting cat and mouse between two villains this time! Goblin is less integral to this issue than the Crime-Master is, though he does score a surprise victory over Spidey, leading to the first genuine cliffhanger ending for an issue!

Peter and Betty continue to have drama leading to an actual verbal fight, and Peter and Flash get into an actual physical fight! I do like the tidbit of Flash admitting to the principal that Peter wasn’t to blame, showing once again that he does have a conscience, and will mature eventually. I love the little bits of evolution for his character. We also get another early cameo for a still unnamed Norman Osborn, as Ditko is just sprinkling in those minor appearances before we’re introduced to him outright. This issue was very gripping, playing the crime drama aspect very well, generally better than the Big Man story from ASM #10. It will still take a while for the de-facto crime boss to appear, but this is overall a great issue showcasing that area of Spidey stories, as the mystery continues of the Crime-Master’s identity and just how Foswell is involved! To be concluded next issue!

Comments: First appearance of the Crime-Master. This issue contains another early cameo from Norman Osborn, still unnamed. First actual cliffhanger ending.






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #26 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins with Peter Parker looking through the house to try and find where his Aunt May put his Spider-Man costume after she took it last issue. His search bears no fruit however, realizing it must be in her room as he goes to sleep, wondering about what Jameson did with his other costume. We then cut to a secret meeting between the Green Goblin and another criminal calling himself the Crime-Master! The two had an agreement to work together to take over the criminal underworld but the Crime-Master thinks he can do it alone. They part ways at an impasse, as each knows the other’s real identity, with both of them using that knowledge to keep the other under careful observation. The Crime-Master then delivers a message to one of the criminal gangs that he’s taking over soon, confident that word will spread! Soon after, he blows up the car of one of the crime bosses, causing all of the carious gang leaders to confer about what they should do regarding him.

Just before morning, we then see a mysterious figure stash away a special outfit, satisfied with their work for the night, before seeing that the man in question is Frederick Foswell! Back with Peter, he fruitlessly tries to get any info from Aunt May on where his suit could be, before heading off to the Bugle. When he gets there, he and Betty Brant get in a huge blowout over all of the other women he’s apparently seeing, including Mary Jane Watson, who Peter points out he hasn’t even met. J. Jonah Jameson then kicks Peter out for causing a disturbance, when Peter overhears Jameson ask Foswell about a file regarding the Green Goblin and the Crime-Master. Peter takes the opportunity to place his spider-tracer in Foswell’s hat, still not trusting him, thinking it could lead to some helpful information on him later.

Peter arrives at school and after receiving some usual ribbing from Flash Thompson and his friends, finally snaps and attacks the group, which is witnessed by Principal Davis. Liz Allan attempts to break up the fight, as Peter and Flash continue to trade insults, causing her to get fed up with both of them. Peter gets sent to the principal’s office and takes the whole rap for the incident, which Flash overhears. Flash then admits to the principal afterwards that Peter wasn’t really to blame, in a moment of conscience. We then cut to the Crime-Master continuing to take over the various gangs across the city. On his way home from school, Peter gets an idea, and buys a Spider-Man costume from a costume shop, finding it a little loose, and having to web it in place, as he goes to investigate Foswell. Spidey finds Foswell’s apartment empty, when suddenly the Crime-Master fires a shot into the apartment, narrowly missing Spidey!

Spider-Man jumps out to confront the Crime-Master, while continuing to avoid his shots, counting them the whole time. Once the Crime-Master’s gun is empty, Spidey leaps at him, only to get doused in some kind of gas, blinding and choking him. The Crime-Master forces Spider-Man back to the edge of the roof, while he’s preoccupied, and knocks him over the edge. Spidey manages to remove his mask, and able to breathe again, saves himself via his web. Thinking that the Crime-Master could be Foswell, Spider-Man heads to the Bugle and uses the opportunity to look for his costume that Jameson took. After Jameson returns to his office, he reveals that Smythe took Spidey’s outfit and Spidey leaves, making sure to web his mask more securely in place. Spidey returns to Foswell’s apartment and notes a section of the waterfront is marked off on a calendar, and decides to pay that section a visit.

The Crime-Master then has a meeting with a bunch of the big crime bosses, telling them all to meet him at the waterfront that night. This information is sent to the police via an informant named Patch, as the police agree to surveil the scene. That night, at the waterfront, Spidey witness all of the various gangs arrive for the meeting. Meanwhile nearby, the Green Goblin and the Crime-Master meet once again, with the Goblin furious that he’s being forced out. The Crime-Master reveals that he has proof of the Goblin’s identity locked away in a vault, as the two attack each other, with Goblin blinding the Crime-Master with the exhaust from his glider. The Goblin holds off on killing the Crime-Master, until he can get to the info in his vault, and flies off.

The Goblin then spots Spider-Man and takes him by surprise, ramming into him fast with his glider, before his spider-sense can alert him. The Goblin takes the opportunity while Spider-Man is stunned to throw a stun grenade at Spider-Man, which he unsuccessfully deflects, knocking Spidey out. The Goblin finds he can’t remove Spidey’s mask, due to it being webbed in place. The Crime-Master then arrives to the packed meeting place to announce himself as the head of the criminal underworld. Just then, the Green Goblin arrives as well, with the unconscious Spider-Man, as the gangs wonder what will happen next! Tune in next time to find out!



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.

Green Goblin
Green Goblin

(Norman Osborn)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Crime-Master (Nick Lewis), Frederick Foswell (Big Man), Liz Allan (Liz Osborn).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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