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Amazing Spider-Man #28: Review

Sep 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Menace of the Molten Man!

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #28 Review by (February 7, 2024)

Review: We have the debut of yet another new villain with the Molten Man! To be honest, he isn’t a very impactful or interesting villain. He’s got a generic origin and generic super strength powers and there’s not much else to him. Spidey also defeats him without much hassle, which doesn’t help his standing. He’ll continue to make sporadic appearances throughout the years, but he continues to be a pretty C-list villain. I do find it interesting that the issue deviates slightly from the usual setup. Usually, Spidey and the villain would encounter each other, the bad guy would get away and they’d then fight again at the end of the issue. This time, there’s just one drawn out encounter between the two, with Spidey dealing with Molten Man right away.

What this issue is most known for is the fact that Peter graduates high school! It’s a little sudden, as there’s no real build up, aside from a couple instances of Peter wondering what he should continue to study in earlier issues. I also imagine that a lot of people would be surprised at how short Peter’s tenure in high school actually was in these original comics. A lot of media adaptations put Peter in high school for a large percentage of their runtime, but he’s only in high school in the comics for a couple of years, real world time. He’s in college a much longer time, as they likely wanted to keep him from aging too much, an idea that persists to this day, for better or worse. Overall, this was a solid issue but not one of the all-time greats. Molten Man is a pretty forgettable villain that gets overshadowed by the “Peter graduating” plot, leading to kind of a mixed bag.

Comments: First appearance of Molten Man and first battle with Spidey. Peter Parker graduates high school in this issue. Liz Allan is accidentally called Liz Hilton at one point. Mary Jane Watson is erroneously referred to as Anna Watson’s daughter instead of her niece at one point. First time Spencer Smythe’s first name was established.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #28 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

We start off our story by finding Peter Parker at Midtown High, where he’s approached by Principal Davis. Principal Davis tells Peter that Flash explained how Peter wasn’t to blame for their fight from last issue, leaving Peter feeling grateful. Peter then runs into Liz Allan, who is still giving him the cold shoulder, leaving Peter feeling confused. Peter then tries to thank Flash Thompson for coming clean to Principal Davis but gets the usual sour treatment from Flash. Peter and his class are excused from school early, due to their upcoming graduation, as Peter notices that Liz is also still angry at Flash. Peter then heads over to the home of Spencer Smythe, who Peter learned last issue has his original Spider-Man costume. Peter stops in and feigns curiosity about Smythe’s experiments. Smythe leads Peter in when the robot used to attack Peter in issue #25 suddenly traps Peter with its tendrils. Peter then shows the jar of spiders he brought along, in order to divert Smythe’s suspicions, as Smythe frees him.

The doorbell then rings and when Smythe goes to answer it, Peter takes the opportunity to swap his original Spider-Man costume with the cheap store bought one he brought along. Just then, Peter witnesses Smythe being attacked by his business partner, Mark Raxton. Raxton grabs the liquid metal alloy the two had been working on, in order to sell it and get what he thinks is his rightful share, before knocking Smythe into his control panel! Before Peter can intervene, he’s once again caught by the robot’s tendrils, after having been turned back on when Smythe knocked into the controls. Smythe and Raxton continue to struggle and the container holding the liquid metal breaks, bathing Raxton in the liquid metal! Raxton is stunned by his new golden, metallic skin and walks out in a daze. Peter is then able to hit the control switch with a web shot, freeing him just before Smythe comes to, as Smythe mourns the loss of his work.

Still in a daze, Raxton steps into the street, getting honked at by a driver. He retaliates by smashing the front of the guy’s car, realizing that the accident has given him super strength! He revels in his newfound power, smashing up more things, and decides to call himself the Molten Man! Spider-Man, on his way to Raxton’s apartment after being informed by Smythe, swings by the path of destruction, wondering if Raxton is the cause. Molten Man makes it back to his apartment by sticking to the shadows, where he is soon intercepted by Spider-Man! Molten Man attacks Spidey, who deftly avoids his blows and tries flipping over Molten Man to throw him but finds that he is unable to budge the villain! The two continue to trade blows before Spidey tries webbing up Molten Man to no avail, as Spidey’s webs just slide right off his body!

The two resume trading punches once more, eventually ending up in the basement of the complex. As Spidey has found that his punches aren’t really harming Molten Man, he tries a different tactic and shatters the lone light bulb, plunging the room into darkness! While Molten Man stumbles around in the dark, Spidey spins his webs into extra thick ropes and uses his spider-sense to easily find Molten Man in the dark, binding his wrists and ankles with the web ropes! Molten Man tries fighting back but quickly finds that the webs have hardened to the point where he can’t break them or slip out, leaving him incapacitated! As the police show up, Spidey heads off, rushing to make it home so as not to miss his graduation!

Peter makes it in time, walking down the aisle, while his Aunt May watches on proudly, with Anna Watson by her side. Peter also notes that Betty isn’t there, figuring that she must still be mad at him from the previous few issues. At the end of Principal Davis’s speech, he awards an academic scholarship to Flash and a science scholarship to Peter, giving the two of them both a full ride to Empire State University! J. Jonah Jameson is then revealed as the guest speaker for the event, much to the chagrin of the student population, as Peter notices that Liz still seems down in the dumps. Afterwards, everyone celebrates their newly graduated status, as Jameson comes up to Peter and Aunt May, in order to try and charm Peter back to the Bugle. Peter then excuses himself to talk to Liz who finally admits to the crush she had on Peter, saying that she needs to do some growing up, leaving the two on a bit of a bittersweet note. Our issue ends with Peter heading home with Aunt May and Anna Watson, as he gears up for this new chapter in his life!



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)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Anna Watson, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn), Molten Man (Mark Raxton), Spencer Smythe.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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