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Amazing Spider-Man #36: Review

May 1966
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

When Falls the Meteor!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #36 Review by (February 28, 2024)

Review: We have another villain introduction but this time it’s only the Looter. He’s another guy with generic super strength but the writing for him in this issue at least makes him much more entertaining than someone like Molten Man. To be frank, this guy is kind of a loser, failing at everything he did and not being able to hold down a job. He discovers a meteorite and hopes to make a big discovery with it and sure won’t let anything like having flunked science in school get in his way! I guess he failed so much at everything that he wants to prove people wrong with a great discovery but he literally just resorts to whacking at it, hoping to get lucky. He does, incidentally, and it gives him super powers but still, this guy is a joke. He claims to have everything planned out but doesn’t account for Spider-Man showing up a second time and clearly thinks he’s much smarter than he actually is. He also goes down without very much hassle.

Meanwhile, Gwen’s opinion of Peter is worse than ever, thinking he’s a jerk, and to be fair to her, he kind of has been. Flash even offers to throw around the football with Peter and Peter brushes him off, kind of rudely, even though Flash was being uncharacteristically nice. Peter also brushes off another girl just because he doesn’t want things to turn out similar to Betty, just because Peter leapt to conclusions that the girl was only talking to Peter because he’s smart. Seriously, no wonder these guys think Peter is a jerk; he’s been pretty anti-social and defensive even when they’ve actively tried to include him. The issue also ends rather abruptly with Spidey catching the Looter and leaving him for the police. These last bunch of issues between the Master Planner story and Ditko’s exit have been pretty lackluster, likely due to the fact that Steve and Stan weren’t even speaking to each other at this point, and Steve in particular feels like he’s phoning it in a lot more, presumably knowing he was leaving soon. Overall, a middling introduction to a middling villain, though he does manage to be more entertaining than most other middling villains.

Comments: First appearance and origin of the Looter and first battle with Spider-Man. The Looter won’t appear again for almost a decade, with the new name of Meteor Man.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #36 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins with a meteor falling to earth and being discovered by a man named Norton G. Fester. Fester aims to prove that meteors contain microscopic living matter but finds it difficult to acquire a loan for his research. After all of his attempts at a loan fall flat, Fester decides to just chip away at the meteorite, not letting anything like lack of money or the fact that he flunked science in school get in his way! Fester hits a gas pocket in the meteorite, getting doused in the mysterious gas! Fester then discovers that the gas has given him incredible strength, bending steel with ease and leaping great distances! Fester then stops to plan how to best use his newfound power.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker arrives at college and notes how he’s missed a bunch of class due to his recent battles as Spider-man and that all of the other students have already formed into cliques, leaving him out. Just then, Gwen Stacy and a friend of hers named Sally Green observe Peter, and Sally says she’ll prove Gwen wrong about Peter. Sally approaches Peter and invites him to a get together which Peter eagerly accepts. However, once Sally mentions that it’ll be nice having a guy with brains there, Peter thinks that that’s the only reason she’s talking to him and brushes her off, not wanting things to turn out similar to with Betty, only reinforcing Gwen’s negative view of him. Meanwhile Fester, now calling himself the Looter, uses his strength to rob a bank and makes his escape after using his dazzle gun to temporarily blind everyone with a dazzling light! Over the following days, the Looter carries out similar robberies, feeling that this was what he was always meant to do.

Once Spidey can finally take some time away from his studies to go out looking for the Looter, he’s suddenly nowhere to be found! Meanwhile, the Looter discovers that there’s no more gas left in his original meteorite and plans to steal another, in case his powers start to wane. Several days later, Peter takes the chance to visit the space exhibit at a museum. Gwen also happens to be there and she decides to take the opportunity to try and get to know Peter, but finds Peter wrapped up in the exhibit, while she watches him from afar. Just then, the Looter breaks in to steal the meteor at museum, prompting Peter to run off to change to Spider-Man, causing Gwen to think that Peter is a coward! Spider-Man surprises the Looter, as the two begin to trade punches, with Spidey thinking it fortunate that the Looter is pretty new at this. The Looter attempts to escape by using his dazzle gun to blind Spidey, who simply closes his eyes and trusts his spider-sense to keep him on Looter’s tail.

The Looter then tips a large iron ship model onto a bunch of blinded civilians, causing Spidey to stop his chase to keep it from flattening the people. Spidey then finds that the Looter has escaped and changes back to Peter, finally noticing Gwen. Gwen’s opinion of Peter is now lower than ever however, after she seemingly saw him run away scared. Back at his base, the Looter concludes that he needs to plan his next heist more carefully, heading to the museum again in his regular guise to scope out the area. Back at ESU, Flash Thompson uncharacteristically offers Peter to throw around the football with him but Peter declines, rather rudely. This earns Peter some ribbing from Gwen and Flash, as he remains confused at Gwen’s poor opinion of him.

Spidey then decides to scope out the museum, guessing that the Looter will be back. Spidey’s patience pays off, as the Looter returns once again to steal the meteorite. Spidey swings down to intercept him, as the Looter activates a large helium balloon attached to his back, in order to make his escape. The Looter taunts Spidey as he floats away but Spidey bounces off of a flagpole, gaining enough height to attach his web to the Looter’s balloon. The two trade punches until Spidey nearly falls off, but manages to catch the Looter’s foot, swinging himself back up. Spidey yammers on, annoying the Looter, while he finishes the fight with a couple of well-placed punches. Spidey unmasks the Looter but has no idea who he is and he slowly deflates the balloon, sending the Looter down to earth and leaving him for the police.

Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Plot: . Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Peter Parker)

Plus: Looter (Norton Fester).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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