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Amazing Spider-Man #52: Review

Sep 1967
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:

To Die a Hero!

Review & Comments

5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #52 Review by (April 10, 2024)

Review: Here we have the epic conclusion to this little three-part story that began in issue #50, with one of my favorite Spidey covers of all time! It perfectly draws you in, wondering how Spidey and Jameson will escape all while being wonderfully drawn by John Romita. Spidey and Jameson obviously do escape, and Spidey has an epic fight with the Kingpin, only further proving what a great villain he is, by always being one step ahead, as he manages to escape so we can get more great stories from him in the future. The most notable aspect of this issue, however, is the death of Frederick Foswell, taking a bullet for Jameson, having been the only person to give Foswell another chance. It’s left a bit ambiguous if Foswell was really returning to crime and had a change of heart or was always planning to double cross Kingpin, but honestly, I think the ambiguity only adds to the story. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, he atoned for his sins and died a hero, protecting the only man who believed in him.

With Foswell’s brave sacrifice, he also proves to be the real subject of the title, “To Die a Hero.” I’m sure many, myself included, assumed it was a standard title denoting Spidey’s predicament on the cover, garnering interest in how he would make it out. However, it was really referring to Foswell all along, giving him a powerful send-off and a humanizing moment for Jameson. Foswell was a pretty cool supporting character whose death has never actually been undone, a rarity in comics, aside from some clone shenanigans for a couple of issues decades later, which feels like it shouldn’t really count. We also get a surprise return visit from Flash Thompson, reminding us that he’s still going to be a recurring character, despite his current status as a soldier in Vietnam. Overall, a fantastic and powerful end to this top tier Spidey story, giving an oft underappreciated character a heroic death while leaving the door open for many return appearances by the Kingpin after this incredible introductory story!

Comments: Death of Frederick Foswell, after taking a bullet for Jameson. Joe Robertson is given a name this issue, though he’s only referred to as either Robertson or Robbie.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #52 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

After Spider-Man was defeated by the Kingpin last issue, he and J. Jonah Jameson are hauled off to the sub-cellar to be disposed of on the Kingpin’s orders. Spidey and Jameson are cuffed together in the middle of a large room, as Jameson frantically tries to awaken Spider-Man. Water then starts to pour from pipes on the walls, slowly filling the room with water, looking to drown the two, only increasing Jameson’s panic. Spider-Man then starts to stir, taking stock of their situation and quickly frees himself from his restraints. Spider-Man then starts to spin his webs, while Jameson thinks that Spidey’s gone crazy! We then cut to the Daily Bugle, where Betty Brant and Ned Leeds discover the evidence that something is amiss with Jameson gone. Joe Robertson tells them he’s phoned the police, and Ned resides to look for answers, to Betty’s worry.

Back with Spidey and Jameson, Spidey spins his webs into a big bubble around the two of them, as Jameson continues to struggle. After enough time has passed, Kingpin orders his men to dispose of the supposed bodies. As the goons enter the room, they see the huge web bubble, as Spidey springs forth from it, quickly and easily taking out the goons. Spidey frees Jameson and they make their way through the halls of the sub-cellar, with Spidey continuing to talk so Jameson doesn’t lose his nerve. They encounter some more goons and Spidey stylishly contends with them, telling Jameson to run. Jameson, however, is frozen with fear, so Spidey resorts to threatening him to get him to move. This does indeed spur Jameson, however his escape is brief, as in his panic, he runs right into a pipe, knocking himself out. Spidey, thinking Jameson has escaped, webs up the goons as he makes his way to the man in charge.

Speaking of whom, the Kingpin tells Frederick Foswell of the supposed deaths of Spider-Man and Jameson, and notes Foswell’s shock and discomfort. Kingpin feels that Foswell will be a threat to his empire, either being a coward or a double agent, and moves to get rid of him. Spider-Man then arrives in the nick of time to save Foswell from Kingpin’s wrath, as their battle begins. We then make a brief cut to the Silver Spoon, where Flash Thompson has returned from overseas for a visit, as Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn welcome him back. Flash tells a bit of his experiences, as Mary Jane Watson also appears to welcome him back as well, as Gwen calls for an official celebration for Flash’s return. Back at the action, Spidey makes sure history won’t repeat itself, by jamming Kingpin’s tiepin with some webbing, while noting that Kingpin’s grip is strong as a vice! As Spidey and Kingpin continue to fight, Foswell takes the opportunity to grab a gun from the bar and find out what happened to Jameson.

Spidey jumps to the ceiling, delivering a huge wallop to the Kingpin, as the Kingpin instinctively grabs Spidey, taking him down too. Kingpin is up on his feet in no time, choosing to make a strategic retreat, assuming that the police will be here any second. Kingpin enters a pneumatic tube through a secret compartment and triggering a gas explosion to prevent Spidey from following him. This causes Spidey to have to take the long route, heading down through the sub-cellar catacombs once more. Meanwhile, Jameson finally reawakens and runs in a panic, thinking he’s hurt, attracting the attention of more of Kingpin’s men. Just then, Foswell finds Jameson, ducking him behind a corner, as Foswell gets shot, taking the bullet meant for Jameson. Spidey hears the shot ring out, as he makes his way to the scene, easily taking out the two goons. However, he’s just slightly too late, as Foswell dies from his injury, with Spider-Man and Jameson both noting that he died a hero. In the aftermath, Ned Leeds gets there to check on Jameson, who orders a front-page story chronicling Foswell’s heroic end, giving him the praise he never got in life. Though condemned once again by Jameson, Spidey admits that he’d do it all again as he heads home for some much-needed rest.

John Romita
Mike Esposito
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)

(Wilson Fisk)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson

(Joe Robertson)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Frederick Foswell (Big Man), Ned Leeds.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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