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Amazing Spider-Man #59: Review

Apr 1968
Stan Lee, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Brand of the Brainwasher!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #59 Review by (May 15, 2024)

Review: There’s a surprising amount to say about this enjoyable issue. First off, after a couple of detours, Peter finally is able to get to the hospital to check on Aunt May. Thing is, it’s unclear how he discovered she was even there, as last we saw him, he was just unable to reach her but didn’t know any specifics about anything. It’s not hard to assume he intuited such a thing, but knowing the exact hospital is another mystery. Second, Peter finally meets Captain Stacy and discovers the man’s passion for researching Spider-Man. Peter and Gwen also get an emotional reunion, leading them ever so closer to an official relationship. Then there’s the actual main plot of the issue, with a mystery villain called the Brainwasher using his club to hypnotize important city officials to do his bidding, including Captain Stacy. It makes for an intriguing plot, with poor Mary Jane an unwitting pawn in the scheme. The final-panel reveal that the Brainwasher is actually the Kingpin is the cherry on top, marking a quick return for the crime lord.

Speaking of Mary Jane, she gets to be featured on a, pretty memorable, cover for the first time, before Gwen or Harry or other more longstanding characters and she and Spidey get a cute moment when Spidey saves her after she’s taken hostage. I always found this interaction memorable, as it’s the first interaction MJ has with Peter as Spider-Man and because it’s another example of early moments working well with the famous retcon. She could easily just be busting Peter’s chops by flirting with him as Spidey, obviously unbeknownst to him. Also, Mary Jane is such an enjoyable character. I haven’t talked about it a lot so far, but she’s one of my favorite supporting characters in comics and probably my favorite love interest for any hero. Although I like and appreciate her even more when she receives more characterization and nuance in the years to come, she’s still a barrel of fun even at this stage, with the party girl persona in full effect, ensuring engaging and unique interactions with the rest of the cast. Overall, a blast of an issue with fun character dynamics and the return of a great villain, with a direct follow up next issue!

Comments: First time Mary Jane is featured on a cover, getting one ahead of a bunch of characters that debuted before her. Peter meets Captain Stacy for the first time. On page 4, there’s mistake where one of Aunt May’s word bubbles is accidentally drawn as a thought bubble.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #59 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Though Spider-Man has his memory back, he is still wanted by the police, and so must evade them so that he can get to the hospital to see Aunt May. Spidey webs up the cops and swings to the hospital, snagging a directory to discover that Aunt May is on the top floor. Spidey crawls in and changes in a closet, narrowly avoiding a janitor. When Peter reaches her, Aunt May is overjoyed to see him and the doctor tells Peter that knowing he’s safe was better for her than any tonic. Afterwards, Peter realizes he has to come up with an explanation for where he has been and heads to the police station. Peter is questioned relentlessly and meets Captain George Stacy, who asks about Spidey’s memory loss. Peter then gives the story that the amnesiac Spider-Man grabbed him while he was taking photos of the webslinger but let Peter go once his memory returned and he realized Peter was harmless.

After all the questioning, Captain Stacy asks if he can spare any of Peter’s time and takes him back to his house. There, Captain Stacy shows Peter videos and other information he’s compiled on Spider-Man, wanting to know Peter’s thoughts on his assessments, having seen Spidey up close recently. The Captain’s daughter, Gwen Stacy, then appears, also overjoyed at Peter’s return, embracing him and making him feel rather self-conscious in front of Gwen’s father. Peter and Gwen then head to the Coffee Bean, where Peter and Harry Osborn are able to reunite and they tell Peter about Mary Jane’s new job at a club. Meanwhile, at that very club, the Gloom Room A-Go-Go, we find that Mary Jane is to be used as an unwitting pawn in a nefarious scheme by the mystery owner of the club, the Brainwasher. They’ll snap free photos of important city officials, which will leave them open to suggestion, allowing them to be brainwashed completely via the Brainwasher’s complex machines, putting the city government in his pocket.

The next morning, Spidey easily stops a robbery happening in broad daylight. The owner of the business thanks Spidey but laments about how the crooks will just be free again soon. This puzzles Spidey, and he wonders if it has anything to do with something he overheard at the police station, about various hoods being freed quickly on bail. Meanwhile, Mary Jane Watson demonstrates her dancing prowess for her employers and receives her instructions to walk around snapping free photos of the previously designated patrons. The big opening of the new club arrives the following night, and Peter, Gwen, and Harry reserved a front row table. Gwen is surprised to see her dad arrive as well and Harry notes that he recognizes quite a few city officials in the crowd. The group applauds Mary Jane on her performance and MJ goes around snapping the photos of the city bigwigs, including Captain Stacy, who suddenly starts to feel lightheaded afterwards. Captain Stacy gets up to clear his head and feels compelled to walk to the back of the club, where the Brainwasher’s men are waiting to fully brainwash him.

After a while, Gwen is concerned that her dad’s been gone so long and Peter offers to go look for him. Thinking something is fishy, he changes to Spider-Man and sneaks back in the club, immediately having to contend with the guards. An alarm is raised backstage, causing even more guards to swarm upon Spidey’s location. After taking care of them, Spidey tries to interrogate one of the guards, but Mary Jane wanders back at that moment, having heard to commotion. MJ is grabbed to be used as a human shield but Spidey expertly jams the guard’s gun with his webbing. Spidey rescues MJ and she flirts with Spidey a little bit before Spidey orders her to get to safety. Retreating further into the club, Spidey finds the Brainwasher’s men about to use their equipment on Captain Stacy. At that moment, the Brainwasher himself arrives and grabs Spidey, revealing himself to have been the Kingpin all along, to Spidey’s shock and chagrin! To be continued!

Don Heck
Mike Esposito
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Marie Severin (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Romita. Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain Stacy
Captain Stacy

(George Stacy)

(Wilson Fisk)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

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