Comic Browser:


Amazing Spider-Man #86: Review

Jul 1970
Stan Lee, Jim Mooney

Story Name:

Beware...The Black Widow!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #86 Review by (January 17, 2024)

Review: So, Spidey is sick but no one cares, we have the introduction of classic Black Widow who has been around now for five decades with only minimal changes. It’s from the classic Lee/Romita era so the writing and the art are exceptionally cool and the tale is a lot of fun as Nat in her Emma Peel jumpsuit takes on Spider-Man who is deathly ill, making them still unevenly matched. It takes him only two seconds to scare her off and move on to his next thrilling issue without giving her another thought. It’s a bit embarrassing for Nat but it makes for a nice transition from Hawkeye’s ex-Commie girlfriend to classic heroine in her upcoming solo series. Stay tuned, Pilgrim, the rest is history.

Comments: Black Widow was introduced as a Soviet spy/femme fatale who made things difficult for Iron Man while recruiting Hawkeye in TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 and four further issues. She’s still a baddie in AVENGERS #29, reforming the next issue. After that she’s loosely associated with the Avengers, mainly as Hawkeye’s girlfriend who isn’t always trusted; she works for SHIELD in AVENGERS #39-44, quitting as BW in #45. She shows up sporadically in that title (with a side appearance in CAPTAIN MARVEL #12) until issue #76, where she also breaks up with Hawkeye. And through most of this she wore a blue, black, gray, green, or lavender costume with fishnet bodice, sleeves, and stockings plus a cape and a Catwoman mask. And now we have the debut of her signature look: skin-tight black costume, Widow’s Bites, flowing red hair, no mask. The following month, Black Widow begins her first solo series in AMAZING ADVENTURES (1970) #1, sharing the book with the Inhumans. And this issue announces the title as AMAZING TALES.

And Spidey tells JJJ to join the Silent Majority. The term was used by President Richard Nixon to refer to his great mass of supporters who did not express their views publicly but he was sure they outnumbered his very vocal critics. Spidey ignores the political subtext and just uses it as a clever way to tell Jameson to shut up.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #86 Synopsis by Julio Molina-Muscara

Spider-Man swings by on his way home, reeling from an encounter with the Kingpin, and he is spotted by the Black Widow who has an idea. She reviews her comics history for us, deciding she is tired of being the jet-setting socialite Madame Natasha and wants to return to a life of adventure to help her forget the sorrows of her recent past (Hawkeye, Red Guardian, etc.)….

The groggy Spidey makes it back to his apartment but a look through the window shows him his roommate Harry Osborn with Gwen Stacy and her father Captain Stacy. He goes around to his window and webs some clothes; dressed in his civvies, he returns to the apartment to greet his guests. Gwen is overjoyed to see him until everyone notices the bruises on his face. He tries and fails to brush them off; Gwen wants Peter to promise to have nothing to do with Spider-Man and not to call her until he can make that promise. Captain Stace knows Pete is keeping a secret but doesn’t push. After they leave, Pete is wracked with lethargy and dullness and tries to study, wondering if he is finally losing his spider-powers….

To cut herself off from the past, Black Widow designs a new costume, skin-tight with a belt to hide her web-line and powerlets for the Widow’s Bite on her wrists. But she doesn’t want to live in the shadow of Spider-Man so she sets out determined to find out how his powers work so she can use it too. She swings across the city and is spotted by J. Jonah Jameson from his office window; he realizes it is a woman web-slinger and he assumes Spider-Man put her up to it. Meanwhile she waits for Spidey….

Peter is too sick to concentrate on his studies so to learn if his powers are fading he goes out swinging around town but a dizzy spell fells him outside JJJ’s window. They trade barbs and Spidey takes off. He decides to check on Aunt May but when he peeks in her window she sees him and panics; Anna Watson convinces her it was just her imagination. He heads back to the city and his Spider-Sense tingles…

…because he has been spotted by the Black Widow. She blasts him with a Widow’s Bite which, in his weakened condition, sends him plunging toward the ground and BW has to catch him in her webs. They introduce themselves but she goes on the attack and is surprised he doesn’t fight back. He allows her to tie him up to find out what she wants but the disappointed Widow just mocks him as an overrated bum. So he bursts her web, gums up her stings, and chases her off. She realizes he completely outclasses her, whatever the reason for her catching him. She goes home and decides not to imitate anyone but to become her own person facing her own destiny….

Spidey is completely drained by this time and he slowly makes his way back to the apartment. He takes a sample of his blood to examine under a microscope to see whether he is losing his powers but he can’t bring himself to look….

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Romita. Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain Stacy
Captain Stacy

(George Stacy)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

Share This Page