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Amazing Spider-Man #9: Review

Feb 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Man Called Electro!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #9 Review by (December 20, 2023)

Review: Once again, we have the debut of a longstanding Spidey villain, this time Electro! He’s a pretty standard “superpowered guy who robs people” villain which works perfectly fine for these kinds of stories. However, though a lot of the villains during this period are pretty one dimensional, many of them gain more depth over the years, and Electro…just kind of stays the same. He’s got cool powers and a memorable design, but not much in the way of a character. Because of this, I actually found the other aspects of the issue to be more engaging, such as Peter’s budding romance with Betty, and the stressors of Aunt May’s situation. Stan and Steve are really starting to showcase more the relatable issues and drama that makes classic Spidey so compelling. They’re really starting to get into the groove of the emotional aspects that a lot of classic Spider-Man stories will have shortly. There’s even some interesting foreshadowing to an important character connected to Betty upcoming, and the first inklings of actually starting to humanize Flash!

There are a couple weird tidbits as well, such as Jameson immediately thinking that Electro must somehow be someone he knows due to recognizing him. Jonah, you’re a well-known public figure and not nearly that humble, tons of people are going to recognize you. I also suspect that there may have been deadline problems with this issue as there are a lot more blank backgrounds this time around, when Ditko is usually pretty detailed with his backgrounds. Still, overall another solid villain intro with an increased focus on the drama that Spider-Man will become known for! A truly electrifying issue!

Comments: Electro’s first appearance, origin, and first battle with Spider-Man. The price of the operation Aunt May needs is $1,000, which through inflation, would equal almost $10,000 today. Betty gives some foreshadowing for the introduction of her brother, Bennett, in only a couple of issues.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #9 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our issue opens with Spider-Man quickly and anxiously making his way through the city. He swings upon a standoff between the police and some crooks, who surrender upon seeing Spider-Man. Spidey, however, just swings right on by, quickly getting home, and changing to Peter Parker on the way. We find out that the reason for Peter’s hurry is that he was filling the medicine prescriptions for his Aunt May, who has been very sick. Peter sits and ponders what he can do for her, as she’s worse off than they initially feared. Meanwhile, across town, a criminal calling himself Electro charges his electric powers and gets ready for a night of thievery. In order to test his new abilities, he uses his amazing electric powers to rob an armored truck, trapping the guards and stealing the money.

The next day, a doctor that Peter called for Aunt May tells him that she has worsened and needs to be moved to the hospital. Peter’s worry for Aunt May causes him to be completely spaced out and closed off at school, leading to all of his classmates thinking he’s just stiffing them. This includes Flash Thompson, who seemed like he might actually try and make amends with Peter, but decides against it after Peter’s apparent ignoring him. Peter then makes his way to the hospital to visit Aunt May, where he finds that Betty Brant stopped by to keep her company. Peter then heads out looking for some crime to photograph as Spider-Man, needing the money for the operation that Aunt May needs. However, it starts to rain, forcing Peter to head home to dry off and agonize about his various troubles.

The next day, we find J. Jonah Jameson at a bank, when it suddenly gets held up by Electro. Electro recognizes Jonah and taunts him before robbing the place and escaping by magnetizing himself up a wall. Jameson theorizes that Electro must actually be Spider-Man, since they’re both powerful, able to stick to surfaces, and recognized him. He prints as much in the Daily Bugle, causing the public to gossip about the possibility and anger Peter, seeing it as just another thing on his plate. At the hospital, the doctor informs Peter that the operation Aunt May needs would cost $1,000, causing Peter to ask Jameson for the money. Jameson tells Peter that he’d only pay that much for photographic proof that Spider-Man and Electro are one and the same. Peter then realizes he could also earn it by catching Electro and collecting the reward, and sets out to find him.

Spider-Man scours the city all over, eventually finding Electro breaking into a safe. Spidey is spotted by Electro, and fervently dodges his lightning blasts, before webbing Electro in the eyes. However, when Spidey tries to grab Electro, the electricity coursing through his body knocks Spidey out cold. Electro thinks he’s killed Spider-Man, and now reasons that there’s no one left to stop him. Spidey comes to a bit later, however, and super imposes some photos together to make it look like Spider-Man and Electro are the same, which earns him the money from Jonah, and makes Peter feel ashamed of himself. The whole city sees the apparent proof, including Electro, who finds it amusing before recounting his origin to himself. He thinks of how he was once simply a selfish electric lineman named Max Dillon, who got struck by lightning when working on an electric pole. Instead of killing him, it granted him electric powers, which he learned how to channel, deciding to become a criminal after his funds ran out.

Electro then breaks into a detention center, in order to free the prisoners there being held for transport, promising to free them if they agree to work for him. Peter hears about this development on his way to the hospital, but can’t go after Electro yet, as Aunt May has asked that Peter stay there with her through the operation. Peter agrees, and Betty shows up to give him support during this time, as they comfort each other during the stressful waiting. After the operation, Peter is relieved to find that Aunt May is doing better, and plans to head to the detention center. Betty asks him not to go there, as it’s too dangerous, and Betty worries that he’s starting to enjoy the danger, like someone else she knew, confusing and worrying Peter. Peter nevertheless changes to Spider-Man and stops on his way to the center to pick up a few things to help him fight Electro.

Spider-Man arrives at the detention center, causing Jameson to realize that he was wrong about Spider-Man and Electro, blaming Peter for the misfortune. Inside, Peter dons the rubber gloves and shoes he bought to help insulate him against Electro and sets up his camera. He jumps down and tackles the gathered inmates, before tossing various metal objects, in order to try and draw Electro’s electric attacks to them, and away from him. Spider-Man lands a punch on Electro, but knocks him back into a cell, causing the sudden flash from the current through the bars to temporarily blind Spidey! Spidey uses some ball bearings he used earlier to trip Electro before cutting off the inmates at the stairs to the roof, preventing their escape. The prisoners flee back downstairs and are intercepted by the cops.

Electro, now recovered, sends power through some power cables, and uses them to back Spidey into a corner. Spidey, however, feels a water main with a hose behind him, and uses it to shoot a stream of water at Electro, shorting him out and knocking him for a loop! Spidey unmasks Electro and realizes he has no idea who he is, leaving him for the police. Back at the Bugle, Jameson is furious but Peter shows him the photos he got of Spider-Man’s battle with Electro, changing Jameson’s tune. Betty is upset with Peter that he decided to take pictures at the detention center anyway, and Peter leaves with them both feeling dejected. The issue ends with Peter leaving the hospital once more, after visiting Aunt May, when Betty runs up to Peter and apologizes, and they walk home together, both realizing how strongly they are falling for each other.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Max Dillon)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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