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Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #3: Review

Nov 1966
Stan Lee, Don Heck

Story Name:

... To Become An Avenger

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #3 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Don Heck is also a penciler in this issue.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #3 Review by (November 9, 2011)
The Indexes place this issue between various contemporary comics. For Spider-Man it's Amazing SM #41 and #42. The Avengers appear between Av#33 and #34, while Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are on leave (Av#30-36). Hulk is wandering New York looking for the Avengers between Tales to Astonish #84 and #85. (I think finding him near a Gamma Ray Research Centre is a coincidence.) Fitting into Iron Man and Thor's chronology wasn't so simple. It says here that they have both come from pressing business. Iron Man is in the middle of a continuous sequence of issues in Tales of Suspense #81-86, and Thor is in the even longer stretch from Journey into Mystery #124 to Thor #140. The Indexes don't have the heroes interrupting their own stories. Instead they put this tale after both of these sequences have finished. This is the 1st return of Iron Man and Thor to the Avengers since they took leave of absence in Av#16. It is the 1st time the Avengers try to find Hulk since Av#17, which was their 1st action after their reformation in Av#16. The original Avengers felt a responsibility for him (at least in #1-5). Spider-Man doesn't know Hulk is Bruce Banner. The military found out in TtA#77, but it won't become common knowledge until TtA#87. It will be a long time before Spider-Man becomes an Avenger. He will serve a brief stint in Av#329-333. But of course he will become a mainstay after New Avengers #1.

Additional Review and Comments by Anthony Silvestro:

Review: Here we have the third annual for Spider-Man, as he is considered for Avengers membership! While Spider-Man being an Avenger isn’t that unordinary in the modern comics, for decades Spidey was one of the few heroes who was never really on a team. I feel like the idea of this issue was to play with the idea but firmly establish Spidey as not being quite the right fit for the Avengers, which always suited me fine, as I’ve always preferred Spidey as a solo hero. As is customary when Spidey interacts with other heroes, he comes off a lot more impulsive and hotheaded, which is at least a consistent characterization, if a little frustrating. After formally meeting the Avengers for the first time and fighting with them for a bit, they task him with finding the Hulk and Spidey zips out before they can even finish explaining! When Spidey does find the Hulk, he takes pity on him, and decides not to take him back to the Avengers, even though he would’ve known that they were just trying to help the Hulk if he’d listened for another five seconds.

Like I said, while I don’t mind the decision to not have Spidey join the Avengers, how they get there is a little frustrating, with poor communication and impulse control all around. The other notable thing about this issue is that the penciling is done by Don Heck, a rarity for Spidey comics. While Heck’s art isn’t bad per se, it is a noticeable step down from John Romita, with his Spider-Man in particular looking a little rough. There’s also a weird bit where the Avengers ask Daredevil for info on Spidey and Daredevil recommends him. Then, when one of the Avengers asks why they don’t ask Daredevil to join, the response is just that no one formally suggested him. So….why not do that now? He’s literally right here. The real answer is that this isn’t a Daredevil comic, as well as Daredevil being the other major hero who was never on a team for a long time, but it’s still weird in context. Overall, a solid issue with an interesting premise that gets a little bogged down by questionable communication and a slight dip in art quality.  

Comments: Spider-Man’s first official introduction to the Avengers. First time Spider-Man is considered for Avengers membership. Spidey and Hulk’s first meeting since ASM #14.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The #3 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
The Avengers hold a meeting to decide whether to invite Spider-Man to join their group. After getting a character reference from Daredevil, Thor invites Spidey to a come to Avengers Headquarters to be tested for membership. On arrival, Spider-Man, nervous about how this decision may affect his life, loses his temper and, thinking this is part of the test, starts a fight. Once everyone is calmed down, the Avengers decide to have Spidey bring them the Hulk as a test.

Spidey locates the Hulk at the Gamma Ray Research Center and battles him, looking for the Green Giant's weak spot. There isn't one. He tricks the Hulk into breaking through the gamma ray shielding wall, and the radiation causes Jade Jaws to revert to Bruce Banner. Discovering that his foe is the helpless victim of a scientific accident causes Spider-Man to feel sorry for the Hulk. When Banner turns into the Hulk again, Spidey lets him leave rather than help the Avengers persecute him any further. So Spidey, totally unaware that the Avengers knew about the Hulk's condition and only wanted to help him too, reports back that he couldn't find his quarry and heads home, giving up his chance to join the famous superhero team.

Additional Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro:

This special issue opens with the Avengers discussing the matter of possibly adding Spider-Man to their ranks. Captain America leads the discussion and Hawkeye immediately voices his approval for Spider-Man joining, while Goliath suggests that Spider-Man ought to be tested. The Wasp isn’t fond of this idea but after debating in circles for a bit, Cap suggests that they learn more about Spider-Man first. Hawkeye then suggests they contact Daredevil, as he has had a few run-ins with Spidey in the past! The Avengers then blanket the area with high frequency radio signals, which alerts Daredevil. Daredevil arrives and voices his recommendation for Spidey to join the Avengers. With this new positive info, the Avengers set out to find Spider-Man.

Thor is the one who finally finds Spider-Man, encountering him when Spidey is swinging around the city. Thor tells Spider-Man that he’s to be tested for Avengers membership and Spidey is taken aback, asking for time to consider the idea. Peter heads home, all the while thinking about how being an Avenger might affect his life. When he gets home, Aunt May asks Peter to pick up a new medicine prescription which gives him more time to mull over the pros and cons of joining the Avengers. Peter thinks that it may be harder to maintain his secret identity if he’s more in the public eye but thinks that it could also open up new avenues for him. After tons of soul-searching, Peter makes the decision to give it a shot, seeing it as an opportunity to use his spider powers on a grander scale.

Spidey heads over to Avengers Mansion and is formally introduced to all of the team, minus Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who are currently in Europe. Spidey is itching to get to his test but the Avengers admit they haven’t decided what it should be yet. Iron Man suggests that Spidey leave while they think of how to test him, which causes Spidey to lose his temper a bit, feeling like he’s being talked down to. Hawkeye retaliates a bit, which causes Spidey to think that this may be the test, as he attacks the Avengers! Spidey tussles with the Avengers for a bit, even after realizing that this isn’t actually the test, as tempers run high! After breaking the fight up, Iron Man suggests that Spider-Man go bring the Hulk back to the Avengers as his test, and Spidey impulsively heads out, before the Avengers can give him all of the details or explain why they want the Hulk!

Spidey scours the city for a bit to no avail and decides to stop by the Daily Bugle for a drink. Spidey stops in, royally aggravating J. Jonah Jameson, when Frederick Foswell suddenly runs in with news that the Hulk has been spotted near a Gamma Ray research center! Blessing his good fortune, Spidey swings over to the research center, quickly finding the Hulk, who doesn’t seem to remember Spidey from their last meeting in ASM #14. Spidey avoids the Hulk’s attacks while finding his own completely ineffective! Spidey continues to avoid the Hulk’s punches, when Hulk punches right through the shielding wall, dousing him in a heavy dose of gamma rays, temporarily reverting him back to Bruce Banner! Spidey is shocked, having had no idea that the famous scientist Bruce Banner is also the Hulk!

After hearing of his whole ordeal, Spidey thinks that the Hulk needs help, not punishment! Just then, Banner starts to change back into the Hulk, and Spidey staggers him with a mighty blow before he reaches full strength! As he begins to try and web up the Hulk, Spidey sympathizes with him and decides he’s not going to turn the Hulk over to the Avengers. The Hulk then easily frees himself and lumbers off, having quickly forgotten about Spider-Man. Spidey stops by Avengers Mansion again to tell the Avengers that he couldn’t even find the Hulk and he quickly heads out. The Avengers then ponder Spider-Man’s supposed failure, revealing that they wanted him to bring the Hulk there in order to help him. Meanwhile, a weary and saddened Peter makes his way home, all the while trying to convince himself that he made the right decision.

Don Heck
Mickey Demeo
Stan Goldberg
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Romita. Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Matt Murdock)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Peter Parker)


> Amazing Spider-Man Annual, The: Book info and issue index

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