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Amazing Spider-Man 130


Gerry Conway Writer

Ross Andru Artist

F. Giacoia and D. Hunt Inkers

Artie Simek Letterer

P. Goldberg Colorist

Roy Thomas Editor

Suffering from insomnia, Peter Parker decides to go web-slinging for an hour of fun. After fifteen minutes, he sees from his vantage point that a group of costumed men emerging from a manhole must have had trouble sleeping, too!

The five men are preparing their weapons for an assault on a skyscraper, only one of their number has been surreptiously webbed up while their collective backs were turned. Looking up into the sky, they receive a cheerful greeting from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

One hood attempts to shoot, but Spidey manages to dodge the modified laser device, then kicks the gunman in the face! The others run, but one is tackled by Spider-Man, who wants to know about the guns and the skyscraper...

The hood is afraid that if he talks, he'll die, and while Spidey is skeptical, the hood is serious. Even if he mentions his boss' name, the act will kill him. Pressed further, he begins to say the name of "Ha-Hamm-ha -- AAAAHHHH!" (Holy Name Game, Batman! I think there's a family by that name in Forest Hills. Wouldja believe Apokolips?) The startled web-slinger sees that the dead man died as if his brain were short-circuited, just by saying the name. At a pier near 34st and 12 Avenue, a most unusual meeting is already in progress...

The Jackal is offering his services to Hammerhead, who is unimpressed by what he sees as a costumed bum. The Jackal smiles and points out that Hammerhead was once the ganglord of all New York, only to run afoul of Spider-Man and forced to flee the country. (Amazing Spider-Man #113 - #115). In the past months, The Jackal has established himself, and has no need of a mob. The words anger Hammerhead, who vows to make the mysery man pay... both him and Doc Ock, while The Jackal takes his leave, and is counting on Hammerhead's temper to play into his hands.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings for The Baxter Building, where The Fantastic Four reside, and enters through a window to rouse Johnny Storm out of a sound slumber. The previous week, the junior member of The F.F. has put the finishing touches to Spidey's car. For the past five weeks, they've been working on a car which would have a non-polluting engine, whose inventors wanted the web-head to be their spokesman. Heading for the garage, Johnny turns on the light and Spider-Man takes a long look at... The Spider-Mobile! To Spidey's eyes, the vehicle has "fiasco" written all over it.

With the ideas they had to work with, the car come out fine, and Johnny is quick to point out that he did a fine job. When Spidey asks if the car will run, the two take the car down to a nearby sidestreet, where Johnny explains that the left switch is for the spider-signal and the right shoots webbing... The wall-crawler then wonders if Johnnny is serious about the seat ejector, while The Torch is adamant that it's a classy feature. Spidey is pleased to see that the spider-signal works, and the automatic webbing is doing the job. He revs up the Spider-Mobile and Johnny flames on, as they see how the car moves!

The Spider-Mobile roars to life and swerves onto Park Avenue, where it swerves into the wrong lane... and its legend is born! (Holy Yugo, Batman!) Flying alongside, The Torch wonders where Spider-Man got his license, and the wall-crawler tells him that he once owned a motorcycle. When Johnny asks him if he ever had lessons, Spidey tells him that he never took any because he never thought he'd have money for a car. Since he's a New Yorker, Spidey wonders why he would need to drive in Manhattan? The Torch takes the wheel and stops the car, insisting on giving Spider-Man a few pointers, and not become an accessory to mass murder!

As they drive off, they are unaware that their performance was being watched by Doctor Octopus! He recalls the accident which made him a human octopus (Amazing Spider-Man #3), as well as making the acquaintance of May Parker, and now, Spider-Man has fallen into his sights! On the roof of the Pan Am Building, Ock's men greet him, and regret not knowing when he was going to be out of jail. A metallic tentacle slaps the man, whose mistake caused Doctor Octopus to walk thirty-four blocks! (Holy Slim-Fast, Batman! He could stand to lose a few pounds! Boy... I should talk...)

The unconscious figure is left on the helipad, while Ock and his men board the helicopter, and head for his Westchester hideout -- towards an appointment which will affect the lives of May Parker and her nephew! Hours later, Spider-Man returns from his first driving lesson, and knows that he shouldn't have a friend teach him how to drive... or else he'd lose either said friend or his sanity. With Harry Osborn not at home, Peter answers the phone...

Aunt May greets her nephew and hopes she's not disturbing him. As Peter is about to ask her about Dr. Octopus and if she could possibly return to Queens, there's a knock at the door. Mary Jane Watson greets Peter, and he continues the phone call, telling his aunt that he'll call her back. Mary Jane is admiring Peter's reading material, while Peter regrets that he doesn't have as much time as he likes to read them. The works of Sartre, Jung, Camus are among his preferred reading, and he tells her that they don't call him a bookworm for nothing. While Peter changes clothes in the bedroom, Mary Jane is going through his record collection, and tells him that Professor Warren is upset that Peter's missing all of his classes!

Mary Jane is determined that Peter not miss any more classes, and she then takes a moment to admire his '70s fashion ensemble, complete with ski sweater and khakis. As they head for the campus, Peter knows that with Mary Jane by his side, there'll be no chance for him to slip away and become Spider-Man. She suddenly remembers that on Christmas Eve, Betty Brant and Ned Leeds will be having a party, which is just what they need. Peter sighs and agrees that it's just what they need. After three days have come and gone, Christmas Eve finds an explosion going off! From the side of a skyscraper, some familiar costumed goons have gotten what they've sought, and are now wearing jet-lifts!

The costumed hoods land, and are startled to see the spider-signal appear on the side of a building! Turning, they move aside, just as The Spider-Mobile comes roaring across their path! As the four men try to make their getaway, they are caught in the web-shooters of the Spider-Mobile! Only one man is left, and as he runs with his stolen files, the wall-crawler's spider-sense goes off... and he sees...

Hammerhead! The gangster uses his head to ram the Spider-Mobile, knocking it over in the force of his sudden charge. Spider-Man manages to leap to safety on the side of a building, only to have Hammerhead use his head against it, causing Spidey to loose his tenacious grip...

As he lands on the snowy ground, Spider-Man is unaware that Hammerhead has been practicing, and can move faster than he had before! The gangster runs into Spidey, knocking him into a group of garbage cans. It is unknown how long he is there unconscious, but when Spider-Man revives, he sees the police inspecting the Spider-Mobile...

The two policemen don't know what to make of the monstrous contraption, and Spider-Man is determined to get the car back... or else he won't have any rent money. Seconds later, he webs up the two policemen, then gets the Spider-Mobile upright again, and spots an envelope in the snowpile. It has Aunt May's name on it, and Spidey figures that this was what Hammerhead was after. When he reads the envelope, the web-head will know what Doctor Octopus wants from Aunt May, and he'll be able to stop Doc Ock once and for all!

On a rooftop, The Jackal has been watching when Spider-Man found the envelope he planted, and he is certain that the wall-crawler, Hammerhead, and Doctor Octopus will destroy each other, leaving him the winner of all! Peter's late for the party, and he plans to read the envelope when he gets a chance. Peter activates the Spider-Mobile's camouflage mode, and soon, it no longer resembles Spider-Man's wheels. Inside, Betty greets her old boyfriend, and Peter is glad to have the company since Aunt May is in Westchester. As Peter chats with Betty and Ned, J. Jonah Jameson yells for his freelance photographer to come over.

Jameson has decided to give Peter his Christmas bonus... one of his personal cigars, and he doesn't want the lad to thank him because it's the holiday season. Mary Jane tells Peter that it's Mistletoe Time, but he's not in the mood. He doesn't know how to tell her that he's not ready for another romance... and that the only girl he can think about is Gwen. In the other room, Peter turns on a lamp, and reads the contents of the envelope. He now knows what Doc Ock wants, and he must warn his aunt before she does something she'll regret! Before an hour has passed, Spidey knows that no one will miss him at the party, and he must swing all the way to Westchester!

Thirty-two miles later, Spider-Man has hitchhiked most of the way, and makes his way to Ock's house, without the guards spotting him. He is thankful to have left the Spider-Mobile in New York because the last thing he needs is some useless machinery. He hears some voices coming from a window, and Spider-Man sees a sight he can't believe... Doctor Octopus is marrying Aunt May!

The cover features Hammerhead ramming The Spider-Mobile, as if seeking to defy its appearance in the pages of the issue.

Ross Andru was the artist on Spider-Man when I was reading the title in the '70s. His scenes of Spider-Man swinging through New York are among my favorite memories of that time.

Dave Hunt was a letterer. Was he also an inker and a colorist? I seem to remember him inking Curt Swan on Superman.

Spider-Man playing stealthy web-tricks on hoods is alway good for a laugh.

His snappy banter is also a source of amusement.

Since this is a holiday story, I can say that The Jackal resembles The Grinch, and if he wore a Santa Suit over that green outfit, he'd be a dead ringer for Seuss' classic character.

Hammerhead reminds me of a Chester Gould character. When The Punisher and Batman crossed paths in a story by Chuck Dixon and John Romita Sr., we saw how the nameless gangster fared against The Dark Knight.

Spider-Man and The Human Torch have continued their friendly rivalry, with Johnny playing a part in the creation of the Spider-Mobile.

There used to be a battery-operated Spider-Mobile toy, but I preferred the gyro-powered Spider-Cycle, myself.

Unlike a certain Burton movie, I doubt we'll be seeing the Spider-Mobile moving as fast as a parade float in the next Spider-Man movie.

In the '70s, my mother would learn how to drive a car and get her license. Way to go, mom!

Interesting how Doc Ock can make his way through the streets of New York, with his metal tentacles carrying his baggage, and not attracting too much attention.

Peter's ski outfit played a part during his appearances by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito in the '70s. He has that almost Elvis-like haircut going, too.

Unbeknownst to Peter and Mary Jane, Professor Warren has been doing some afterschool activities of his own, at this time.

Hammerhead has appeared on The Fox Spider-Man cartoon, as well as the second Spider-Man Playstation game.

Doc Ock marrying Aunt May. Now THAT'S a sight to conjure with when you're trying to dream of sugar plums dancing in your head.

Steve Chung