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Amazing Spider-Man King-Size Special 3
"...To Become an Avenger!"



(Originally Reviewed on 05/06/02)

On the cover, Ol' Web-Head is duking it out with The Incredible Hulk, who has him in a patented Hulk-Hug, while Captain America rushes to stop them, Hawkeye prepares to fire an arrow, The Wasp, Thor, and Iron Man close in by air, while Goliath is prepared to take on the winner!

Earth's Mightiest Heroes are in a meeting about enlisting The Amazing Spider-Man into their group, with Hawkeye admiring his swinging style, Cap noting that both he and The Archer have been wanted by the law, The Wasp not liking spiders at all, Goliath eager to test him in all fairness, The Son of Odin doesn't know what to make of the enigmatic web-swinger, while Shell-Head advises caution in making the decision.

Goliath suggests that they agree on a fitting test for him, while The Wasp suggests that Spidey swing to the moon, while Hawkeye wonders why Cap is less than eager about this prospective member, and among The Avengers, there is some doubt. Iron Man points out that they know little about Spider-Man while Thor wonders where Pietro and Wanda are, and it is explained that Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch are in Europe, another reason for a new Avenger in their ranks. Thor wants a chairman in charge of this task, and this month's is Cap's turn. The Star-Spangled Avenger wishes to learn more about Spider-Man, and Hawkeye suggests that they call in Daredevil, who had fought with and against the wall-crawler. Jan is eager to meet D.D., while Goliath is less than thrilled. Iron Man wonders how Daredevil can be contacted, but Cap is aware that The Man Without Fear is sensitive to sounds and impulses.

Cap uses morse code and both he and Goliath send high-frequency radio signals, while the others wonder why they haven't nominated D.D. for membership. Over the city, Daredevil receives the message and soon greets Earth's Mightiest Heroes, telling them how he and Spidey fought The Ringmaster a little more than a year ago, then more recently, he met The Web-Slinger again, and on this occasion, he was more skilled and strong than ever. Daredevil recommends him for membership. Cap agrees that Spider-Man should be tested for membership, while Hawkeye points out that he came to this conclusion 30 minutes ago. The Wasp reluctantly agrees, as does Goliath, The Son of Odin, and Shell-Head.

The Mighty Thor heads off in search of Spider-Man via Mjolnir, while Hawkeye uses an aircycle, aware that both he and Spidey were wanted by the law, but somehow he finds the web-head trustworthy. Iron Man joins in the search, knowing that both he and Thor aren't able to be full-time Avengers, and that Spider-Man could be an asset for their team.

Goliath and The Wasp make their way through the streets of New York, naturally attracting a crowd of curious pedestrians and photographers. (Holy Dick and Liz, Batman!) Elsewhere, Spidey's spider-sense begins to tingle, grateful that he has no homework today, and is about to swing off when a commanding voice bids him halt. Turning, he sees Thor, or as he puts it, "Goldilocks, The Hippest Hammer In The West." The God of Thunder has summoned him to head to Avengers Mansion!

Thor tells him that he is about to be honored with the opportunity of being tested by The Mighty Avengers, which leaves Spidey slightly less than awed, especially since he's not exactly a neophyte, and The God of Thunder is adamant that each prospective member must be tested. Still shocked by Thor's pronouncement, Spider-Man knows that he's been a loner and not exactly has been certain he wanted to be an Avenger, and of course he needs time to think about it. It is Thor's turn to be surprised, that this masked man would think twice before accepting the honor being presented this day. The Son of Odin points out that it is their responsibility to aid their fellow man and that The Avengers have a track record of their own, while Spidey wants Thor to stop laying it on thick, as if he were watching an commercial.

Thor reluctantly agrees that others than himself may have a difference of opinion when it comes to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and so he takes his leave, so that Spider-Man may consider his words. Spidey is relieved, especially since he thought that Thor was going to bean him with his hammer, not to mention that his departure almost knocked off the roof. He has 24 hours to contact them, and even Spider-Man is impressed by Thor's mode of travel, as well as The Thunder God, himself. Changing back to Peter Parker, he visits his Aunt May in Forest Hills, and Peter wonders how things would be if he became an Avenger. His aunt needs her perscription refilled and she didn't feel well enough to walk to the drug store, while Peter is aware of how well she is, and as he leaves, Peter wonders if he can think of himself, especially when his aunt is elderly and ill, and he's the only family she has?

Riding his motorcycle, Peter thinks that if he became an Avenger, perhaps folks like J. Jonah Jameson would have to treat him with respect, but on his own, he can do as he chooses, and he can concentrate on his studies and watching his aunt. Picking up the perscription, Peter knows that if his aunt learned of his secret identity, she might die from the shock, and if he did join the group, it would be harder to keep the secret, especially when in the public eye. Peter regrets the news, especially after having just purchased a motorcycle and things at school going well for a change. At home, Aunt May sees that her nephew is tired, and in his room, Peter Parker comes to a decision. Knowing that he has been giving his spider-powers for a reason, he intends to use them for the good of his fellow man, and heads for Avengers Mansion.

Spidey is greeted by Captain America, who is about to introduce him to the other Avengers, with Iron Man certain that the web-head should be able to tell them apart, Hawkeye is eager for him to join, Goliath wishes him luck with his tryout, The Wasp is still reluctant on the subject, and Thor hopes that they'll become allies.

Ready for his test, Spidey looks around and asks who he has to fight, with Hawkeye eager to get it on, and Cap insisting that this is not the type of test they had in mind. Spidey wonders what kind of test there would be other than fighting in The Avengers, while Cap is eager to continue the discussion, with Thor wishing to select the appropriate test, and The Wasp whispering to Goliath that Spider-Man seems angry. Iron Man tells Spider-Man to leave the room while they discuss the test, and Spidey not too impressed by Shell-Head's banter, and that if they don't want him, he'll leave, they are unaware that he is thinking of his aunt's welfare. Cap advises him to calm down, while The Wasp finds him to be untrustworthy. Wing-Head tells him that the test is supposed to determine his loyalty, his abilities, and his spontaneity.

Hawkeye is none too pleased when Spidey tells Cap that he'd make as good an Avenger as any of their number. Thinking that this is the test, Spider-Man leaps towards Hawkeye, with Thor seeking to pull them apart, and Iron Man cautioning them all about his spider-strength. Cap tries to break it up, with Spider-Man striking Shell-Head a glancing blow, and Hawkeye eager to shoot an arrow. Realizing his mistake, Spidey relaxes and lets Goliath pull them apart. Goliath strikes him, determined to illustrate that neither his power or his temper will sway them, while Cap regrets that the wall-crawler is excitable.

Spidey lands a punch on Goliath, who warns him not to start something he can't finish, while The Wasp stings him, and the web-head manages to flip Cap over his head into Goliath, determined to prove that they're not dealing with an amateur. Hawkeye is impressed by his nerve, if not his sense, while Spidey has forgotten what they were fighting about, and Cap warns him not to do that again, and Iron Man, Goliath, and Thor separate them.

Thor notes that Spider-Man has proven his courage and his fighting spirit, and prepares to talk with the others, while Spidey wonders if a debate is next, and The God of Thunder advises him not to be flippant. Iron Man has thought of a test, especially since The Hulk has been sighted in the city. Captain America wants Spider-Man to bring The Hulk to Avengers Mansion! (Holy Scavenger Hunt, Batman!) Spidey can't believe that all he has to do is bring The Green Goliath to their lair, with Hawkeye admitting that it's not an easy task and The Wasp certain that he's gonna fail. Cap points out that Spider-Man is to lure The Hulk to Avengers Mansion, not defeat him, and Spidey is confident that he can do the job. Spider-Man takes his leave of Avengers Mansion, certain that he can outwit The Hulk, while Goliath points out that they haven't told him what they want with The Hulk, and Cap tries too late to get Spidey's attention, and Thor certain that they'll tell him later.

Spider-Man makes his way through the city, shining the Spider-Signal in alleys, and thinking that if he were The Hulk, he would have made tracks, especially with The Avengers on his trail. Hours later, he is one thirsty web-slinger, and although he can't go to a soda fountain in his get-up, he decides to pay a visit on an old pal of his... J. Jonah Jameson! The publisher of The Daily Bugle is less than pleased to see the wall-crawler and demands that he leave immediately! Not heeding Jameson's words, Spidey makes his way to the watercooler and drinks his fill, while Jameson is on the phone with the police, and when he tells the operator that Spider-Man is in his office, the operator offers to give him the number of an exterminator. Frederick Foswell enters the office and tells Jameson that The Hulk has been sighted near the downtown Gamma Ray Research Center! (Holy Petula Clark, Batman! The Hulk is waiting for you!) While Jameson tells Foswell to cover the story, Spidey takes his leave of The Daily Bugle.

By web-slinging, Spidey beats Foswell by fifteen minutes, since the reporter has to catch a cab, and his spider-sense begins to tingle. Getting closer to a certain alley, Spider-Man has found his quarry... The Incredible Hulk, who doesn't remember his old sparring partner from Amazing Spider-Man #14 (and not #10 in the footnote by Stoical Stan, since Spidey went up against The Big Man and The Enforcers in that one.) RRRAKKKK! The Hulk's two hands dig into the nearby brick wall, while Spidey manages to avoid him, and using his spider-speed, gets up the wall to safety!

The Hulk leaps and Spider-Man ducks, with The Green Goliath smashing through some iron window bars, and he wonders what it must be like to be that strong? To The Hulk, the entire world is his personal pinata! Spidey leaps and slams his two leg into The Hulk's midsection, but is caught in a bearhug, until Spidey lands twin chops on The Green Goliath's shoulders! FFTAKTAK!

The Hulk wonders why Spider-Man wants to fight him, and he's tired of being chased and being attacked, while Spidey lands against some boxes, and agrees that it wasn't The Hulk who came after him. He doesn't know how he can explain that this is part of some test, while Greenskin is determined to fight back! Spider-Man ducks the punch, which smashes the gamma ray shielding wall, and The Hulk is bathed by Gamma Radiation, triggering the most awesome transformation of all...

Dr. Bruce Banner knows that this transformation is only temporary and Spider-Man knows of the atomic scientist. He is told about the accident that created The Hulk, and Spidey now knows of Banner's Jekyll and Hyde-like existence, as well as the fact that Bruce Banner couldn't be evil. Bruce wonders why Spider-Man wasn't able to destroy him as The Hulk and Spidey tells him that he was lucky to get out with his webbed head intact, then asks Banner what The Avengers would want with him. He doesn't know since the transformations affects his memory, then feeling the transformation beginning again, he tells Spider-Man to run before he becomes The Hulk again, but Spidey wonders why The Avengers sent him after this poor nuclear physicist instead of some villain? The transformation is almost complete and The Hulk hasn't reached his full strength yet...

Spider-Man clenches his fist and lands a haymaker on The Hulk, before he gains his full strength, staggering The Green Goliath! He wraps The Hulk in thick webbing, then sees in his eyes that the once-scientist is like a wounded beast, unaware of why he is being hunted, and beneath that bestial veneer is the soul of a scientist. Unable to bring himself to turn him over to The Avengers, he frees The Hulk, just before Greenskin himself manages to get himself unwrapped!

Sweeping Spider-Man aside, The Hulk strides forth, determined that nothing stand in his way, and Spidey takes his leave, knowing that this troubled beast needs help and understanding, not hatred and pain. At Avengers Mansion, they await Spider-Man's return, and when asked by Goliath what happened, Spidey tells them that he wasn't able to find The Hulk and he'll be taking off.

Iron Man can't believe that Spider-Man took his failure so lightly, while Thor thinks that there's more to this than meets the eye, The Wasp is disappointed, Goliath is unable to understand her, and Cap regrets that they weren't able to help The Hulk, and Hawkeye figures that there's something to those editorials in The Daily Bugle after all. On the rooftops, Spider-Man knows that he could have lured The Hulk back to Avengers Mansion, but he couldn't do it since it would be like leading an animal to slaughter! Peter Parker walks through Forest Hills, thinking about how he wanted to be an Avenger, but deliberately failed, perhaps it was meant for him to be a loner, and he is unaware that Earth's Mightiest Heroes wishes to help The Hulk as much as he did. At home, Aunt May offers her nephew some warm milk, but Peter is tired, knowing that he discarded the chance to join Earth's Mightiest Heroes, wondering why nothing turns out right for him, and even when he wins, he loses. Turning to the window, Peter tells himself that it worked out as well as it could, and perhaps someday he'll believe it.

A Silver Age Slugfest with The Hulk and Spidey, with an appearance by Earth's Mightiest Heroes and The Man Without Fear. The question is... will The Hulk and Daredevil fare as well in the box office as Spidey has?

Fine art by John Romita and Don Heck, each the respective artists on Spider-Man and The Avengers, with Mike Esposito delineating the details.

The interaction between the characters is what makes the story work. How each of The Avengers don't know what to make of Spider-Man, let alone some of their members aren't too crazy about him joining their group is realistic. We know what a great guy Spidey is, as well as The Awesome Assemblers, but things happen when you get them all in a room together.

Peter Parker is a grounded and responsible young man, who lives with his Aunt May, and knows that such decisions aren't to be made lightly, especially with a lot at stake. In The JLA, folks can join without batting an eye, but here with The Avengers, it's a different story.

"What other kind of test is there to join a fighting team?" Can't argue with them apples, Spidey.

A Spidey story is precious and sure to be a classic with the appearance of J. Jonah Jameson and his bitter tirade with Spider-Man, especially how The Web-Slinger can get his goat. This cigar-chomper is the best, this side of Sgt. Fury.

Spider-Man first battled The Hulk, when The Green Goblin set up a trap for him, pitting The Enforcers against The Webbed one, as well in Amazing Spider-Man #14, as part of a movie. Wow! Life imitates art!

In Bruce Banner, Spider-Man meets someone who's worse off than he is ,and someone he can relate to, in regards to science, and circumstance, such as the effects of radiation on the human body in The Marvel Universe.

In honor of the movie, I'm hoping to review more Spidey this week. Hope you enjoy them.