Review: Amazing Spider-Man #166

The Amazing Spider-Man #166 cover
Cover by John Romita

Amazing Spider-Man #166
Published and © by Marvel, March 1977

Title: “War of the Reptile-Men!”
Synopsis: Spider-Man feels a little Christmas cheer, despite being stuck in battle with the Lizard and Stegron, the Dinosaur Man.

Writer: Len Wein
Penciler: Ross Andru
Inker: Mike Esposito

Review: Despite a few seasonal trappings, this issue is a pretty typical mid-Bronze-Age outing for Spider-Man’s flagship title. Len Wein’s story pops along at a brisk pace while still taking time to develop a subplot or two. But Stegron’s motivation isn’t clear and his “retro-generation ray” feels like a prop from a ’50s B-movie. The art, by the always-solid team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, is serviceable but unspectacular. And their design work on the various reptilian foes falls short in the scary department. This isn’t a bad Spider-Man comic by any means, but it’s no cause for holiday cheer.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “The story seems to be an excuse to team up a stupid reptilian villain with a better, establish one, as if that would somehow save it. It doesn’t. … 2 out of 4 stars.” – Jim Johnson, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1602, March 2005

Cool factor: Dinosaurs attack New York!
Not-so-cool factor: Make that “retro-generated” dinosaurs.

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a Whitman variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable: “I had my web-shooter filled with the cure for your lizardism.” – Spider-Man, ready for anything

Editor’s note: This review was written Nov. 22, 2020.

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