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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #109

The Amazing Spider-Man #109 cover
Cover by John Romita Sr.

The Amazing Spider-Man #109
Published and © by Marvel, June 1972

Title: “Enter: Dr. Strange!”
Synopsis: Spider-Man and Dr. Strange team to save Flash Thompson from Asian monks who wrongfully seek vengeance!

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Romita Sr.
Inker: Romita Sr.

Review: Spider-Man teams with Dr. Strange! Vengeful Asian monks! Social relevance (i.e., Vietnam and interracial romance)!  Relationship angst! And, best of all, Gwen Stacy giving Aunt May a verbal smackdown! That’s a lot of comic book for 20¢! (Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this is a Stan Lee comic, after all!) Spider-Man #109 is a quintessential example of an early ’70s Spider-Man outing. Lee piles conflict after conflict onto Peter Parker’s life. Melodramatic? Yes, but it sucks the reader right into Spidey’s crazy world. Add strong, clean art from John Romita, and this is one enjoyable comic.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “Never before did (Romita’s) work look as good, as accomplished, as clean and polished as it did here … .” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue by Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon,” 2011

Cool factor: Gotta go with sassy Gwen Stacy’s verbal beat down of perennial busybody Aunt May. You go, girl!

Notable: Includes a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger ad (watch those hands, Governor!)

Character quotable: “Perhaps – a foolish old lady – lonely, and unthinking – can smother a person  – with love …” – Aunt May, with a startling consideration

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Sequential Reaction (Vol. 1) on Feb. 15, 2013.

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