Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #146

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Scorpion Strikes Back"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Gwen Stacy has returned from the grave in a non-zombie manner. Aunt May suffered a heart attack when she saw Gwen on the street and was hospitalized. The Scorpion - having served his prison sentence - has been released and subsequently returned to his criminal ways. During his last confrontation with an exhausted Spider-Man, he thought that he killed the wall crawler in a cement mixing vat. He thought wrong.

In Detail...

"Scorpion... Where Is Thy Sting?"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #146
Jul 1975 : SMURF 146.500 : SM Title
Summary: Scorpion
Arc: Part 2 of "The Scorpion Strikes Back"
Editor:  Len Wein
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Ross Andru
Inker:  John Romita, Sr.
Cover Art:  John Romita, Sr.
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #123
 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #7
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Clone Gensis (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Gwen Stacy (Clone), The Jackal, Scorpion

The Jackal sits alone in his laboratory talking to a bust of Spider-Man. As if to justify his upcoming plans, he tells 'Spidey' that he's waited two years to implement his revenge. Two years since the day he committed murder.

Switch scenes to our protagonist who is walking the other Gwen Stacy home to Betty Brant's apartment where she is currently staying. They try to figure out how she's alive and sort out their feelings for each other. Peter hesitates when Gwen asks him is he still loves her. This causes her to burst into tears and runs inside. Peter is conflicted; he obviously still has feelings for Gwen but has discovered feelings for MJ, capped with their goodbye kiss at JFK (#143). Unable to deal with this situation effectively, he changes to Spider- Man and begins to work off some frustrations by web-swinging around town.

The Scorpion crashes into a small-time mobster's house and demands that he surrender control of his mob. When he brags that nobody can touch him because he killed Spider-Man, the boss is too happy to show him tonight's news footage of a very alive Spider-Man. Humiliated the Scorpion leaves, promising to finish the job. As he leaves the estate, the Jackal makes him an offer to help him destroy Spider-Man. Scorpion listens attentively.

After finding the Scorpion's hotel room, Spider-Man locates the money from yesterday's bank robbery (last issue) stored in the second most obvious place - the closet. He phones it in to the police and leaves to pay a visit to Aunt May.

While in her hospital room, the Scorpion appears and demands Aunt May tell him how to find Spider-Man. Peter tries to stop the Scorpion but is easily brushed aside. Scorpion's scare tactics prove to be too much for May and she faints. Complaining aloud because "this ain't workin' the way the Jackal said it would", Scorpion resorts to 'Plan B': search room to room until he finds Spider-Man.

Peter changes to Spider-Man and eventually catches up with him. This time he's not fatigued, he's furious. He throws the Scorpion around like a rag doll, finally punching him through a window. When he gets outside, Spider-Man chases the Scorpion on the rooftop, eventually kicking him hard enough to put him out of his line of sight. Scorpion uses this time to try to escape.

After calming himself down, Spider-Man searches for Scorpion and begins to question how the Jackal knew to send him to May's room. Doubting sheer coincidence, he realizes that the Jackal must know his identify, which complicates things. He quickly finds the Scorpion climbing up the side of the Chrysler building. He begins hammering him down the length of the wall. The Scorpion catches himself on a gargoyle and falls for his plan to scare him into surrendering. He promises that he'll do anything if he just won't hit him again. 'Anything?' Spider-Man asks.

After the police have him in custody, the Scorpion returns to Aunt May's room and apologizes for attacking her. After receiving some stern criticism from May about his actions, he is escorted back to prison.

In General...

The opening with the Jackal doing his ode to Hamlet is mesmerizing and of course the hospital sequence is awesome. Scorpion attacking Aunt May? Just wrong. This makes the inevitable fight all the more meaningful.

There are three minor points that I would like to address:

  1. The final fight is a bit short. Good but short. Spider-Man isn't tired this time and he's ticked off due to the personal nature of the attack. Throw in the fact that Gargan is a thug with another appendage and you get short fight.
  2. The cops bring the Scorpion into May's room bound by his tail and in what appears to be regular handcuffs. I'm calling that a very bad idea. Despite everything else, he's got enhanced strength; more than enough to snap ordinary handcuffs and escape. I'm guessing Peter (as Spider-Man) told him he'd be waiting outside if he tried anything.
  3. It's never mentioned explicitly but I believe the main reason Scorpion was arrested was for violating his parole (armed robbery tends to do that). Terrorizing a senior citizen in his costume probably didn't help either.

Overall Rating...

The few point mentioned above aside, I think this is a very strong issue. It's a good close to the return of the Scorpion story from last issue and it advances the main Jackal storyline without appearing forced.