Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #341

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Powerless"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2008.


Last issue, Dr. Turner sought out Spider-Man for a series of tests to determine how his powers work. Spider-Man volunteered but quickly discovered that the machine temporarily negates his powers.

After a near fatal battle with the Femme Fatales coupled with the events in Amazing Spider-Man #336 (still not gonna spoil it if I can help it) Peter has a long talk with MJ.

The next morning he returns to Turner's lab and requests that he use the machine to take away his powers permanently.

In Detail...

"With(out) Great Power..."
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #341
Nov 1990 : SMURF 341.500 : SM Title
Summary: Spidey Goes Normal
Arc: Part 1 of "Powerless"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  David Michelinie
Pencils:  Erik Larsen
Inker:  Randy Emberlin
Cover Art:  Erik Larsen
Staff Only
 Reprinted In: Complete Spider-Man (UK) #12
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Black Cat, Chameleon, Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Tarantula II

Dr. Turner activates his machine and despite the intense agony it causes him, Spider-Man remains in it long enough to completely negate his powers. A few simple tests prove that he can no longer adhere to walls, lift heavy objects, and most importantly his spider-sense has been switched off. He thanks Turner and leaves. As he watches Spider-Man leave, Turner gives a wry smile and is pleased with his actions.

Spider-Man walks to the rooftop trying to convince himself that he did the right thing for both MJ and Aunt May. As he webs a nearby flagpole, he's in mid-swing when he realizes that he no longer has powers. Holding on for dear life, the now powerless Peter manges to climb up his web and on to the roof. He lays on the roof looking at the sky, clutching his chest in sheer terror. He thinks to himself that he should call MJ to meet him with a change of clothes.

Back inside Turner's office, he reveals (to the audience) that he commissioned this machine from the Tinkerer with the intention of merely incapacitating Spider-Man. This was a welcome side effect that should be explored. Moments later Gullivar South contacts Tarantula II and offers him the chance to kill Spider-Man for ending his attack on Delvadian refugees in New York. He sweetens the deal when he mentions that Spider-Man is now powerless. South ends his conversation with without hearing his answer; South knows Tarantula will jump at this opportunity. We then cut back to Turner's office where we find Gullivar South sitting in Turner's seat.

Returning home from his near-death experience, Peter and MJ are met by Flash Thompson and Felicia Hardy. They invite the Parkers to a picnic in Central Park. MJ initially makes an excuse but Peter readily accepts. Both Felicia and MJ are surprised by his answer. Once inside Peter explains to MJ that since he no longer has his powers, Felicia won't be interested in him as she was always attracted to "Spider-Man" and not him. Plus he needs to start doing "normal" things now. He tells her that he also wants to invite Aunt May along and calls her. May declines his offer and has to answer a knock at the door.

The visitor is none other than Willie Lumpkin, the mailman for the Fantastic Four. He has a new mail route that apparently includes her house. He indicates that he has a letter from Anna Watson in Florida with postage due. May admits that she doesn't have any change on her at the moment. Willie tells her not to worry, he'll come by tomorrow and get it ... and looks forward to it. May is likewise smitten with her new mail carrier.

In the west 90s block of Manhattan, a charity fundraiser is underway for the Delvadian refugees. Tarantula attacks the gathering and holds a priest hostage. He plans to use him to lure Spider-Man out into the open. At Central Park Felicia is caught off-guard when Flash presents her with an expensive double heart necklace. Her attitude toward him has changed since the mugging attempt and this latest development puts an additional wrinkle in her revenge scheme.

When Tarantula's demands are broadcast over the radio, Peter hears it and has little choice but to comply. MJ tries to remain calm, but as soon as Flash and Felicia leave, she has a minor breakdown. She composes herself and follows them to the warehouse mentioned in the news report.

Peter returns home and puts on his costume. He arrives at the warehouse and tries desperately to make a convincing entrance. He fails in this endeavor. Tarantula attacks him but is too consumed by anger at Spider-Man's to be very effective. Peter's normal reflexes are barely enough to dodge Tarantula's boot spikes.

In the middle of this chaos Flash overhears the SWAT leader's command to storm the warehouse. He decides that he has to warn Spider-Man and runs into the warehouse, despite MJ's attempts to stop him. When she turns around, Felicia has disappeared as well.

Once inside Flash knocks one of Tarantula's guard out and grabs their gun. Unable to find Spider-Man, he finds the priest and lays down as much cover as possible to allow his escape. Tarantula is livid and since Spider-Man is out of his reach, he decides to take out his frustrations on the nearest person.

He stabs Flash with the boot spike containing "chloral hydrate" which renders him unconscious. As he prepares for the killing stroke, he is attacked by Felicia and Spider-Man who succeed in knocking him out. When asked why she saved Flash, Felicia responds that she can't break a dead guy's heart. Spider- Man is unconvinced by her callous comment. They leave Flash for the approaching paramedics.

The paramedics treat Flash and prepare to take him to the hospital for observation. While they are occupied with Flash, Tarantula slips away.

Back in Dr. Turner's office, news of Tarantula's failure has reached him. He is unconcerned and finds Spider-Man's next opponent: the Scorpion.

In General...

Yeah, it was pretty obvious last issue when Turner sent the Femme Fatales after Spidey that he was gonna be trouble. The plot thickens as to why he would be interested in doing this.

Felicia is slowly beginning to realize that she has true feelings for Flash. The double-heart necklace this issue and fighting off her attackers (#337) have impressed her quite a bit.

As for the Spidey/Tarantula fight, I think Peter survived only because (a) Tarantula is the same threat level as Hobgoblin IV before he received his demonic powers. Harry Osborn took out this Hobgoblin, therefore a powerless Spider-Man should be able to hold out against this Tarantula for a few minutes. (b) Tarantula has to attack with his feet. This gives Peter a few extra seconds to react, otherwise he'd be turned into a pin cushion.

Overall Rating...

3 webs. You knew he'd have to fight a few of his enemies without his powers. Despite the fact that you could see this coming, I still found myself enjoying it as it illustrates what makes Peter the hero he is. Even without powers - and against a killer - he will still do what he can to help others.


The cover is a spoof of Spectacular Spider-Man #158 in which Spidey unknowingly receives the powers of Captain Universe.

Spider-Man interfered with Tarantula's revenge on Delvadian refugees in Spectacular Spider-Man #137.

Flash successfully fought off muggers who wanted a bit too much from Felicia in Amazing Spider-Man #337

Hobgoblin IV received a butt-kicking by Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man #312. He received the demonic powers in Spectacular Spider-Man #147.