Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #33
This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings
This review was first published on: Sep 2012.
On the previous issue, Pete met his new professor (Morris Sloan), a fellow grad student (Marcy Kane) and found out that Doc Connors now has a lab at ESU. If all of that wasn’t enough, on the final page we are introduced to a brand new villain, The Iguana!
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #33
Aug 1979 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Iguana"
|Reprinted In: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #2|
|Articles: Iguana, Lizard|
With his red-tinted Spider-Signal pointed directly at the monstrous creature in front of him, Spider-Man clearly sees that it’s not the Lizard he is tangling with but instead a new creature named the Iguana. While Spidey pauses to assess the situation, the Iguana wastes no time attacking and consequently putting a beat down on our hero. First the Iguana throws the stunned Spider-Man through a sheet of glass and into an exhibit and then attempts to drown him in a pool of water. During the tussle, Iguana mentions something about not liking light and Spidey assumes that he is referring to his Spider-Signal, which he actually calls his “spider-beam.”
Spider-Man eventually gets loose from the reptile's grasp and as the Iguana continues to chase after the elusive web slinger, Doc Connors awakens from his unconsciousness and warns Spidey that the Iguana “has all the powers of the lizard!” Those powers include controlling other reptiles to do his bidding, a fact we find out while Marcy Kane is leading the undergrads through the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles. Gators, snakes and various other reptiles easily break from their glass cages and make their way across the zoo to the World of Darkness where Spider-Man and the Iguana are currently going rounds. Undergrads and security guards alike scatter in a panic.
As soon as the marching reptiles find their destination, Spidey grabs Connors and heads for the building’s circuit box. By flipping on the exhibit’s lights, the Iguana (who really hates light) is blinded and runs off. Spider-Man then webs up the stray reptiles and quickly changes out of his Spider costume so that he can meet up with Marcy and the others. When Pete catches up with the students, Marcy immediately accosts him for taking pictures of the reptile mishap on school time. Peter says that he was only searching for Doc Connors and drops a bit of info that he is working for the Daily Globe now, a rather recent development that took place in the now famous Amazing Spider-Man #194 which hit newsstands alongside PPTSM #32 in July of ’79.
Later that evening, Pete dons the Spider-Man outfit so that he can talk one on one with Connors and find out exactly what’s going on. Pete swings back to Connor’s lab at ESU to find out that he has basically been waiting on Spidey to come by. Connors then explains the origin story of our new villain the Iguana. Apparently the blasted Enervator, a machine created by Connors during the convoluted ‘Kingpin brings his son back to life’ storyline from Amazing Spider-Man #164, is responsible for the creature’s creation. Despite the fact that the Enervator caused Connors to turn into the Lizard during the subsequent Stegron saga in Amazing 165-166, the good doctor decided he could still yet regenerate his arm if he were to use the machine on an iguana. Obviously the results turned out poorly. The machine, not surprisingly, turned Connors into the Lizard but for some extremely strange reason the Lizard’s life force was gobbled up by the small, harmless iguana, turning it into the large and very harmful Iguana.
Spider-Man and Connors both decide that the Iguana is probably heading towards Connors’ family with bad intentions so Spidey rushes out of the lab to save the Connor family. Not convinced by the fact that every time he or his family have ever been in trouble Spider-Man has saved the day, Doc Connors thinks it best to use the Enervator to turn himself into the Lizard to take care of the Iguana himself. Meanwhile, Spidey arrives at the Connors residence to find that the Iguana is indeed present and is looking to capture the Connors for “insurance” purposes. Spider-Man grabs the overgrown reptile by the tail and swings the scaly monstrosity out onto the Connors’ balcony.
In the midst of the melee, Billy Connors (Curt’s son) shows some gumption by directly standing up to the Iguana, first vocally and then with a lamp post. A swift strike of the Iguana’s tail sends Billy soaring through the air though and Spidey has to shift his attention away from the villain in order to pad the boy’s fall. This gives the Iguana a chance to grab Spider-Man by the throat, with his ever-active tail, and dangle him over the edge of the balcony. With Spider-Man helplessly dangling 10 stories in the air, the final page shows the Lizard climbing up the side of the high rise with the Iguana in his sights.
There is a lot more action here than on the previous issue, so much so that we actually only see Peter Parker on one page. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. The action is fast and fierce and the fights are captured brilliantly by, inker by trade, Jim Mooney (who also drew the excellent cover). Once we actually start to get to know the Iguana though, it’s easy to see why it became just another throw away villain created by Bill Mantlo. The Iguana is, in a sense, no more than the Lizard in a different body. It talks and acts just like the Lizard and it basically exists only so that the Lizard can eventually fight it. A fight we will see on the opening pages of the next issue.
The action is nicely done and there is a fair amount of anticipation built up for the Iguana vs. Lizard battle, but in just his second issue the Iguana already feels like a b-list villain.