Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #197

Background

Spider-Man, realizing that his Aunt May might still be alive, was rushing toward her nursing home to find out what was really going on (in reality, her death was an elaborate ruse by the burglar who killed uncle ben and Mysterio, who were after a treasure in the Parker home). On his way, Spider-Man was captured by some thugs and brought before the Kingpin of crime!

Story 'The Kingpin's Midnight Massacre'

Spider-Man regains consciousness after the conclusion of last issue and finds himself at the feet of the Kingpin. Spider-Man is still groggy from his experiences and wonders to himself how the Kingpin survived their last encoutner. We don't have to wonder for long though, because the Kingpin goes right into a classic villain flashback, revealing that he had survived his fall from issue #164 (or thereabouts) but had gotten amnesia from it.

His enemy, Silvermane had tried to assasinate him in his weaken state, but succeeded only in placing the Kingpin in the hospital where he regained his memory over many months. After regaining his memory, Kingpin returned to his wife, who gave him an ultimatum: Quit crime in 24 hours, or she would leave him. Kingpin decided to leave crime, but first, before his 24 hours were up, he was going to kill his greatest nemesis: Spider-Man. Then, the Kingpin and Spider-Man (whose injured arm is keeping him far below peak fighting level) start to brawl, right there in the Kingpin's mansion. This fight lasts the entire rest of the issue, going back and forth between the two combatants, each one gaining the edge for short periods of time. Kingpin throws Spidey through a wall, Spidey hits Kingpin with dumbbells, and so on.

Eventually, after a long time of fighting back and forth, the Kingpin destroys a support beam, and the ceiling of a room collapses on Spider-Man, knocking him to the brink of unconsciousness. Kingpin drags Spider-Man's limp, defeated body into the open and prepares to finish him with a blast from his laser-cane, but just then, his 24 hours run out, and his wife tells him to make a choice: kill spider man and leave her, or let Spider- Man live and live with her free of crime. Kingpin chooses to let Spider-Man live, passionately kisses his wife, and leaves Spider-Man lying beaten on the floor, perhaps content that he faced his greatest foe squarely, and won.

General Comments

Fun issue. The Kingpin's story of how he survived his last encounter with the web-slinger is really a classic villain survival story from back when villains needed to say how they survived. Nowadays a villain dies in one issue and reappears with no explanation at all, and everyone just kind of accepts it. The fight scene was awesome and managed to capture the reader's attention all issue long. I've always found it hard to beleive that the Kingpin can compete physically with Spider-Man, as Spider-Man can lift 10 tons, and even if Kingpin was in peak human condition and could lift a thousand pounds, Spider-Man is still 20 times stronger. For the love of the medium I can forget that and just enjoy a great issue, even if it might be a stalling tactic so the climatic events of issue #200 can wait till said anniversary issue. If this was a stalling tactic, it was a good one, because, like I said, it was fun.

Overall Rating

Great and classic fight scene between Spider-Man and one of his greatest enemies. The story was simple and yet very fun.