Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #42

 Posted: 24 Jul 2023
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)


Peter just began his time as a grad student. Meanwhile Electro joined the Frightful Four (Wizard, Sandman, Trapster) to destroy Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Story 'Give me Liberty or Give me Death!'

As Spider-Man arrived at the Hudson River, he complained that he was late for the ESU boat ride due to traffic. He had to leave the bus and then swing twenty blocks to get to the boat. His classmates had patiently waited for him (except Marcy, who was ragging on him again) but began to board the ship. He landed in the roof of the ship and changed to Peter Parker, thankful that it was a nighttime cruise. He got a warm welcome from everyone except for Marcy, who wanted to know how he got onboard five minutes after the gangplank had been pulled in. He didn’t have an answer, so was glad when Dr. Connors interrupted.

At the same time, the Frightful Four arrived at Liberty Island via a motorboat. Electro and Sandman bickered over having to do manual labor and were shushed by the Wizard. A pair of guards arrived to investigate the scene and spotted the motorboat. They tried to drive back to headquarters but the truck refused to move. Sandman didn’t let the vehicle move, while Trapster glued their guns closed and Wizard levitated the truck. Trapster ordered Electro to do his part, which Max resented. He didn’t like being put to the test but shocked the guards into unconsciousness anyway. The four continued to squabble on their way to the Statue of Liberty.

On the ship, Peter wondered what Marcy’s problem with him was. He thought she had looks and intelligence but the attitude of a snake. He didn’t know why he cared and pondered if he was really that lonely since breaking up with MJ. He was stopped by Deb Whitman, who asked if he was solving the great mysteries of science. He said he couldn’t even solve the mysteries of his personal life and she replied that she had seen him. He was a brilliant student and teaching assistant. He had a lot going for him while she was just Dr. Sloan’s secretary who might become a housewife someday. Peter said she was selling herself short and she had common sense. She didn’t believe him but almost did. She asked him to hold her and he suddenly realized that he didn’t want to get involved with someone so soon. He looked up and noticed a flame message in the sky over Liberty Island. It looked like the Human Torch was calling him for an urgent meeting. He ran off from Deb and she went to the bathroom to cry.

Spider-Man found a tugboat to catch a ride to the island on. He tried to swing to the island’s docks but fell short, landing in the harbor. After crawling onto land, he saw the unconscious guards, still in the floating truck. He made his way to the statue’s torch, his usual meeting place with Johnny Storm.

Inside the torch, Electro was putting on a costume that would imitate the Human Torch. He would draw Spider-Man in for the rest of them. As Spidey arrived, he thought there was something strange about his friend. His spider senses went off and he dodged an electrical bolt. He immediately knew he was facing Electro and hid under the torch to formulate a plan. Electro said out loud that he should warn the others and Spidey wondered if he was facing the Sinister Six. As he walked downstairs, they turned to sand and he was certain he was facing the Six. Sandman told him the Sinister Six were a one time deal just as Trapster arrived to say he was facing a crew with an established reputation. Spidey realized he was facing the Frightful Four and was hit by one of Wizard’s antigravity disks. Spider-Man’s plan was to run but the disk held him in air long enough to get hit by Sandman.

Trapster glued Spider-Man’s limbs together as Sandman and Electro argued over who could kill him. Electro tried to take his mask off but the glue held it on. Electro told Trapster to dissolve it, but he only took orders from Wizard. Sandman said to take the mask off after they beat him to death. Wizard stopped them, saying they would impersonate Spider-Man and then draw in the Fantastic Four.

General Comments

This is an entertaining issue but mostly for the odd characterization. Peter certainly is a lonely man in this issue. He doesn’t know why Marcy hates him but still thinks she’s cute. He doesn’t want to get involved with Deb because he just broke up with MJ, yet he berated Electro for taking him away from a lonely woman. Deb herself is a case and a half. She was showing some pretty huge red flags, Pete. Maybe be single for a while.

I like how everyone was nonchalant about the unconscious guards. They’d been electrocuted, knocked out and left hanging in the air and everyone shrugged it off. Also it took all four to beat two human guards.

Sure, Sandman. The Sinister Six were a one time deal. Trapster of all people was awfully confident in believing that he was in the better group. I don’t know why Wizard thought they couldn’t kill Spider-Man and impersonate him anyway. Oh well, if bad guys used common sense then the heroes would all be dead.

Overall Rating

I’m noticing that this era of Spectacular seems to feature formulaic stories.


The story concludes in Fantastic Four #218.

 Posted: 24 Jul 2023
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)