Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Single Issue Hall of Fame: Amazing Spider-Man #80

If you been reading this blog, you've figured out that I'm a pretty big Steve Ditko fan. It may surprise you to discover that my favourite Spider-Man story is one that may not be considered to be much of a classic by the Spidey cognoscenti. What's so great about Spidey #80? Well, it really begins and ends with the Chameleon. He was Spidey's first real super-villain (although, he has not super-powers per se), but IMHO he's been brutally underused throughout Spider-Man history. Spider-Man was a revolutionary book in the sense that much of the storyline line flowed from issue to issue and there were several multi-issue arcs, a real rarity in the 60s. This one, however, accomplishes a great deal in one issue, and is a real treat for those who miss crisp and concise storytelling. The artwork is by the three-headed BuscemaRomitaMooney Monster, and it's quite strong.

The story here is a lot of fun, as Spider-Man tries to set a trap to catch the Chameleon. The plan almost backfires, though but a great twist ending enables Spidey to triumph. The 'master of disguise' premise is a really good one, as it forces Spidey to fight with brain rather than brawn. That being said, I guess it's a well you don't want to go back to all that often for fear of losing the impact. Perhaps the Chameleon is better suited as a nemesis for another Marvel hero, but who? Wouldn't work at all with Daredevil, too small potatoes for the Fantastic Four, perhaps as an ongoing thorn in the side of Tony Stark/Iron Man? I could see him as the source of some industrial espionage problems for Stark Industries. That could work. For the time being, have a look at ASM #80, as it is a great little mystery.

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