Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #5

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: From The Beginning

This review was first published on: 2002.

Background...

Dr. Doom has been around longer than Spider-Man. Considered by many to be the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe, Dr. Doom is the creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He first appears in Fantastic Four #5 (July 1962) with a time machine and a cockeyed scheme to steal Blackbeard's treasure. Over the next year, Doom faces the FF four more times. He teams up with the Sub-Mariner (FF #6, September 1962), swaps bodies with Reed Richards (FF #10, January 1963), tries to conquer the micro-verse (FF #16, July 1963), and concocts an elaborate death trap (FF #17, August 1963). With his plans thwarted by the Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom escapes capture by leaping out of his airship to his apparent death. But Doom has survived worse scenarios than this. So it is no surprise to see Doom turn up two months later. What is a surprise is the comic in which he makes that return: The Amazing Spider-Man.

In Detail...

"Marked for Destruction By Dr. Doom!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #5
Oct 1963 : SMURF 005.500 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man Meets Doctor Doom
Editor:  Stan Lee
Writer:  Stan Lee
Pencils:  Steve Ditko
Inker:  Steve Ditko
Cover Art:  Steve Ditko
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Dollar Reprints (ASM #3-5 Unmarked)
 Reprinted In: Marvel Masterworks #1
 Reprinted In: Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus #1
 Reprinted In: Pocket Book: Spider-Man Classics (Vol. 1)
 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales #142
 Reprinted In: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #2 (Story 4)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Classics #6
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Collectible Series (Newspaper) #10
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Collectible Series (Newspaper) #11
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Doctor Octopus #1
 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #1
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Pocket Book #8
 Reprinted In: Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man (TPB)
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Betty Brant, Doctor Doom (FB), Doctor Doom, Flash Thompson, Human Torch, Jameson, J. Jonah, Seymour O'Reilly

We begin with a splash page that introduces us to most of the players for this issue... including a last name for Liz at last. (Spelled "Allan" in this issue.) Then we jump to a television program entitled "Spider-Man... A Force for Good or Evil?" In beautiful black and white, the show is hosted and sponsored by publisher J. Jonah Jameson so we know which way the evidence will be slanted. (And if you're not sure, Jonah spells it right out for you at the start, blurting out, "I say that Spider-Man belongs behind bars!".) A gang of teenagers in a local bowling alley is watching the program. Among them are Peter Parker, Flash Thompson and Liz Allan. Flash declares that he thinks, "Spider-Man's the coolest". Peter decides to "talk against Spider-Man" in order to allay any suspicion. He tells the gang "Jameson may be right". After all, nobody knows a thing about Spider-Man. Flash contemptuously declares that Peter would "faint if [he] ever caught sight" of Spidey. Liz speculates that Spidey is "real handsome under that silly mask". (And she actually sighs after saying this!) Flash suddenly tells Pete to "get lost". ("This is a bowling alley, not a knitting parlor", he says.) A seething Peter Parker goes but thinks, "there's even a limit to Spider-Man's patience".

Jonah's TV show continues (as JJJ offers a thousand dollars to "anyone who can disclose Spider-Man's true identity".) In another part of town, a man encased head to toe in armor, wearing a green tunic and hooded cape, watches the program and wonders if Spider-Man is the answer to his problems. As he stalks through a room filled with elaborate machinery, Dr. Doom thinks back on his battles with the Fantastic Four. Always, they end in stalemate. Alone, Doom has not been able to win. But if he had an ally... someone like Spider-Man... "even that accursed quartet would not be able to save themselves from my wrath". He thinks back to his last encounter with the FF, when he was forced to leap from his airship and disappear into the clouds. Now, he reveals that he waited until the clouds hid his actions, and then activated a "jet powered flying belt" he had concealed beneath his cloak. It was an easy matter to fly to one of his many hideouts.

Seconds after deciding to contact Spider-Man, Doom already has a method mapped out, complete with a very large spider trapped in a big glass container that looks a bit like a toy top with big screws hanging off of it. (Wow! He had a giant spider all prepared just in case he happened to see a show on TV that would give him the idea of contacting Spider-Man. The guy really is a genius!) Using the same method devised by the Chameleon back in ASM #1 (March 1963), Doom deduces that Spidey has "the sensory powers of a spider" and uses his imprisoned arachnid and a "spider-wave transmitter" to stimulate the ol' spider-sense. The way it works is, Doc holds an orange thingamabob up next to the spider in the jar and yells "Calling Spider-Man! Calling Spider-Man!" into it. Don't laugh! This actually works!

Because Peter is home, standing on the wall, dressed in his whole Spidey suit except the mask and gloves, and spinning webs all over the place (yeah, Aunt May won't walk in, so why not?) when he hears that "Calling Spider-Man!" as plain as day. "Who can it be?" he wonders, as he snags a glove off his table with some webbing and puts his mask on, "How could anyone have figured out a way to reach me through my spider's sense?" (Yeah, after all, it's only the second time it's been done in the first five issues!) He leaves the house and webslings over the city, following "the sensory impulses to their source!"

Soon after, Spidey arrives at his destination. He peeks through a window and immediately recognizes Dr. Doom. In the very next panel, our hero is inside the room and clinging to the ceiling. (What? Did he teleport in?) He asks Doom why "someone with your talent" has bothered to contact him. Doc presents his idea of a team-up. "Together, we could rule the world!" he says. (Just like Pinky and the Brain!) He presses his case by comparing Spidey's sorry lot with the success of the Fantastic Four. They get to bask "in the limelight, while you are shunned and hunted", he tells the web-slinger, but secretly he is thinking that he will bend Spidey to his own purpose then "destroy him without a second thought".

Spidey has descended to the ground and he muses over Doom's offer. "Wouldn't that be a gasser?" he says. Doom takes this as a "yes" but he is mistaken. Once Spidey gets over being amused by the idea, he turns the Doctor down. "I need you like I need another nose", he says. Doom is not amused. He warns Spidey that a refusal will make them "deadly foes". Spidey responds by covering the Doc with webbing... or so he thinks. A door slides open in a nearby wall and the real Dr. Doom appears. The webbed-up Doc turns out to be a robot.

Now, Doom initiates his attack. A trap door opens up beneath Spider-Man's feet. Any normal person would have fallen right in. But "a feller with the reflexes of a spider" is able to brace his hands on the floor by the opening, leap high in the air, and come down right on top of Dr. Doom. The Doctor's (armor-augmented?) strength is enough to fling the web-spinner away from him. He follows this up with a ray blast from his "finger gun" (which is just what it sounds like). The nimble wall-crawler leaps away from the blast and intentionally tumbles backwards out of a window. It turns out that Doom's hideout is right on the waterfront. When Spidey breaks through the window, he twists about and lands safely in the water. Doom watches him float away. He decides to let the webhead go for now but vows, "he shall still serve my purpose". How? First he plans to learn Spidey's true identity. Then he will capture him and use him as bait to trap the Fantastic Four. Still scheming, Dr. D. heads for his helicopter.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man (who never had any intention of letting Doom get away) doubles back and climbs a piling under Doc's hideout. This time he plans to seize the element of surprise. But, when he reaches the roof, the whole building explodes. Spidey realizes that Doom is probably miles away by now. He leaps to safety, pulls out his camera, and takes some pics of the burning building for J. Jonah Jameson. A crowd gathers and sees him as he leaps away. One bystander, of course, announces that it must have been Spider-Man who blew up the building.

The next day at the Daily Bugle, JJJ agrees to buy the pictures of the fire but tells Peter he really wants shots of Spidey so he can pin the fire on him. Peter, deciding to "needle the ol' windbag" tells his boss that the public is tiring of the attacks on Spidey and wonder, "what your real motives are". Betty Brant, Jonah's secretary, agrees. "I've heard some of our readers mention that they think you're jealous of Spider-Man for some reason", she says. Pete is surprised to hear that he has an ally in Betty. He suddenly realizes how pretty Betty is, as well. Jonah tells Peter and Betty that his only motivation is "to make money". "The more I attack Spider-Man, the more people read my papers!" Peter doesn't buy this explanation. As far as he is concerned, his boss is just a "big blustering phony".

Elsewhere, Liz Allan and five of her nameless friends are all smiles over an impending practical joke. They are face-to-face with Spider-Man, who intones, "Where is Peter Parker? I want him! Bring him to me!" Spidey isn't Spidey, of course. He removes his mask to reveal Flash Thompson underneath. The costume was put together by "the gals" for one purpose. To scare Peter Parker. "This'll teach our bookworm buddy to knock Spider-Man!" Flash says.

In another of his hideouts, Dr. Doom has "devised an instrument which will react to a spider's impulses the way a Geiger counter reacts to uranium". His plan is to fly around town in his helicopter, waiting for the spider-detector to find Spidey in his real identity. (Because God knows there aren't any other spiders in the city that might set off a spider-detector.)

Now all the coincidences start to come together. Peter Parker is spotted by two of Flash's pals as he walks along on Front Street. They race off to tell Flash they have located Pete. Meanwhile, up in the air, Dr. Doom's helicopter draws near. His detector starts to register positive. The two boys find Flash, who is waiting nearby in his Spider-Man uniform. So, Peter walks on the sidewalk, right next to a high wooden fence. Flash, in his Spidey suit, is walking along on the other side of the fence, ready to jump out at Pete at the point where the fence ends. Up in the air, Dr. Doom pinpoints the spider impulses. He looks at his view screen and pays no attention to Peter Parker walking on the sidewalk. No, he sees Spider-Man walking in the grass alongside the fence. "Strange", he thinks, "he's wearing his costume in broad daylight!" (That's not strange, Doc. What's strange is that you manage to leave your helicopter hovering ten feet off the ground with a rope ladder hanging out of it and nobody ever notices.)

So, Spider-Flash has reached the end of the fence with Peter just on the other side. He is about to jump out and scare Puny Parker. Then, he happens to look over his shoulder and sees Dr. Doom coming towards him, pulling a gun out of a holster. The gun contains a "fast-acting sleeping gas". He sprays it on Spider-Flash's head and the costumed teen collapses in a heap. As Stan puts it, "And so, Doctor Doom makes his first careless mistake... not suspecting that his Geiger-like device had reacted to Peter Parker's presence, rather than the imitation Spider-Man's." Pete is so caught up in his own thoughts that he never even notices anything. Dr. Doom slings Flash over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He carries him back to his hovering ship, speculating, since he was so easy to trap, "Spider-Man possesses less super-powers than people think".

Across the street, Liz and the gang wait in vain for Flash to jump out. Peter walks by and is gone. They are all disappointed. "Maybe Flash's costume tore or something", suggests Liz.

Peter gets home and finds Aunt May watching Ed Sullivan on TV. Suddenly, the picture goes out, turning into a series of wavy lines. (As someone who grew up in the sixties, I can tell all you younger folks that this sort of thing used to happen all the time with television. I can remember many a time, watching some show, only to have the picture go out or the sound disappear or a signal fade away, followed by a card coming up on the screen asking us to "Please Stand By".) Aunt May is worried that her picture tube is broken (and she just had it fixed last week). Then, an announcer comes on, informing the audience that "there is nothing wrong with your sets' reception". It turns out that "some strange force" is taking over the transmission. Pete doesn't seem to be buying it. He fiddles with the knobs on the set. But just then Dr. Doom's image appears on the screen. He is broadcasting a message to the Fantastic Four. He gestures behind, showing that Spider-Man is his prisoner. He demands that the FF disband within the hour or he will kill the wall-crawling wonder. Aunt May is relieved that the prisoner is only Spider-Man. After all, he's "probably as much a menace as Doctor Doom". (And who cares if he gets snuffed, right Aunt May?) Peter is just confused. He knows that Doom doesn't have the real Spidey captured. So, what's the trick?

Just then the phone rings. It is Liz Allan, calling from a pay phone, still surrounded by all the nameless kids. Liz is so worried about Flash that she tells Peter everything... except on whom they were going to play the prank. Peter, who can figure out for himself who the intended joke victim was, cavalierly tells Liz that there's nothing he can do to find the phony Spider-Man. "Flash doesn't exactly head my list of favorite people, remember?" he says before hanging up. Realizing that Doom has captured Flash by mistake, Pete takes time out to gloat. He knows that the FF will never agree to Doom's terms. All he has to do is stay out of it, Doom will murder Flash, and Peter will never have to be bothered by his loud-mouthed enemy ever again! But, he knows he's just kidding himself. He can't let anything happen to Flash Thompson. He'll have to change into his Spider-Man suit and go into action himself.

So, Peter tries to slip out of the house by telling his aunt that he has to do an errand only to have May forbid him from leaving. With Dr. Doom and Spider-Man and who knows whom else out and about, she wants her nephew "home where it's safe". Pete knows May is fragile and the doctor has suggested she be spared worries, so he agrees to stay home tonight. But, he knows he can't really stay so he resorts to some subterfuge. He goes down into the cellar, telling May that he is checking to see that the cellar windows are locked. While down there, he removes the master fuse from the fuse box, which sends the whole house into darkness. Pete uses his spider-sense to find his way back upstairs. Aunt May has used her Aunt May-sense to already find a candle and light it. She tells Pete that they must have blown a fuse and that they have no more fuses in the house. Peter tells her he must go to the store for some new fuses. But once he leaves the house, he hides in the bushes and changes into his Spidey things. He checks his equipment by shooting some webbing and shining his "Spider-Man light beam" on the wall. And he's off!

At the Baxter Building, the FF discuss their options. Time is running out and they can't let Spidey come to harm but... they can't give up either. The Thing is annoyed by the whole business. "Blasted amateurs!" he says of Spidey, "Always gummin' up the works!"

Now in the city, Spider-Man deduces that Doom must be near an area "where some enormous dynamos may be located" in order to interrupt all the television signals. He swings by the phone company (with a giant stone rotary telephone on its roof) and the "broadcasting company building" but doesn't get any tingle from his "spider-instinct". He continues on and covers half the city before he feels "hostile emanations" from an abandoned factory.

Sure enough, Dr. D. is inside the factory. He watches his captive over a black and white TV screen. The man in the Spidey suit tells his captor that a mistake has been made, that he's not really Spider-Man. Doom is disgusted by Spider-Man's cowardice.

On the roof, Spider-Man reasons that the factory will be set up with "a zillion traps" in preparation for the arrival of the Fantastic Four. But it is just possible that Doom hasn't set up a trap in a large air vent... since it isn't an entranceway any FF member would ordinarily use. It is a very tight fit but the wall-crawler manages to make his way down. It leads both to Doc's location and to "The gol-dangest, ding-bustedest, rip-snortin'est, super-characters fight you've ever seen!" according to Stan.

The web-slinger hangs from the ceiling behind Dr. Doom. He announces his presence by shining his spider-signal. (Good thing he tested it on the wall of his house!) Doom doesn't understand how Spidey can be there when he already has him as a prisoner. Our hero explains that he is the real one and that Doom captured "a phony Brand-X in there". Doom can't believe Spidey was foolish enough to show up and place himself in danger. He shoots a finger-blast but Spidey leaps down to the ground and evades the shot. More finger-blasts follow but they are blocked by a "web column" that Spidey whips up to act as a shield. From his place of safety, Spidey concocts a "web ball filled with web fluid". He flings this at Doom. It connects with Doc's hand and the webbing blocks up the finger blaster. The wall-crawler follows up his attack. Taking inspiration from the Human Torch ("but I use web-balls instead of fire-balls"), he throws eight spheres of webbing at the master villain. Doom reaches his control panel and pushes some buttons. Suddenly, Spidey senses danger from above. He quickly makes a shield out of webbing and is protected from a gush of "falling liquid" that turns into ice on contact. ("It might have frozen me solid!") A second web shield helps him to get away from the ice attack. He again faces Doom, who has had time to bring out his next weapon. As Spidey puts it, the device consists of "iron globes, revolving at great speed around a magnetic core" (so it looks like a giant model of an atom). Doc is happy to have Spider-Man there since he's been looking for a guinea pig on which to test this weapon. At the flip of a switch, the globes start to expand their orbit, pushing Spidey into a corner. He shoots webbing at the globes but this is ineffective. Soon, he is forced within the orbits and must use all his speed and agility to evade the balls. Just when he thinks he can't dodge any longer, he gets an idea. The balls may be resistant to his webbing but perhaps not the base of the nucleus. He shoots webbing at the base, gumming up the works. The depowered iron globes all fall to the ground.

Without getting a chance to catch his breath, Spidey must immediately deal with the next threat. Doom has shot "liquid heat" (which just looks like fire to me) up from the floorboards. The web-slinger must quickly cling to the wall to get away from it. He somersaults to the top of the wall, leaps and clings to the ceiling, and jumps out of harm's way. But he lands just where Doom wants him: a "steel section of flooring" that the evil Doctor immediately electrifies! Spidey is stuck to the spot as Doom increases the current. A normal man would be unconscious by now. A normal man also wouldn't have any web-shooters. The wall-crawler fires a stream of webbing at Doom. The webbing carries the electric charge with it. It strikes Dr. Doom on the elbow. The metal of Doc's armor then magnifies the conveyed current. The villain is forced to turn the current off to escape from his own trap.

Before Doom can hit another switch, Spidey covers the entire weapon's console with webbing. The web-spinner thinks he has deprived the Doctor of his "kookie gadgets" but he has forgotten about the Dr. Doom robot. The mechanical Doom duplicate sneaks up behind Spidey and grabs him by the arms, giving the real Doom time to get to yet another weapons console and flip yet another switch. This time, a cool-looking Ditko machine pops out of the wall. It looks like a big blue ball and it fires yellow ray blasts. The robot tries to hold Spidey in the path of the rays but it is not able to withstand the spider-strength. The webhead flips the robot over his head and tosses him at the real Doctor Doom. Both Dooms go tumbling onto the floor. Spidey lifts up the base of the "iron-globe-magnetic-core" machine, raises it over his head, and aims it at the blue-ball machine. But Doom reaches up to yet another switch, flips it, and alters the direction of the blue ball's yellow ray. As Spidey throws the iron-globe-base, it is struck by the ray and is vaporized. The wall-crawler is shocked to realize that the weapon is "some sort of disintegrator". He doesn't have any defense for a weapon like that. By now the blue ball is shooting out five different disintegrator rays. Spidey dives around them, hoping to reach the control panel to shut them off. But Doom steps in and punches Spidey in the snoot before he can get to the controls. Suddenly one of the yellow rays strikes Dr. Doom but he is unaffected. "Did you think I'd expose myself to my own weapon without taking precautions??" says Doom. "I'm insulated against these bolts, they cannot harm me." Then he charges Spidey, trying to push him into the disintegrator rays.

So, let's see. Doom is "stronger than [Spidey] suspected", "he seems to be tireless", and he is unaffected by the disintegrator. What can Spider-Man do? Well, "exerting every last bit of power contained in a super-human body", he gains the leverage and manages to shove Doom up against his control panel. This impact turns off the disintegrator. All of the rays fizzle out into nothing.

But the battle isn't finished. Spider-Man is now "on the verge of exhaustion". Dr. Doom socks him in the jaw with an armor-covered fist. With Spidey on his heels, Doom covers his own eyes and throws a handful of little glowing flakes. The light burst blinds the web-slinger. Now our hero must rely on his spider-sense.

Doom expects an easy target. He picks up a nasty-looking metal club and swings it at his opponent's head. But Spidey ducks away from it. Doom tries to bring the club down on the top of the webster's head but Spidey avoids that as well. The wall-crawler's eyes are starting to clear... things are looking up... then he slips on some of the iron globes, still laying about after the webbing-up of the base of the magnetic machine. Spidey is helpless on the ground. Doom rushes up to pummel him with his club. But before he delivers the fatal blow, Dr. Doom glances out a nearby window and sees the arriving Fantasti-Car, carrying all the members of the Fantastic Four. Feeling that he cannot battle Spidey and the FF at once, Doom beats feet out of there. He knows that he would have "finished off Spider-Man forever" if given a few more seconds, but he doesn't worry about it now. For revenge on the web-slinger, "there is always another day".

Spider-Man gets to his feet, his vision now returned, in time to see Doom leave. For an instant he wonders why, then he looks out the window and sees the FF arriving, "just like the cavalry in a T.V. western". He is looking forward to seeing "their eyes... pop" when they learn that he "found Doom first". But then Spidey remembers that he left Aunt May at home, sitting around in the dark. So, as the Fantasti-Car prepares to land, Spider-Man slips out the window and climbs down the wall unseen. "Can't waste a second", the webhead says, "Got to rush back home!"

Inside the abandoned hideout, Flash Thompson (still in his Spidey suit but without the mask on) wanders the hallways. (How did he get out of his cell? Well, with Doom's departure, "the electronic circuits have been destroyed". ) Flash realizes he was "a lunkhead... to dress as Spider-Man". He promises himself to "never ask for trouble again". But Flash isn't quite out of the woods yet. Behind him, a voice yells, "Look! It's Spider-Man!" and a big rocky orange hand grabs him by the scruff of the neck and yanks him into the air. The Fantastic Four have arrived and the Thing dangles Flash Thompson in front of him. The Human Torch immediately realizes that this is not the real Spider-Man. "I've seen Spider-Man close up", he tells the others, "that guy isn't even a reasonable facsimile". The Invisible Girl asks the Thing to put Flash down since, "The poor boy looks terrified!" And Mr. Fantastic finds webbing strewn around the place and correctly deduces that "the real Spider-Man was here!"

But in the meantime, the real Spider-Man has crossed town, changed back into his blue suit, glasses, and yellow tie, and come back to a still-dark but now empty Forest Hills house. He calls for Aunt May but no one answers. Then May shows up in the doorway herself. She "got nervous in the house alone" and went to stay with the neighbors until Peter got back. When she asks Pete if he bought the fuses, he realizes he forgot all about them. "I'll tell her I was too scared to walk the dark streets alone!" he decides. (So, then what? They sit in the dark all night? Hey, Pete! The fuse never blew at all, remember? You pulled it! Just tell Aunt May you bought some and stick the old fuse back in! She'll never know the difference!)

Next day, at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson berates Peter Parker. The news is that "a teen-ager named Flash Thompson escaped from Doctor Doom" last night with the help of the FF. "And not one measley photo from you!" Peter tells JJJ he was home last night. "I've got to sleep sometime", he says. And Betty Brant whispers to him not to feel badly. "I may only be J.J.'s secretary," she says, "but I think you're wonderful!"

Later on the school grounds, Peter is walking on air. He never knew Betty felt that way about him. He thinks she is pretty swell, too. Ahead, a crowd has gathered and Pete wonders what it could be. At least it can't be Flash Thompson this time. "He must be the most embarrassed kid in school by now!" he decides. But when he rounds the corner, he sees that it is Flash, bragging about his experiences. "Naturally I wasn't scared of that crumb, Doctor Doom! He couldn't keep me a prisoner for long! When he saw I escaped, he was so worried that he ran out before I could get my mitts on him!" The other kids ooh and ah. Liz turns to Pete and says she wouldn't blame him for being jealous "of a real he-man like Flash". Peter leans up against the side of the building and tells himself, "I might as well face it. I've got nothing but luck... and it's all bad!"

It only takes the armored villain four months to return in "The Master Plan of Doctor Doom!" (FF #23 (February 1964)) Over the ensuing years, the good Doctor manages to take on just about everybody in the Marvel Universe from the Avengers to the X-Men to Master of Kung-Fu to the Micronauts to the Dazzler but his battles with the wall-crawler have been few and far between. In Daredevil #38 (March 1968), Dr. Doom temporarily takes over DD's body which leads to Fantastic Four #73 (April 1968) in which the FF battle Daredevil thinking he is possessed by Dr. Doom.. Daredevil enlists the aid of Spidey and Thor who the FF believe are two of Doom's robots but, by the time the web-slinger arrives, Doom is long gone from the encounter. In Marvel Team-Up #43-44 (March-April 1976) Doom teams up with Spidey, Moondragon, the Vision, and the Scarlet Witch to battle the Dark Rider. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14 (1980), the Doctor teams with Dormammu but never directly encounters the web-slinger or his ally Dr. Strange. Doom figures prominently in the Acts of Vengeance Marvel-wide storyline, appearing in such issues as ASM #327 (Mid-December 1989) and Spectacular Spider-Man #159-160 (Mid-December 1989-January 1990) but the closest he comes to facing the cosmic-powered Spider-Man is when he sends out the robot T.E.S.S.-One to fight. It is not until ASM #350 (August 1991) that we are treated to a Doom-Spidey battle to compete with ASM #5 and it, like its predecessor ends in a stalemate. Doom has just made a very recent appearance in the pages of Spider-Man. In ASM (Volume 2) #36 (December 2001), Doom stands with other villains (Magneto, the Kingpin, Dr. Octopus, and the Juggernaut) at the ruin of the World Trade Center. The most dangerous villain in the Marvel Universe looks about at the death and destruction... and sheds tears.

In General...

Milestones (Landmark events that take place in this story.)

  1. First appearance of Liz's last name.
  2. First time Peter realizes that Betty is pretty.
  3. First time Peter gloats over the potential death of Flash Thompson.
  4. First time we're told that Aunt May's doctor has said she mustn't worry.
  5. First appearance of "The gol-dangest, ding-bustedest, rip-snortin'est, super-characters fight you've ever seen!"

The 1969 Marvelmania International Spider-Man Portfolio checklist entry for this story. Warts and all:

Ditko/Lee/Sam Rosen

  • "Marked for Destruction by Dr. Doom" - Spidey's first encounter with Doc Doom. - Guest stars the Fantstic Four. - Flash Thompson impersonates Spidey. - Introduction of Betty Brant, JJJ's secretary.

    "Fantstic" is the checklist's type, not mine.

    Overall Rating...

    Sure, it's fun to see Spidey battling for his life against a much more powerful opponent, but Dr. Doom has never really been a good fit for the web-slinger. I love the Ditko contraptions and fight scenes but somehow the whole issue seems dated this time. Yes, I know it came out forty years ago but it seems more dated than the other early issues of Spider-Man. Maybe it's that Doom becomes so much more intimidating in later years and here seems like just an armoured version of the Wizard. Three webs.