Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #120

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Man vs. Hulk"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

For reasons that defy logic, Aunt May has decided to accept a job as Dr. Octopus' housekeeper while he's in prison. See Amazing Spider-Man #115 for more details.

Anna Watson has given Peter an urgent telegram for May. After he went to Westchester to see her, he decided against giving her the telegram. This was primarily due to the fact that he overheard Dr. Octopus' hired thugs repeating his instructions to contact him whenever a telegram for May is delivered. That convinces him to keep this to himself.

Later on he reads the telegram from attorney Jean-Pierre Rimbaud in Montreal requesting to speak to May in person; the subject matter is too sensitive to discuss on paper or over the phone. Peter realizes that May can't leave without alerting Ock's men, so he'll have to do this himself.

After seeing footage of the Hulk on a rampage near Montreal, Peter convinces Jonah to send him to photograph the Hulk for the Bugle. Once he arrives, he makes arrangements to discuss his personal business later that evening. He then sneaks aboard a military convoy led by General Ross - temporarily on loan to the Canadian government to capture the Hulk - to take photographs of the inevitable confrontation.

The Hulk attacks the convoy but is turned away quickly. He heads toward a power station on the St. Lawrence Seaway where he begins to destroy the dam in order to keep the military away from him. Spider-Man prevents the accidental flooding of the nearby towns, but due to the Hulk's temper tantrum, he causes the upper portion of the dam to collapse. This caused both of them to plunge into the St. Lawrence River.

In Detail...

"The Fight And The Fury!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #120
May 1973 : SMURF 120.500 : SM Title
Summary: Spidey vs. Hulk in Canada
Arc: Part 2 of "Spider-Man vs. Hulk"
Editor:  Roy Thomas
Writer:  Gerry Conway
Pencils:  Gil Kane
Inker:  John Romita, Sr., Tony Mortellaro
Cover Art:  John Romita, Sr.
Add. Art:  Paul Reinman
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 Reprinted In: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #12
 Reprinted In: Essential Spider-Man #6
 Reprinted In: Spidey's Origin Retold
Articles: Gwen Stacy

One the debris has stopped falling on top of them, the Hulk begins to dig himself out the rubble. Throwing boulders aside as if they were pebbles, he begins to inadvertently clean up the mess he caused. One of the boulders has Spider-Man attached to it. Thankful for the assist, he hops off the projectile and lands atop the dam.

We return to the Hulk, still at the bottom of the river. He has come up with a rather inventive way of dealing with the army. By moving his arms as fast as possible under the water, the Hulk creates a tidal wave that floods the area, stranding the military. The Hulk then leaps away for parts unknown. Ross calls for a helicopter and heads back to Montreal. Spider-Man overhears the destination and secretly catches a ride back.

Once he returns to the city, he calls Gwen (collect of course) to see if Harry's condition has improved. Gwen pleads with him to come back as soon as possible. When he asks why, she informs Peter that Harry has started taking drugs again in response to the problems his father is having. This is the reason he collapsed on the street yesterday. Peter promises to return as soon as possible.

Peter walks down the street lost in thought, blaming himself for not being a better friend. He wonders if his constant absences ultimately led Harry back to drugs when he had nowhere else to turn. He almost ignores his spider-sense, warning him that he's being followed. He ducks around a corner, changes into his costume, and grabs his would-be assailant for a little Q & A on the roof of the nearest building.

After introducing the gentleman to the concept of "human yo-yo", he confesses that he was sent by Dr. Octopus to keep tabs on Parker. Before he can go any further, General Ross arrives and shines a spotlight on him, ordering him to surrender and answer his questions about his involvement with the Hulk. Recognizing this as a no-win situation, Spider-Man webs Octopus' henchman to the roof and makes a quick exit.

Once out of the line of sight, he changes back to Peter and makes his way to Rimbaud's office for his meeting. When he arrives, Rimbaud's secretary - Frances Delon - informs him that there is no information in the office pertaining to this case. Apparently Rimbaud didn't want to have hard copies of this information in the office; he wants to handle this personally and with utmost confidentiality. She asks Peter if she wishes to see him; he consents having made it this far. As they leave to meet Rimbaud, Frances explains to Peter that he is inspecting the site of the 1967 World's Fair Exposition for another case. They hail a taxi and depart unaware that they are being followed by an unidentified individual.

When they arrive at the site, they encounter the Hulk, hiding from the Canadian army. Thinking they'll attack him, the Hulk causes their taxi to flip over, resulting in all three occupants to fall out of the car in mid-air. Peter is the only one that remains conscious, due to his agility. He ensures that the other occupants do not have any serious injuries. With the Hulk nearby, his guide and driver unconscious, and pressed for time to complete his business with Rimbaud and return to New York, Peter resolves to stop the Hulk at all costs.

He changes into Spider-Man and leads the Hulk away from his unconscious companions to the fairgrounds. After witnessing the Hulk destroy a sky trolley, the Geodesic Dome, and another building in short order, Peter realizes that "stopping" the Hulk will be more difficult than he realized.

Ross and the Canadian army arrive, following up on some unusual seismic activity near the fairgrounds. They find the newly-arrived Rimbaud, Delon, and the driver. Delon informs her employer that Peter Parker was with them. Rimbaud immediately sets out to find him, intent on disclosing the ultra-secret information.

At that precise moment, Peter is unsuccessfully dodging the Hulk. The monster has grabbed him and throws him against the ruins of a building, knocking the wind out of him. At that point the military arrive and attack the Hulk forcing him to run away. Crisis averted, he changes back to his street clothes and meets up with Rimbaud. Before they are able to discuss the telegram, Rimbaud is gunned down by an unknown assailant.

Rimbaud apparently took whatever information he had to the grave, since nothing was found on his person and no other copies of this case can be found. Peter feels somewhat responsible for his death, but realizes there was nothing he could do. As for the secret behind the telegram, he must accept this unsolved mystery.

He boards the next available plane for New York, hoping that things will get back to normal.

In General...

Not a bad conclusion for a two-parter. I for one wish that Rimbaud would have at least been able to say something prior to his untimely demise. Providing a small bit of information to whet our collective appetite about this would have given it a bit more relevance. In this way it comes across as a taunting "I've got a secret that I can't tell, I can't tell".

Also why were there no other copies of this highly classified information available anywhere? That doesn't sound very practical. What kind of lawyer doesn't keep backup copies of critical information? If nothing else, for this type of contingency?

Overall Rating...

It's a good conclusion, but the fact that the "big secret" sub-plot was not advanced in any capacity leaves me feeling a bit let down.