Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #16

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Several people have used the name Captain Marvel over the years. The second hero to take the title is still new to her powers and if she doesn't get a handle on them, things will get very ugly......

In Detail...

"Who's That Lady?"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #16 (Story 1)
Year 1982 : SM Title
Summary: The New Captain Marvel
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Roger Stern
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  John Romita, Sr.
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Jarvis, Elizabeth (Allan) Osborn, The Wasp

Peter is on his way to meet Harry and Liz at the bus station when he gets a buzz from his spider-sense from a hottie walking past him. Since he's got fifteen minutes before meeting his friends, he decides to get a better look at this mystery woman. When he sees her heading down an alley where many a mugging occurs, he makes the change to Spider-Man. She's approached by a couple of thugs and gets her purse stolen. When one of the muggers sneaks up on her from behind, she quickly slams him on the ground. The other punk takes off running, not wanting to share the same fate as his partner, but Spidey knocks him out. Seeing that the woman can take care of herself, Spidey comes up to her but is quickly thrown into some New York garbage. Mistaking Spidey for the other mugger's friend, she checks to see if he's OK before changing into costume and speeding off to the Empire State Building. Needless to say, Spider-Man is intrigued.

Unknown to Spider-Man, he was just tossed aside by Monica Rambeau, the new Captain Marvel. Standing atop one of New York's most famous buildings, she thinks back on how she obtained her powers. Basically, we get a flashback of her origin story and while it is interesting, it is lengthy, like 20 pages lengthy, so here's the abridged version: Monica helps out an old friend of the family, she gets caught in an energy blast which empowers her with electromagnetic energy. The friend she helped convinces her to use her powers as a super hero so she accepts the name Captain Marvel. Now we're up to speed on things.

Monica needs to find a way to stabilize the power that is growing in her body. She's a walking time bomb and if she goes off, she could level a good chunk of New York. She heads for the Baxter Building where she hopes she'll find Reed Richards and Spidey just misses her. Spidey notices the binoculars have been used recently and after getting a quarter from a kid to see where she looked, he quickly takes off after her.

Captain Marvel arrives in the Fantastic Four's headquarters, but the only member of the group available is the Thing. Captain Marvel gives Thing a quick explanation of her situation. Thing says the Avengers might be able to help. She jets off and Spidey just misses her once again. Spidey misunderstands and thinks she's a threat. Thing tries to explain but Spidey is already out of hearing range.

When Captain Marvel arrives at the Avenger's mansion she overloads Iron Man's armor, immobilizing him. Spidey makes it to the mansion and knocks out Captain Marvel, which escalates the danger of her releasing her excess energy. After getting his facts straight from Iron Man, Spidey gets some induction cables and connects them to his armor and ties some of them around the K.O. ED Captain Marvel. Iron Man then has Spidey use his webbing on him to function as a non-conductor. Iron is able to successfully release the energy from Captain Marvel without anyone getting hurt.

Thing goes into the Avenger's mansion and sees that everything is OK. Spidey is hanging out with the Avengers when he realizes he's forgotten all about Liz and Harry. Peter makes it back to the bus station and Harry and Liz have just arrived. Seems their bus was late. Liz wanted to set Peter up with a friend of hers but she had to work. With the way Peter's luck has been going with women lately, he's not the least bit broken up that Liz's friend couldn't make it.

In General...

I was worried at first when I flipped through this book and saw that Captain Marvel was getting an awful lot of page time. The title of this book is called Amazing Spider-Man, after all. However, when I actually read it, I was pleased to find that Monica was an interesting character, both as Captain Marvel and before she'd gotten her powers. The only story I'd read that involved her prior to this one was Secret Wars so it was cool to find out more about her.

The story easily could have gone the route of having Spidey fight Captain Marvel and have the misunderstanding drag out even further, but thankfully Mr. Stern avoided that played out plot device.

This book has some of John Romita Jr.'s best art from the '80s on Spider-Man. Before he developed his own style, JR Jr.'s Spidey always looked like his father's (JR Sr. inked this issue) and I love his art today but I still enjoy seeing his old stuff. The Spider-Man drawn hear is practically an exact replica of his father's, more so than in regular issues of Amazing Spider-Man of from the '80s.

Overall Rating...

An unexpectedly good story, even if Spidey doesn't get as much page time as Captain Marvel, with some sweet artwork. Three and a half webs.