In spite of my pleas, Marvel Age Spider-Man continues.
As a buck-toothed Redneck in Florida (with flies circling his head, no less) tells the media about the Lizard-Man, Peter Parker tries to play it cool with an attractive woman at a bookstore who seems interested in him. When he lies and tells her he goes to college, she replies that she thought he was in High School and doesn't date college guys. D'oh!
Smarting from this screw-up, he decides he needs a vacation and, as Spidey, convinces J. Jonah Jameson to send a photographer to Florida to check on the Lizard. JJJ sends Peter Parker, as Spidey planned, but decides to come along himself. Pete ditches Jonah at the Motel and roams the swamps as Spider-Man, coming upon and battling the Lizard. Soon after this first confrontation, he spies the home of Curt and Martha Connors and knocks on the door. Martha lets him in and reveals that the Lizard is actually Curt who was experimenting with a reptile serum to regenerate the arm he lost in Kosovo. In this version, he first tests the serum on a rabbit and the rabbit gets all green and scaly. For some reason, even after that result, Curt uses the serum on himself and becomes the Lizard.
So much for the best of it. Spidey whips up an antidote, engages in a boring battle with the Lizard and cures him by shoving a new serum down his throat. Back in New York, Peter talks to Betty about impressing women and gets his first hint that she may be interested in him herself.
Things start out just fine this time but eventually descend into our usual mediocrity. Initially, Daniel streamlines things very nicely. Let's face it, the first seven pages of the original story in ASM #6, November 1963 are not exactly percolating with important information. Daniel dispenses with the rescue of Liz Allan at the museum, much of the interactions at the Daily Bugle and all of the doting of Aunt May. In their place, he invents that nice exchange between the girl who doesn't date college guys and Peter pretending to be a college guy. I also enjoy this exchange between Jonah Jameson and Spider-Man in the Bugle office: "This is assault!" says JJJ as Spidey covers his phone with webbing. "No, this is assault" says Spidey as he webs JJJ to his chair.
Once the story gets to Florida, however, everything collapses. The fact that Curt's son Billy is only seen in a couple of panels and not heard is a step in the right direction but everything else falls flat. Seriously, if Curt Connors witnessed a rabbit turn into a lizard from his serum, would he actually use it on himself? Most of the rest of the book is an aimless fight scene. Check out the original with Spidey creating swamp shoes out of webbing and spying on the Lizard as he intends to use his lizard formula on other reptiles. As silly as the Lizard character is, the original exudes a real sense of menace. The battle is tense. The stakes are high. Now we're presented with five pages of uninteresting artwork where there appear to be no stakes at all. (And I don't want to be crude but, my God! What is Spider-Man packing and why does Jonboy feel compelled to show it to us?)
Not terrible, mind you but (and aren't I getting tired of saying this?) the original is so much better.