Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #90

 Posted: 30 Mar 2024
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)


Ock and Spider-Man had a long battle across the rooftops of New York. Spidey was exhausted and tossed over the side a building by Octavius.

Story 'And Death Shall Come!'

  Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #90
Summary: Death of Captain Stacy
Arc: Part 2 of 'Death of Captain Stacy' (1-2)
Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Stan Lee
Pencils: Gil Kane
Inker: John Romita, Sr.
Cover Art: Gil Kane, John Romita, Sr.

Spider-Man managed to pull himself together as he fell, knowing he didn’t have much time. He was out of webbing but managed to grab one of Ock’s arms. He swung himself through a window but even then he wasn’t safe. The tentacles followed him through the building and even Spider-Man wondered how long they could reach. He hid in a dark room and didn’t move, not even to breathe. The tentacles were confused and gave up looking for him. Before they escaped, he managed to toss a tracer onto one of them. He made his way back to the rooftop and saw Octavius was gone. Exhausted, he made his way home.

After picking up his clothes, he realized just how beaten up he was. He realized that someone was following him but was confused that his spider sense hadn’t warned him. He turned to see George Stacy behind him, who noticed how bad Peter looked. Peter told him that he still wasn’t over the flu and George was skeptical. Peter fainted from his injuries at that moment and George brought him home to rest. He eventually woke up with Gwen looking down at him and George commenting that Peter overtaxed himself after his illness. Gwen offered to stay and look after him but her father said he’d be fine. He’d never seen someone that could recuperate so quickly. The way he said it made Peter suspicious but told himself that he would make sure to not tip him off. He did a few cartwheels after he was alone and left the Stacy house. He glad at least to have an excuse to not go to the air pollution rally.

As he got out of sight, Peter began jumping across rooftops again, saying that he worried about air pollution as much as anyone but Ock was as bad as a one man ecology crisis. At his apartment, he came up with a plan to alter his web fluid. As he left, he passed Harry’s bedroom, thinking that he hoped that Dr. Octopus would be defeated by the time Harry woke up. If not, Peter was probably dead. He told himself that he was being morbid but then said being uptight over Ock was reasonable.

Spider-Man swung across the city waiting for his spider sense to alert him to the tracer. He followed the buzz to a certain building but Ock was ready and waiting for him. Octavius had found the tracer and used it as a decoy to trap the webhead. As Ock ranted about his superiority, the tentacles beat Spidey nonstop. He eventually broke free and began webbing the arms. Octavius scoffed at the effort then realized that the arms were no longer obeying him. In fact, they were fighting each other. As Ock tried to regain control, a crowd gathered on the street to watch the spectacle. Captain Stacy arrived, telling the crowd to clear out.

On the roof, Ock began to panic and beg for help. Spider-Man told him the police would help him to cozy prison cell when the arms lashed out. They destroyed a chimney and the rubble went crashing to the street. A young boy was in the way and was pushed out of the way by Captain Stacy. The kid was safe but the captain was hit by the masonry. Spider-Man swung to the street and found Stacy badly injured. He carried him off to a doctor as the onlookers accused him of murder.

On a roof, George told him to stop and put him down. He told Spider-Man that he wanted him to look after Gwen. He called him Peter and said there was no one to look after her. As Spider-Man was stunned by George knowing his secret, he was told that Gwen loved him very much and to be good to her. As Captain Stacy died, Spider-Man asked himself why this always had to happen. He’d lost both his uncle and Captain Stacy, whom he called his second best friend. He promised to love and cherish Gwen but that she’d never know Spider-Man’s role in her father’s death.

General Comments

The Death of Captain Stacy. One of the overlooked tragedies of Spider-Man’s career. His death was to be overshadowed by Gwen’s murder twenty one issues later. Perhaps it carried more weight at the time it was published but it never gets referenced as often as Gwen’s death, or the ongoing Osborn family chaos, or the suicide of Kraven the Hunter. Yet George’s death was just as unexpected as Gwen’s or Kraven’s.

Maybe there is more sympathy for Peter with Gwen’s death because he loved her. The death of a partner’s parent would be painful but still not hit as hard as the death of the partner themselves. Gwen’s death was made extra memorable because of the “death” of her murderer immediately following her demise. A long series of stories were spawned by the death of Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin. (Come to think of it, Ock escaped and was forgotten after the chimney fell from the building. How did he manage to run with out of control arms?) Not much else came from George Stacy’s passing, besides the story of Sam Bullit. That is a story in itself that has been lost in the sixty plus years of Spidey history.

As for the story itself, it’s decent. I do like that Peter was so concerned about his own possible death that he overlooked the chance that someone else could die. It was certainly a self centered moment for him.

Again, in one of the biggest cities on earth, Peter managed to cross paths with someone he knew at a convenient time.

Air pollution must have been on Stan’s mind at the time, as this was the second issue in a row that someone mentioned it. It made for good filler content.

I’m not sure how the webbing could change the functionality of Ock’s arms and is a pretty big stretch. Still, I couldn’t think of anything better.

Overall Rating

An important if forgotten moment in Spidey history. Death can come unexpectedly, especially in the life of a vigilante. I’m still annoyed by the “magic webbing,” hence the near perfect score.

 Posted: 30 Mar 2024
 Staff: Dave Sippel (E-Mail)