The first issue of Denny O’Neil’s brief run on Amazing Spider-Man.
This is a strange issue, but I love the way it starts. We get six pages of Mesmero performing on Broadway, hypnotizing volunteers from the audience. During the act, a curtain accidentally catches fire. The fire is still small—the audience doesn’t notice it. Then we see Peter in the audience with Debra Whitman, his date, say he has to go to the bathroom, followed by some off-stage webbing pulling the smoldering curtain to the side and putting out the fire. Only Mesmero sees this happen.
It’s a long segment—almost a third of the issue—but to now I’ve never seen a Marvel comic where the hero saves the day and you don’t see him do it. It’s certainly happened since then, but this was a first.
Next, we go outside with Peter and Deb, as Peter blows her off for dinner to follow up with Mesmero. Check out the drug dealer in the corner. That kind of NYC depiction was common in 1980s Marvel, and I have to say—it was pretty accurate.
This is where the weirdness starts. Mesmero offers Spider-Man a job and Spidey, knowing that Mesmero is a supervillain foe of The X-Men, nevertheless figures it’s OK because Mesmero hasn’t done anything evil LATELY.
Anyhow, of course it doesn’t turn out well and ends with Spider-Man punching Mesmero in the face.
Creators: Denny O’Neil and Jim Mooney
For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.