Yeah, now we’re talking. There are many great Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Spider-Man stories. Amazing Fantasy #15. The issues introducing Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Vulture. The one where Hulk and Spidey fight for the first time. But this may be the most best. Most best.
In this annual, Doc Ock gathers together the best villains created by Lee/Ditko in a single team: The Sinister Six. Why is this such a great issue? Well, for one thing, it’s action packed. For another, Ditko drew tremendous splash pages for each “chapter” in the story, each one a full-page action shot of one of the six villains being punched by Spider-Man. There’s also brief guest-spots by all the major Marvel players (Avengers, X-Men, etc.), so we get to see Steve draw them.
Storywise, it’s pretty savvy. For example, guys like Kraven say they will only work alone, so Otto Octavius comes up with the idea that they’ll each fight Spider-Man alone, hoping to wear him down. There’s also some good character moments of the villains arguing over who goes in what order, and which of them is the strongest.
This is also the issue where Aunt May meets Dr. Octopus and is treated as her “guest,” which Ock uses as a lure for Spidey.
Interesting side note: Doc Ock’s trap for Spidey is a giant fishbowl, and tribute to this is
paid decades later in Spectacular Spider-Man #72.
Grade: B+. Well above average, but not enough story to drive it all the way to an A.