AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68-75: The Tablet Saga


IMG_3498Captain Stacy brings evidence home, and Shocker breaks in and steals it.

Stacy is becoming a major player in the Spider-Man world–and he’s starting to actually feed Spidey evidence.  (He doesn’t yet know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but ultimately he lets the dude date his daughter.)

But the development of the Stacy-Spidey-Stacy triangle is just one of the story elements in this saga.  This is Stan Lee at his best, weaving melodrama, romance, action, and incredibly novel super-heroes into one long-form epic.  It’s around this time that Lee’s Marvel work really took off: He was always a brilliant idea-man, but here we see he’s become a true storyteller.

Back to the story: The “evidence” in question that Shocker has stolen is a magic tablet that used to belong to The Kingpin.

We don’t know what it does yet, but we know it’s powerful.

During this eight-month arc, Spider-Man snaps and decides that if The Daily Bugle and the cops are going to portray him as a “menace,” he’ll become one and live up to their expectations.  This flies in the face of his relationship with Stacy, though.  It kind of reminds me of the “24/7” arc Dan Slott used much later, when Spider-Man decided to work nonstop, tirelessly, to dispel any suggestion that he wasn’t a bad dude.  Issue #73 is kind of a filler issue, in which Quicksilver decides to take out Spidey since Spidey is such a menace, and as a result of the issue, Spidey goes back on the martyr post again, deciding not to be a menace after all.

Pietro and Wanda’s relationship never stops being creepy.

In these issues, Lee also develops The Kingpin into the character he still is today.  Just look at these two sequences, which easily could have been from a Frank Miller issue of Daredevil:


And last but not least, we’re treated to the first appearance of another crime boss: Silvermane.


In the end, we also get to see Doc Connors and the Lizard, who helps translate the tablet, which eventually turns Silvermane into a young man.  And then continues young-ifying until he disappears completely.  I presume he turns into a fertilized egg cell, marking the first time that semen was a Spider-Man villain.

Creators: Stan Lee and John Romita
Grade: A

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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