01 November 2007
Amazing Spider-Man #87
One of the problems of having a superhero secret identity is that you need to keep it a secret even from your close friends and sometimes even your family. You need to do your own laundry, you must know how to sew (not many haberdasheries catering to the super folks out there) and you always need to come up with a good excuse why you come home every night covered in bruises ("It's nothing, mom. I'm okay. I just popped in at the S&M club and some of the girls got too frisky. Couple of the guys too, come to think of it.")
Well, in this issue ol' Peter Parker went and told his friends about his secret alter ego. But let's back up a little bit...
Peter suspects that his Spider mojo is finally running out. He's getting dizzy spells, he can't focus, he's weak all around. This is bad news. No proportionate strength of a spider, no Spider-Man. Just to be sure, he decides to consult Dr. Curt Connors who also happens to be the Lizard on his bad days.
Typical. A specialist is never around when you need one. Wait. Florida? Dr. Connors isn't going on one of his "research expeditions" to the Everglades again is he? On second thoughts, Petey my boy, you're probably better off without the Doctor. Took his family with him, huh? Yeah, Florida's a long trip south. He might need a snack.
Meanwhile, all the gang's at Gwen Stacy's place having a groovy party, daddy-o!
What Mary Jane really meant was, "That blonde bitch's hogging all the attention. I wish someone would break something of hers. Her neck would be nice."
But then, a woozy-headed Peter Parker walks in holding the Spider-Man face mask in his hands:
Naturally, no one can accept this. Gwen is understandably upset. Your boyfriend tells you he swings around the city covered head to toe in brightly coloured spandex, you'd be upset too. Peter, his headache getting worse, runs out and in desperation heads to the nearest hospital dressed as Spider-Man. Curt Connors not there to help him, he'll just go to any doctor who can.
And the diagnosis?
WTF? Y'know, I was expecting something more...oh, I don't know...serious. Maybe a mutation, or a life threatening disease that only Galactus has the cure for. I never expected the frickin' flu virus. Still, those nasty buggers once brought down a Martian invasion fleet so I wouldn't put it past them to mess up with Spidey's juju. But there's one small problem....
But fret not, True Believers. Stan the Man has a deus ex machina waiting in the wings. Hobie Brown a.k.a The Prowler agrees to dress up as Spider-Man while Peter goes back to Gwen and explain that it was all a misunderstanding, honest. With Peter standing there and Spider-Man peering throuh the window, everyone believes Peter's story and all wells that ends well.
This issue appears in the Stan Lee Meets... hardcover collection which was where I first came across it. Stan Lee Meets... collects original stories written by several comic book talents honouring Stan Lee. It also features classic stuff written by Stan like this Amazing Spider-Man issue. The new stuff are mostly quite good. Lots of chuckles here and there. The classic Stan Lee stuff aren't bad but a couple of them, like this Spidey story, made me think that they could have included a better story. What were they thinking?
"Hey, we need an old Stan Lee issue in this 'Stan Lee Meets...' hardcover collection."
"Uhm, how about Amazing Spider-Man #87?"
"The one where Spidey catches the flu? Perfect!"