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Amazing Spider-Man #17: Review

Oct 1964
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

The Return of the Green Goblin!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #17 Review by (January 10, 2024)

Review: The Green Goblin returns, this time in a slightly more standard tale than his first outing! This was a solid little story, and a more typical Goblin appearance than his first issue, though he’s still a little bit away from really feeling like Spidey’s archenemy. This issue does contain the first uses of his goblin glider and pumpkin bombs however, establishing his classic equipment! This issue leans into more of Peter’s personal drama, with Betty and Liz acting very catty with each other at every opportunity, as both are interested in Peter. Unfortunately, Betty is coming off very whiny and insecure, with practically every issue showcasing her thoughts that Peter isn’t really interested in her. Fans and writers may have had similar thoughts, as Betty isn’t a main supporting character for too much longer, with a much more famous and interesting Spidey love triangle being introduced later down the line!

Speaking of that, kind of, Peter continues to avoid meeting Mary Jane, which just builds the suspense. If only he knew. I do wonder how much Stan had actually thought about MJ in advance, if this was just supposed to be short gag, or if he always planned to showcase her later. I also appreciated the sort of sitcom style shenanigans, with Peter having to switch back and forth between Peter and Spider-Man. Throw in a guest appearance from the Human Torch, in which he admits to actually liking Spidey beneath their friendly feud, and this made for a pretty solid little issue, even if not one of the really standout ones.

Comments: First uses of Green Goblin’s glider and pumpkin bombs. Green Goblin’s second appearance, with his first being #14. There’s a notable mistake, as at one point, Flash refers to Liz’s father as “Mr. Brant”, when he is Liz’s father, not Betty’s.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #17 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins with Peter Parker in class, distractedly thinking about his last tussle with the Green Goblin, and wondering whatever became of him. Coincidentally, the Green Goblin is also thinking about Spider-Man, as across town in his lair, the Goblin tests some of his new equipment on a Spider-Man dummy. Afterwards, the Goblin sets out in his normal guise, his face still obscured, as he goes to hunt down Spider-Man. Back at school, after class is over, Flash Thompson is telling everyone about the new Spider-Man fan club he’s starting. He characteristically brushes off Peter, refusing to let him join, which causes Liz Allan to start to plot to make sure Peter gets included.

On his way to the Daily Bugle, Peter witnesses some costumed thugs trying to escape a robbery in waiting whirlybird. He changes to Spider-Man and makes his way up to the aircraft, but discovers that they’re just a bunch of actors, and he’s just ruined a movie shoot. Peter makes his way to the Daily Bugle, embarrassed, as he listens to the ribbing Spider-Man is now getting from the public over is mistake. At the Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson is rejoicing at the news of Spider-Man making a fool of himself, as Peter departs with Betty Brant, to walk her home. On their way home, they run into Liz and Flash, giving Liz and Betty the opportunity to act catty to each other. Liz shows off the advertisement of the Spider-Man fan club, advertising that Spider-Man himself will be at the first meeting! Suddenly a passing figure sets off Pete’s spider sense, who we see is the Green Goblin in his normal guise, and very interested in the fan club notice in the paper.

Peter finishes taking Betty home and now free to track down the mysterious figure, Peter changes to Spider-Man but has no luck in finding his quarry. He spots another man that seems suspicious but concludes that he’s just getting jumpy and changes back to Peter Parker. No sooner has this happened, then a shot rings out, and the previous man runs by, actually having been a crook! The man is suddenly captured by the Human Torch who stops to sign autographs for people afterwards, even handing one to Peter. The next day, Jameson decides they should be at the Spidey fan club meeting, while Aunt May continues to try to get Peter to go out with Mary Jane Watson. Peter continues to rebuff Aunt May, who then gets a call that Mary Jane is sick and can’t go out after all. Elated, Peter heads out.

Later at the venue for the club, supplied by Liz’s father, all of our various players make their way to the first club meeting, including the Human Torch. Spidey then makes a grand entrance, while the fan club members cheer, as the Green Goblin also makes his daring entrance! The Goblin fires his new finger bolts at Spider-Man who dodges out of the way, trying to make it all look like an act, so as not to panic the crowd. The Goblin throws more at Spidey, including a blinding smokescreen, and a pumpkin bomb, but Spidey continues to dodge. Spidey then hears Liz wonder about where Peter is, and decides he needs to think of something to divert her suspicions. As Spider-Man and the Goblin continue to tussle, Human Torch spots three gunmen near the roof, planning to rob the place, and flames on, flying up to intercept them. Unfortunately, he gets right in the way of Spider-Man’s web about to capture the Goblin. Spidey uses the confusion as opportunity to switch back to Peter, making an appearance so as to throw off suspicion, but Betty ends up seeing him with Liz, upsetting her.

Meanwhile, the Goblin envelops the Human Torch in a cloud seal, trying to cut off his air supply. Peter rushes to switch back to Spidey, as the Goblin uses his glider exhaust to briefly extinguish the Torch. Spider-Man engages the Green Goblin once more to continue their battle, but after dodging around for a bit, Spider-Man hears a nearby phone call for Peter Parker, saying that his Aunt May has had another heart attack! Reasoning that the Human Torch can handle the Green Goblin, Spidey rushes out, to get to Aunt May as quickly as he can! While everyone thinks Spider-Man is now a coward, the Goblin manages to escape the Torch with a blinding pumpkin bomb. Everyone leaves the Spidey fan club, with only Flash still having faith in his hero. Peter makes his way to Aunt May and our story ends with Peter having to contend with the public’s new, even more negative view of him, as Peter questions why things never turn out well for him, with Spider-Man only bringing him misery.

Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Green Goblin
Green Goblin

(Norman Osborn)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Liz Allan (Liz Osborn).

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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