Comic Browser:


Amazing Spider-Man #22: Review

Mar 1965
Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Story Name:

Preeeeeesenting…the Clown, and his Masters of Menace!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #22 Review by (January 25, 2024)

Review: The Circus of Crime return, with a new name, and the longest title for an issue to date! This issue was another pretty unmemorable one, as the Circus of Crime is a pretty low tier group to begin with, and ousting the Ringmaster gets rid of their most memorable member! There is a bit of amusing “Parker luck”, in that Peter places his tracer on the Ringmaster about 5 seconds before he gets kicked out the group. We do have the debut of Princess Python however, leading to some pretty dated stereotypes of Spidey refusing to fight a poor, defenseless woman. Hmm, if only Spidey had a non-violent method to easily incapacitate people. Oh well. The group goes down very easily leading to an overall pretty anticlimactic story. Jameson gets to be a bit of a hero, so that’s something. Funniest moment: there’s a guy at the exhibit who really wishes he could draw feet as well as the paintings on display!

Comments: First appearance of Princess Python. Princess Python mentions the group’s previous outings, even though she hasn’t appeared before now.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #22 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story begins with Spider-Man stopping in on the recently released Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime! Spidey warns them not to try pulling anything like they did last time (referring to ASM #16), while slyly placing one of his spider tracers on the Ringmaster’s hat. Satisfied that he can now track them any time, Spidey departs. Unluckily for Spidey though, the rest of the Circus has become disillusioned with the Ringmaster, with Princess Python suggesting that the Clown should be their new leader! They toss the Ringmaster out, humiliated, as they plan their next moves. A few days later, Liz Allan asks Peter to walk home from school with her but Peter declines, knowing that he’ll soon encounter Betty Brant, who finally gives Pete the chance to explain their misunderstanding with Dorrie Evans from last issue. Betty then tells Peter about an art exhibit she has to be at, hosted by J. Jonah Jameson, and invites him along.

At the exhibit, Peter seems less than enthused as Jameson talks up the guests. Just then, the former Circus of Crime shows up to rob the exhibit, as the Clown distracts the guests. Jameson goes to see what all the commotion in the back room is and gets knocked out by the human cannonball. The villains get away as Peter and Betty have to tend to Jameson, sending him to the hospital due to his injuries. After taking Betty home, Pete immediately switches to Spider-Man to use his tracer to track down the Ringmaster, not knowing that he was ousted from his little group. Spidey finds the Ringmaster at the police station, and after he’s let go due to his innocence, follows the Ringmaster back to his little lair. While eavesdropping, Spidey learns of the split in the villainous group. Spidey then sneaks in and uses the Ringmaster’s own hat to hypnotize him, learning where the group is hiding out at, and keeping the Ringmaster immobile. Spidey then calls to see how Jameson is doing, learning that he’s still unconscious, before heading out to find the Clown and his cronies.

At their lair, the once Circus of Crime tries to come up with a new name until eventually Princess Python lands on the Masters of Menace! Spider-Man then arrives and tackles the group, dodging and dancing around, as they try to keep Spider-Man off balance. Princess Python then grabs Spider-Man, causing Spidey to hesitate, being reluctant to fight a woman, giving the Masters of Menace the opportunity to surround him! Back with the Ringmaster, the webbing keeping his hat in place dissolves, as the Ringmaster slowly begins to come to his senses! Then, at the hospital, Betty learns that Jameson won’t suffer any long-lasting effects, and should regain consciousness soon, as she wonders where Peter is. Back with Spidey, the Masters of Menace have him surrounded, which just gives him the opportunity to knock them all out, leaving the human cannonball for last, giving him an extra wallop for Jameson!

Spidey chases down Princess Python, who tries to charm Spider-Man, offering to betray the others and run off together! The freshly awakened Clown hears this and begins to plot betrayal himself! Meanwhile, the Ringmaster finally snaps out of it completely, heading for the hideout, while secretly being followed by an undercover cop! Unable to persuade Spider-Man, Princess Python zaps Spidey with an electric prod, locking him in the room with her giant python! This only serves as a momentary setback for Spidey, as he quickly ties the giant snake in a knot and chases after Princess Python! All of the various villains end up running straight into the waiting police, allowing Spidey to snap some pics, which he shows to the freshly awakened Jameson, putting the spring back in his step! Our story ends with Peter getting chewed out by Aunt May after coming home too late, as he thinks of how much worse it would be if she knew his secret!

Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko
Stan Goldberg
Steve Ditko (Cover Penciler)
Steve Ditko (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

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

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

Share This Page