Comic Browser:


Amazing Spider-Man #42: Review

Nov 1966
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:

The Birth of a Super-Hero!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #42 Review by (March 20, 2024)

Review: Peter Parker hits the jackpot! And some stuff happens with John Jameson too I guess. It is kind of a shame that the actual plot of this issue regarding John Jameson gets completely overshadowed by its much more famous final panel. The actual story is pretty good, with John gaining superpowers from the spores he came into contact with last issue, the first of his many super-powered identities. He is used by his father as sort of his own superhero to catch Spider-Man after Spidey seemingly robs a bank. The truth is obviously that Spidey was foiling a different robbery, as there was a bomb in the bag. When Spidey and John first encounter each other, there is a bit of that annoying trope where Spidey just says, “wait let me explain!”, without actually explaining in order to draw out the tension and conflict. John partly isn’t listening but Spidey could just say, “hey there was a bomb, I was getting rid of it.”

It is kind of cool that Jonah is the one to confirm that Spidey is telling the truth. The resolution is pretty cool, with Spidey using his science knowledge to shock the spores out of John. It had been a little bit since Spidey had actively used his science skills to defeat an enemy. Of course, the real thing this issue is known for is the final panel face reveal for Mary Jane Watson, expertly drawn by John Romita. This is probably the most famous final panel of any Spider-Man comic and one of the most famous final panels of any comic, I’d say. It is truly iconic. Made even more so by Romita’s art, so I always thought it was good that MJ hadn’t appeared onscreen until he had come on as artist. Overall, a pretty cool story built on an easily explainable misunderstanding that gets completely overshadowed by its landmark ending. Mary Jane is finally here, and Spider-Man will never be the same!

Comments: First unobscured appearance of Mary Jane Watson. First instance of John Jameson gaining superpowers. Betty Brant is established as working at the Daily Bugle once more.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #42 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story opens with Spider-Man fleeing a bank, money bag in hand, having seemingly just robbed it! The pedestrians are shocked as the police arrive to throw a cordon around the area. Spidey drops the money bag into the river, claiming that this will be a nightmare to explain. At the Daily Bugle, Frederick Foswell frantically arrives with the news, where Betty Brant and Ned Leeds tell Foswell that Jameson is at the airport seeing his son off. We then cut to Kennedy Airport, where J. Jonah Jameson is saying farewell to his son, John Jameson, when John suddenly starts to feel groggy. He stumbles around, suddenly growing in size and completely smashing apart everything he comes into contact with!

John is transported to a lab, where it is determined that the spores he came into contact with in space are the cause of his sudden change. John now has greatly increased strength, reacting to the earth’s gravity far less than before. However, the scientists discover that this will put a strain on John’s heart so they outfit him with a special suit to slow the effects. Jonah and John are taken to a hotel where John can be monitored. It’s there that Jonah receives the news of Spider-Man’s apparent burglary. Jonah is over the moon at apparently being correct about Spider-Man, and convinces John to go catch Spider-Man, seeing it as the ultimate justice if his son is the one to finally bring Spider-Man in.

Meanwhile, at a nearby courthouse, several doctors work over the unconscious Rhino, caught last issue, as they ponder how to remove his suit and what the nature of his powers are. They leave to summon more specialists as the Rhino begins to awaken. Elsewhere in the courthouse, Foggy Nelson, law partner of Matt Murdock alias Daredevil, is appointed as the Rhino’s attorney. However, before Foggy can speak to his client, the Rhino attempts to escape, smashing right through the wall. He is met with a stream of tranquilizer gas, which knocks the Rhino out once more, as the doctors question how they will continue to hold him. We return finally to Peter at ESU where Gwen Stacy invites him to a party she’s throwing. Peter happily accepts before remembering that he promised to finally meet Mary Jane that weekend. Gwen is upset at another rejection from Peter but Harry Osborn defends him, saying he must have his reasons. When Flash Thompson insults Peter over the matter, Gwen then snaps at Flash before walking off with Harry, to Peter’s amusement.

With classes now done, Peter goes out swinging as Spider-Man, thinking about how he’d like to get closer with Gwen. Spidey then runs into the super powered John Jameson, who attacks Spidey before he can explain about the misunderstanding. Spidey tries webbing up John, to no avail, while avoiding his punches. Spidey finds that John is unharmed by own attacks, as he continues to try to explain the situation, which falls on deaf ears. Spidey then webs up John’s face and swings away, as he thinks about the crazy turn of events that led to him seemingly robbing the bank. Turns out, he was there as Peter, when his spider-sense alerted him to a passing guard with a payroll bag. The bag actually had a bomb in it, planted there to assist in a robbery, and he changed to Spidey to get rid of the bomb, making it look like he was robbing the place.

Spidey then heads to the Bugle, where he encounters Jonah and tells him the whole story. Jonah obviously doesn’t believe Spidey until Spidey tells him to call the bank to see if any money is missing, as he swings off. Jonah begrudgingly obliges, discovering that no money is indeed missing and that he was wrong about Spider-Man once again. John then returns and Jonah tells him that Spider-Man may actually be innocent, but John doesn’t want to hear it, wanting to settle things with Spider-Man and being overall much more aggressive than usual. Later, Spider-Man goes back out in order to try and find John again, as John also makes his way out past his guards to find Spider-Man.

The two are almost drawn to each other as they finally encounter each other at a power station. Spidey tries to reason with John, who attacks Spidey anyway, with Spidey trying to keep out of reach, not really wanting to hurt John. Spidey gets an idea and knocks the two of them through the skylight and into the power station below. After continuing to avoid John, Spidey eventually knocks him into a generator, which causes a huge feedback, knocking John out and returning him to normal! A little bit later, Jonah and John’s detail find him and conclude that everything is normal again, as Spidey watches on to make sure he got found alright. The next morning, Peter revels in his chance to relax during the weekend before Aunt May reminds him that he promised to meet Mary Jane that day. Resigning himself to just get it over with, Peter and Aunt May head over where they’re met by Anna Watson, who tells them that Mary Jane will be there shortly. Peter thinks of Gwen while he waits, when the doorbell rings and Peter answers it. He is absolutely stunned as he finally comes to face to face with the beautiful Mary Jane Watson as she delivers the immortal line, “Face it Tiger, you just hit the jackpot!”

John Romita
John Romita
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Anna Watson, Betty Brant, Foggy Nelson (Franklin Nelson), Frederick Foswell (Big Man), John Jameson, Ned Leeds.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

Share This Page