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Amazing Spider-Man #43: Review

Dec 1966
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:

Rhino on the Rampage!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #43 Review by (March 20, 2024)

Review: The Rhino returns in this ending of sorts to these past three interconnected issues. This was another beautifully drawn issue by Romita, really showcasing his ability to draw both dynamic Spidey action and attractive women. Peter and Mary Jane have their first real interactions and they seem to hit it off quite well, with MJ being a shot of pure adrenaline and 60s counter culture in human form. She evens suggests that they go see the Rhino in person, giving Peter and good excuse to be there as Spider-Man. Obviously it hadn’t been thought of yet, but I always found it really neat how surprisingly well a bunch of these early interactions work with the later retcon that Mary Jane always knew he was Spider-Man. We also learn the Rhino’s origin this issue, through flashbacks remembered by the villain himself.

Spidey and Rhino have two dynamic battles this issue, the first of which has Spidey saved by a brave cop, with Stan and John not so subtlely trying to say that they’re the real heroes. Unfortunately, that sentiment might not hold up as well under a modern lens but these stories are idealized fiction after all. In the second fight, Spidey stops the Rhino with a chemical he and Curt Connors whipped up to melt his suit away, having yet another recent battle that prevailed due to Spidey’s science knowledge, which is always a plus. There’s even some foreshadowing for the next couple of issues, as Connors wonders if the Lizard could stop the Rhino, with Spidey reminding him that that’s not a good idea. Throw in other important details like Betty and Ned’s engagement and Flash getting drafted and this made for quite the issue! Rhino won’t fight Spidey again for a surprisingly long time, spending the next couple of decades as primarily a Hulk villain, but he will return eventually to give Spidey more trouble! Overall, another great issue in the blooming Romita Era!

Comments: The Rhino’s origin is revealed. Betty Brant and Ned Leeds are revealed to have gotten engaged. Guest appearances by Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, and an unspeaking Karen Page.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #43 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Starting off action packed right away, the Rhino escapes his confines, smashing right through the wall, the tranquilizers from last issue having worn off. Meanwhile at the Daily Bugle, Frederick Foswell congratulates Betty Brant and Ned Leeds on their recent engagement, when J. Jonah Jameson storms in, telling Foswell to get the story on the Rhino’s escape! We then return to Peter Parker, having just met the lovely Mary Jane Watson, acting completely smitten with her. Aunt May and Anna Watson seem very satisfied that the two teenagers are hitting it off so well. Mary Jane turns on the TV to dance as she and Peter get to know each other, when the station is suddenly interrupted with the news of the Rhino’s escape. Mary Jane suggests they go down there to see the Rhino in action, which suits Peter just fine as he wanted to head there as Spider-Man anyway.

Peter and Mary Jane hop on Peter’s bike to head in the direction of the action. Meanwhile, in a nearby law office, the Rhino’s attorney, Foggy Nelson, discusses with his law partner, Matt Murdock, the frustrations the Rhino’s escape places on the case. Back with the Rhino, he’s causing as much destruction as possible in order to draw Spider-Man out. The Rhino then thinks of how this all started, acting as a muscle man for a group of professional spies. The spies then subjected him to numerous experiments, grafting his Rhino suit to him, to act as their perfect assassin. The Rhino had other ideas, destroying their lab and deciding to use his new talents to make himself rich by offering his unique services to any who would pay. Seeing that the area is now cordoned off, the Rhino waits for Spider-Man to arrive.

Speaking of, Peter and Mary Jane arrive at the scene, with Peter telling Mary Jane that he’s going to go off to take photos as his excuse to switch to Spider-Man. Spidey sets up his camera and jumps down to tackle with Rhino. After Spidey avoids the Rhino’s attacks for a while, the Rhino decides to make Spidey come to him by charging right through a building in the direction of innocent bystanders. Spidey swings down upon the Rhino once again as the crowd looks on, including MJ and Foswell. After initially tackling the Rhino, Spidey gets stunned by a sudden charge from him, as the Rhino keeps going, ramming right into a huge truck. The Rhino then turns around to charge once again into the still stunned Spider-Man, as a brave cop drags Spidey out of the way as the Rhino runs once more into tons of debris. In all of the smoke and confusion, Rhino thinks he’s finished off Spidey, and decides to finish his previous mission by going after Jameson’s son again.

Spidey is extremely thankful to the brave police officer, seeing him as the true hero of the day. Spidey changes back to Peter, snagging his camera from the alley he left it in, while noticing a small fragment of the Rhino’s hide left behind, which gives Peter an idea for how to stop him. Peter reconvenes with Mary Jane, telling her that he took some photos from a nearby building and takes her back to her apartment after making plans for the next day. At the Daily Bugle, Foswell types up the story for the elated J. Jonah Jameson, when Peter arrives with the photos he took. Peter then also overhears that Jonah’s son is being held in a Westchester hospital and thinks that the Rhino may go after him again. In order to prevent that, Spidey swings over to the lab of Dr. Curt Connors to ask for his help. The two of them use the piece of the Rhino’s hide to synthesize something to help Spidey take down the Rhino.

Spidey then arrives at the hospital just as the Rhino smashes through the guards to get to John Jameson. Spidey intervenes, covering Rhino in his webs, which seems to prove no issue to the dangerous criminal. Spidey then dodges another charge from the Rhino, as he goes hurtling clean through the wall to the ground below. It’s then that Spidey and Connors’ creation takes effect, as a chemical they treated Spidey’s webs with starts to melt away the Rhino’s suit! With the man now exposed, Spidey easily knocks out the Rhino, as Jonah arrives to make sure his son is okay. As Peter makes his way home on his bike, he runs into Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, and Flash Thompson. They tell Peter that Flash was drafted and needs to report for a physical. When Flash makes fun of Peter for not get drafted himself, the other two don’t find it as funny, as Peter heads home. At home, Peter realizes that Aunt May wasn’t able to refill her medicine prescriptions. Realizing he’s been neglecting Aunt May, Peter calls MJ to cancel their plans tomorrow while stressing over his seeming inability to manage his life.

John Romita
John Romita
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.


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

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