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Amazing Spider-Man #44: Review

Jan 1967
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:

Where Crawls the Lizard!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #44 Review by (March 28, 2024)

Review: The Lizard returns after a rather long hiatus, not being seen as such since ASM #6! The explanation actually works surprisingly well, with the fumes from the chemicals that Connors used to help Spidey beat the Rhino last issue causing his change back into the Lizard, having been derived from some of the same chemicals. It’s little things like this that I really appreciate about this era, with the surprising amount of continuity and forethought from issue to issue. Poor Dr. Connors becomes the Lizard once more, leading to an epic fight with Spidey and proving just as difficult as last time, even injuring Spidey’s arm! You wouldn’t immediately think it, but Lizard is proving to be one of Spidey’s most consistently dangerous foes! We also have the added drama of his change weighing of course on his wife, giving Spidey even more incentive, both to stop him and reunite a family.

On the supporting cast side of things, Aunt May takes a vacation, probably to get her out of the stories for a little, and the college group finally meets Mary Jane! The group dynamic is instantly engaging, with love triangles already starting to form, as Peter notes that Gwen seems jealous at MJ’s arrival, though the dope thinks it could be about Flash as well. This all occurs at the Silver Spoon, marking the first appearance of the gang’s usual hangout from this era as well! There’s a weird bit where Spidey tries to console Martha Connors, telling her that the Lizard hasn’t committed any crimes yet, even though he framed Spidey for a robbery just a few pages ago! Now Spidey could be just trying to make her feel better but I think it’s just Stan’s infamous memory again. Overall, a very enjoyable issue with epic villain showdowns and engaging group drama, to be followed up on next issue!

Comments: The Lizard’s first appearance since ASM #6. First time Martha Connors is named. First appearance of the Silver Spoon, the regular hangout for the gang moving forward. First time the rest of the college group meet Mary Jane.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #44 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Our story starts off at the train station, where Peter Parker is sending his Aunt May off on a doctor-ordered vacation. In the very same station, Dr. Curt Connors awaits the arrival of his wife Martha and son Billy, when he suddenly thinks his hand turns green and scaly! Things return to normal and Connors thinks he may have imagined it but also considers the possibility that the chemicals he used to help Spidey stop the Rhino last issue could be triggering his dormant lizard DNA again. Martha and Billy soon arrive and search for Curt, who is hidden behind a nearby arch. Suddenly, Curt’s arm starts to tingle and his hand once again turns green and scaly, as he frantically runs away through the crowd so that his family won’t see him as a monster once more. Curt escapes into a tunnel as Martha tries to convince Billy that the fleeing Curt they saw wasn’t his father. Deep in the tunnels, the transformation is complete as Curt Connors becomes the Lizard once more, smashing through the wall deeper into the sewers in order to find a place to plan.

After seeing Aunt May off, Peter spots Martha and Billy, concluding that had seen Dr. Connors earlier, as he thought. He changes to Spider-Man, as that is how they know him and Martha tells Spider-Man that they saw Curt running away, leading them both to surmise that that can only mean one thing. Spidey searches through the tunnel that Connors escaped into while thinking of his first encounters with the Lizard from all the way back in ASM #6. He finds the hole in the wall the Lizard left but knows that there are too many tunnels to follow him and advises that Martha and Billy head to their hotel while he’ll continue to search. After searching for a while in vain, Peter decides to tackle his other problem of paying for Aunt May’s trip and so heads to the Daily Bugle.

At the Bugle, Peter runs into Betty Brant and congratulates her on her engagement to Ned, hardly believing the difference from when he thought he was in love with her. Peter then asks J. Jonah Jameson if he’d be interested in pictures of the Lizard or Spider-Man, desperately needing the money. Peter evens resorts to saying he’ll get photos proving Spider-Man is a menace. Frederick Foswell notes Peter’s desperation for a story and, finding it suspicious, decides that he’ll tail Peter sometime to see if there’s a story there. Peter stops by the Silver Spoon café to get out of the rain and runs into the usual group of Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, and Flash Thompson. Gwen offers to catch Peter up on the material he missed in class that day as Flash and Peter rib each other about Flash’s recent drafting.

Just then, all eyes are on Mary Jane Watson as she approaches the table and the group is stunned to discover that Peter already knows her. Peter introduces Mary Jane to the group before Mary Jane steals Peter away so that he can take her to a music spot she discovered. Peter notes that Gwen seems a bit jealous, while Flash is convinced Mary Jane must have lost a bet. That night, the Lizard prowls the streets and decides he needs to take care of Spider-Man before he can continue with his plans. He scales a wall and robs a jewelry showroom high in a skyscraper, planning that Spider-Man himself will be accused of the crime. That way, either Spider-Man will be too busy running from the police or he’ll seek the Lizard out, creating a win-win situation for the Lizard. After the police inspect the crime scene, Spider-Man is indeed the main suspect, leading to the Daily Bugle putting out a special edition detailing Spider-Man’s supposed robbery.

Peter sees the headline and correctly deduces that the Lizard is trying to frame him. This causes Peter to worry all through classes that day. Finally at night, Spidey goes out looking for the Lizard, eventually swinging upon him. After setting up his camera, Spidey tackles the Lizard, leading to a stylish confrontation. While trying to reason with the Lizard, Spidey gets slammed into the wall by the Lizard’s tail. Spidey then tries playing possum but the Lizard instead attempts to leave causing Spidey to jump after him, taunting him so that the Lizard focuses his attention on Spidey. They continue their fight at the top of a building, before Spidey gets knocked off by the Lizard’s tail. Spidey saves himself with his webbing but the Lizard severs the webs causing Spidey to try and make a web cushion to save himself. Spidey still hits the ground hard and a nearby doctor diagnoses it as a severe arm sprain while the Lizard escapes. Spidey swings off to alert Martha Connors about the situation, who understandably doesn’t take the news well. Peter wearily makes his way back home and gets a call from Mary Jane inviting him out the next day. Peter declines, not wanting anyone to see him while it’s known that Spider-Man has a wounded arm, as he agonizes about how to stop the Lizard.

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: Betty Brant, Billy Connors, Frederick Foswell (Big Man), Martha Connors.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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