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Amazing Spider-Man #54: Review

Nov 1967
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:

The Tentacles and the Trap!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #54 Review by (April 24, 2024)

Review: Here we have the solid second part in this ongoing Doc Ock story, in which Ock takes up lodgings in Aunt May’s house as her new boarder! This issue was a bit more low-key than last issue, as it mostly consists of Doc Ock hiding away in the house, while Spidey fights his goons outside. When Aunt May does witness Spidey and Ock fighting, she faints, kind of justifying Peter’s common worries about her. It makes for some solid drama that it was Spider-Man, not Doc Ock, who scared her so much, giving Peter another thing to grieve over. We also see Peter angrier than usual, due to Aunt May being affected so directly, implying he might even be willing to stop Doc Ock permanently! He won’t obviously, but it makes for a dramatic ending!

We also get some nice supporting character stuff, as Harry remains ticked off at Peter and Pete meets Joe Robertson for the first time. There’s also a cute little scene with Gwen and MJ both flirting with Peter while being subtly catty with each other, while some other guys look on in envy. Johnny Storm’s definition of the “Parker Luck” in full swing. The funniest line, only in certain context, comes from Doc Ock. When Aunt May tells Ock how gifted in science Peter is, Ock responds with, “I dabble a bit in science myself.” Truly, the original “I’m something of a scientist myself.” Different characters, sure, but still hilarious in hindsight. Overall, a solid continuation to this Doc Ock story, while keeping things a bit slower paced than last issue and leaving things open for a truly bombastic follow-up, with Spidey willing to do anything to stop the escaped Doc Ock now!

Comments: Peter meets Joe Robertson for the first time, as well as Robbie getting a full name for the first time. First time Aunt May graces a Spidey cover.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #54 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

Needing a place to lie low after last issue, Doctor Octopus answers the ad Aunt May put in the paper for a boarder. Aunt May remembers Doc Ock from Annual #1, still thinking the entire thing was a harmless visit. Aunt May then remembers hearing something about Doc Ock being wanted by the police and Ock assures her it was all a misunderstanding, and that he was trying to stop the real culprit, Spider-Man. Spidey meanwhile, combs the city for Doc Ock but obviously can’t find him and so returns home, finding the apartment empty and so decides to check on Aunt May. While Aunt May chats with Peter, Doc Ock makes himself at home in his new room, releasing his tentacles and setting up the communication equipment he brought. Doc Ock uses the equipment to contact some of his men from when he was the Master Planner, requesting some materials be brought to him.

The next morning, Peter is working on his web fluid when his roommate, Harry Osborn, asks if he wants breakfast. Peter is sure to lock up all of his stuff so Harry doesn’t see anything but this causes Harry’s recent frustration with Peter to grow, thinking that Peter is trying to keep Harry from stealing anything. Peter heads over to the Daily Bugle while worrying about things with Harry. There, Betty Brant introduces Peter to Joe Robertson, the new city editor for the Bugle and Robbie expresses appreciation for Peter’s work. Peter then asks J. Jonah Jameson if he has any possible leads on Doc Ock and receives a typically negative response. Peter then heads over to the Coffee Bean, where he runs into Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. Both girls flirt a bit with Peter, while subtly ribbing each other, but Peter admits he has to go check on Aunt May and her new boarder.

Peter heads to Aunt May’s and discovers that her new boarder is Doc Ock, reacting with due shock and indignation. Peter tries to tell Aunt May how dangerous Doc Ock is but can’t get too specific lest he make either one suspicious. Ock offers to explain things to Peter and when they’re alone, he threatens Peter and warns him not to say anything to anyone or he’ll kill both Peter and Aunt May. Peter knows he can’t tackle him as Spider-Man without putting Aunt May in danger and waits until dark while keeping watch on the house. When Ock receives a delivery of equipment, Spidey feels he has to act and shines his spider-signal into the house in order to draw Doc Ock out. Ock, however, messages his men and orders them to deal with Spidey while he remains holed up in the house.

Ock’s goons show up and attack Spidey and he starts to get overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers while Doc Ock watches from the house. Spidey perseveres and continues to fight the men, with not even a gas attack slowing him down for long. Spidey finishes off the goons while a crowd watches, before the police arrive for the webbed up goons. At that moment, Spidey spots Aunt May in the crowd and sees this as the perfect opportunity to go tackle Doc Ock while she’s out of harm’s way. Spidey smashes through the window and pretends to be knocked out by Ock’s counterattack so he can get the drop on him. At that moment, however, Aunt May makes her way back in the house and discovers the scene, fainting from fear and shock at the sight of Spider-Man. Doc Ock escapes through the wall while Peter remains with Aunt May, frantically trying to revive her and even resorting to unmasking to show her she has nothing to fear from Spider-Man, to no avail. Peter changes out of his Spidey costume and calls Dr. Bromwell, who tells him that Aunt May’s next such attack could be fatal. As Peter worries about Aunt May and fixing the wall Doc Ock smashed through, he swears that he’ll find Doc Ock and stop him once and for all!

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
Mary Jane Watson
Mary Jane Watson

(Mary Jane)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson

(Joe Robertson)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Betty Brant, Dr. Bromwell.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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