Comic Browser:


Amazing Spider-Man #56: Review

Jan 1968
Stan Lee, John Romita

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #56 Review by (May 1, 2024)

Review: After the last bombastic issue, here we have the final part of this four part Doc Ock story. While not quite as pulse-pounding as last issue, nevertheless this made for a satisfying ending to this story. The amnesiac Spidey is tasked with invading an army base and stealing the final component needed to complete the nullifier, which he does with relative ease. I do like that Spidey, even without his memory, is instinctively skeeved out by Doc Ock just on general principle. Well that and his spider-sense keeps going off non-stop, though he has no idea what it means. John Jameson also gets to be the hero, cleverly using the nullifier on Doc Ock while he’s otherwise distracted. It’s nice when other characters get to save the day, beyond the title hero.

We also have the introduction of Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, who will be a very important supporting character in the stories to come. I think it’s cute that he immediately catches on to Gwen’s feelings for Peter, when she contacts him to check the accident reports for info on Peter, under the pretense that it would make Aunt May feel better. It’s also cool that Spidey doesn’t get his memory back at the end, leaving the door open for a longer process of him struggling with his amnesia. It does make for a striking ending, as the amnesiac Spidey just sits there, unable to recognize his own face, effectively with no past or future. It’s doubly stressful for him since he’s also now a fugitive with nowhere to turn, after refusing to go with Col. Jameson. Overall, a solid ending to this multi-part Doc Ock story that thankfully doesn’t take the easy way out and magically restore Spidey’s memory in the nick of time, despite not quite reaching the highs of last issue.

Comments: First appearance of Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #56 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

While battling Doctor Octopus last issue, Spider-Man was hit by his nullifier which caused Spidey to lose his memory! Doc Ock convinced Spidey that the two of them work together and Spidey loads the nullifier into their van. While they make their escape, Doc Ock uses the nullifier on the pursuing police car, before the nullifier suddenly starts to overheat. They arrive at Doc Ock’s hideout where Doc Ock works for hours on the nullifier, finally surmising that they need one last component to complete the nullifier, a small quantity of isotope 16. The isotope is being held at a nearby army base, Fort Tyson, and Doc Ock commands Spidey to be the one to go get it for him, causing his spider-sense to blare, though Spidey doesn’t know the significance of the strange feeling. Doc Ock also commands that Spidey remove his mask, so he knows who he is, causing Spidey to be suspicious that Ock doesn’t already know. Realizing his mistake, Ock tries to goad Spider-Man into a fight to distract him and claim it was a test before things escalate too much.

After receiving a map to the base, Spidey heads out to retrieve the isotope, all the while wondering if things are what they seem. We then cut to Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn, worried that Peter hasn’t been seen in days, as they pay a visit to Aunt May to see if she has any answers. This just causes Aunt May to worry, on top of worrying about what the papers have been saying about Doctor Octopus, as she is comforted by Anna Watson. Mary Jane Watson arrives at that moment, sporting the paper showing that Spidey and Doc Ock have apparently joined forces. After Harry suggests that Peter is likely just out taking photos for the Daily Bugle, Aunt May frets more than ever about Peter’s dangerous choice of work. Meanwhile, John Jameson leads a meeting of various police and military personnel about what to do about Doc Ock and the nullifier. George Stacy, Gwen’s retired police captain father, suggests that Doc Ock may not be trying to leave the city, earning the appreciation of John. Captain Stacy then receives a call from Gwen asking him to check the accident reports for any possible info on Peter.

Speaking of Peter, Spidey continues to make his way to the army base, sneaking in by crawling underneath an approaching truck carrying a missile. Once inside the base, Spidey sneaks in through the vents, all the while thinking about how distasteful this all feels and the bad feelings he gets about Doc Ock but having no other information to go on. Spidey acquires the canister containing the isotope while webbing up the guards that try to apprehend him. As Spidey escapes the base, he drops the map leading back to Ock’s hideout and even notes that he could have easily grabbed it, wondering if he subconsciously wants it to be found. It is indeed found and shown to Col. John Jameson, who mobilizes a strike team to check out the lead. Speaking of Jamesons, John’s father J. Jonah Jameson is frustrated that his own son is in charge of the nullifier operation and won’t tell him anything. Joe Robertson wisely reminds Jonah that his son couldn’t reveal any classified information, to Jonah’s chagrin. When Jonah asks where Peter is, Betty Brant informs him that no one has seen Peter in days, worsening Jonah’s mood.

Spidey makes his way back to the hideout and gives Ock the isotope before one of Ock’s men notices that Spidey left the map behind. With this blunder, Ock decides that Spidey has outlived his usefulness, grabbing Spidey in his tentacles. Spidey yanks Ock off balance with his webs before Ock’s goon hears the sounds of helicopters. Jameson’s army strike team arrives and quickly captures the henchmen, before filling the hideout with smoke grenades. While Ock deals with the soldiers and Spidey remains unsure what to do, John Jameson sneaks in and uses the nullifier on Doc Ock, rendering his mechanical arms useless. Ock commands Spider-Man to take care of the rest but Spider-Man, though still confused, admits he at least knows that he’s no partner of Ock’s. As Doc Ock is led away, John Jameson thanks Spider-Man but says that he still has to take him in. Spidey refuses, saying that there’s still too much he has to figure out, as he swings away. The issue ends with Spidey now a fugitive, with no more answers than he had before, as a feeling of hopelessness sets in, not even being able to recognize his own face.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain Stacy
Captain Stacy

(George Stacy)
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: Anna Watson, Betty Brant, John Jameson.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

Share This Page