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Amazing Spider-Man #57: Review

Feb 1968
Stan Lee, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Coming of Ka-Zar!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #57 Review by (May 9, 2024)

Review: The amnesiac Spidey meets Ka-Zar and his tiger Zabu for the first time after Jonah convinces Ka-Zar to hunt down Spider-Man. We don’t actually hear how Jameson convinces him, as it all happens off-panel except for a bit about Ka-Zar wanting to fight a worthy opponent. This, combined with Ka-Zar’s skillset and general vibe makes this story feel kind of reminiscent of a less interesting Kraven story. Though a hero instead of a villain, Ka-Zar was still never a character I was ever particularly interested in, only reinforcing the comparison and making it feel a bit redundant. Honestly, the drama surrounding Spidey’s amnesia and the supporting cast’s reaction to Pete’s apparent disappearance makes for the more interesting part of the issue. While figures like John Jameson and Captain Stacy want to vouch for him, with his memory loss, they’re still not quite sure what to think or how much they should trust Spidey.

Harry jumping to the conclusion that Spider-Man kidnapped Pete was kind of convenient though Peter’s disappearance does lend it more credence. I do also like the continued occurrence of Jonah’s plans biting him in the butt as Ka-Zar, who he convinced to go after Spider-Man, finds him right when Jonah is about to discover Spidey’s identity. Some amusing poetic justice. The cliffhanger ending feels a little forced, as obviously Spidey won’t be dead and the direct lead up didn’t quite feel dynamic enough to warrant it. Overall, a solid little story of the first time these two heroes meet that can’t quite help feeling like a leftover Kraven story.

Comments: First meeting of Spider-Man and Ka-Zar (and Zabu). Captain Stacy’s last name is misspelled as “Stacey” at one point.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #57 Synopsis by Anthony Silvestro

After the events of last issue, Spider-Man still finds himself with no memory of who he is and resorts to stealing a bit of food from a rooftop party so as to not starve. Spidey tries to find somewhere to sleep in the pouring rain and eventually finds solace near the top of Grand Central Station. Meanwhile, Aunt May is fraught with worry over Peter, seeing as he’s never gone so long without contacting her in some form. Aunt May can’t sleep and decides to try phoning Harry again, but collapses from stress. She is found by Anna Watson who promptly phones Dr. Bromwell, advising to send an ambulance. We then cut to a meeting of the city council, where John Jameson is being questioned over his decision to let Spider-Man get away last issue. John admits he hesitated due to Spider-Man having saved his life many times in the past, a fact which Captain George Stacy backs up, having been closely studying Spider-Man’s exploits. 

After the meeting, John is accosted by his father, J. Jonah Jameson, who is furious that his own son let Spider-Man escape. Jonah then says that he knows of someone arriving in the city that can take care of Spider-Man, determined to do what his son couldn’t. We then cut to JFK Airport and the arrival of the man Jonah had in mind, Ka-Zar, accompanied by his sabretooth tiger Zabu. Ka-Zar has come to the United States to discuss legal matters with his lawyer and finally makes it to his hotel after being hounded by the press. Just then, Jonah arrives and, after receiving a fright from Zabu, tries to convince Ka-Zar to go after Spider-Man. Meanwhile, back at the apartment he shares with Pete, Harry Osborn is despondent over Peter’s disappearance, feeling it is somehow his fault. He then discovers one of the spider-tracers in Peter’s room and comes to the conclusion that Spider-Man must have kidnapped Peter!

Back with Spidey, he’s awakened by a news report after hearing his name, about how Spider-Man has kidnapped a college freshman and how only John Jameson has spoken to Spidey’s defense. Spidey decides to go find John, figuring he might have some answers for him. As Spidey swings past the hospital, there is a quick interlude where Dr. Bromwell concludes that the best thing for Aunt May is to know that Peter is safe and sound. Spidey finally arrives at police headquarters, encountering John Jameson and Captain Stacy, and admits that he’s lost his memory. Gwen Stacy then suddenly arrives, angrily demanding to know what Spidey has done with Peter. Spidey leaves more confused than ever, as no one knows quite what to think. Back with Ka-Zar, he also departs after hearing enough from Jameson and borrows a grappling hook and rope from a nearby construction site to better traverse the city with, while hunting down Spider-Man.

Spidey’s next move is to head to the Daily Bugle, thinking that looking through the old clippings might help him remember something. There, he runs into J. Jonah Jameson, who quickly tries to turn Spidey’s amnesia to his advantage by trying to get him to unmask, by saying that he knows Spidey in both identities. It’s at that very moment that Ka-Zar finds his prey however, smashing through the window and ruining Jameson’s plans. Spidey tries to escape out the window, but Ka-Zar lassos his leg and the two continue their fight outside. Spidey is able to knock Ka-Zar off of him and Ka-Zar saves himself with the rope but not before Zabu senses Ka-Zar’s predicament and heads their direction to assist his master. Ka-Zar propels himself back up at Spidey, knocking the two of them into the park to be more in his element. Spidey decides to stop holding back and stuns Ka-Zar with a powerful punch when Zabu suddenly appears and tackles Spidey into the pond. Seconds later, only Zabu emerges and Ka-Zar jumps in, pulling out the defeated Spider-Man, leaving us in suspense about whether Spidey is unconscious or dead! To be continued!

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain Stacy
Captain Stacy

(George Stacy)
J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson

(JJ Jameson)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Anna Watson, Dr. Bromwell, John Jameson.

> Amazing Spider-Man: Book info and issue index

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