Amazing Fantasy #18
Marvel Comics (March, 1996)
WRITER: Kurt Busiek
PAINTER: Paul Lee
PUBLICATION DESIGN/LETTERING: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
EDITOR: Sarra Mossoff
With all the lives he’s saved, Peter still doesn’t feel like a superhero. Real superheroes like Thor or the Fantastic Four are brave, noble (he hasn’t met Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm yet), and don’t have money issues or no friends among their peers. With Aunt May now hurting for money, Spider-Man agrees to do It’s Amazing again for Maxie, where he’ll be paired with Maxie’s other find, the living battery calling himself Supercharger. Flash even has tickets and their appearance is going to push their astronaut guest aside…which upset’s the astronaut’s newspaper publisher daddy. (If you have to ask you’ve never seen or read a Spider-Man story.) However, Supercharger was born from an experiment to recreate superheroes that killed his father, so he wants to prove superheroes are nothing more than freaks and monsters. With the phone lines cut, and no way to reach help before Supercharger kills someone, Spider-Man is forced to take on his first actual supervillain, which he beats with brains instead of brawn. He convinces Maxie to give back the money to repair the studio, which just turns JJ even further against him, but now Peter may be closer to accepting that Spider-Man can be a superhero.
What they got right: Supercharger makes his debut here, and he’s an interesting villain. I hope they keep the “wants to make superheroes look bad” motif. It’s what makes him interesting. Busiek also goes over what makes Spider-Man work, as a hero with personal issues and responsibilities rather than…
What they got wrong: Supercharger’s powers are basically Electro’s. Hopefully they’ve been refined in further stories, but it’s basically Electro with a more interesting backstory and less silly costume. Also, still thinking the painted style took something out of the story that would have been better served with at least some lineart.
Recommendation: These three issues were great Spider-Man stories, and should be in any Spider-Fan’s collection.