Last time, on the Doom Retrospective, our hero came tantalizing close to victory but ended up jumping out of a plane instead. Sigh. At this point, Lee and Kirby knew they had really hit a home run with Doom. Since his first appearance in issue 5, he showed up 5 times in 13 issues. He is practically a co-star of the book at this point. But, like all great characters, it was obvious that Doom was outgrowing the podunk Fantastic Four and needed to spread his wings and fly. Let’s check the scorecard.
Record vs Fantastic Four: 0-5 (It might not be so soon, Richards.)
Times Avoided Capture: 5 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)
Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0
Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)
Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 3 (A recurring theme. Might have to rename this section.)
So after his impromptu skydiving in FF #17 (Aug. 1963), Doom pops up again in Amazing Spider-Man #5 (Oct. 1963). 6 appearances in 19 months. Considering Marvel had only a handful of books every month, Doom is making more appearances than Wolverine. Doom scoffs at Snikt, bub.
Is everyone ready to watch Doom destroy a teenager and finally break into the win column? I know I am. Already, I am thrown off because the art of Steve Ditko is way different than Jack Kirby. It’s like an alternate dimension in this book.
Our tale opens with J. Jonah Jameson announcing a new program that will reward anyone who can expose Spider-man to the public as the menace he is! I can already see where this is going. Peter, in a clumsy attempt to fit in, talks shit about Spider-man.
Look at Flash Thompson, number one Spidey fan. Keep that pantywaist in line, Flash. On the next page, Doom stands in all his glory. He will team up with Spider-Man to destroy the Fantastic Four. The perfect plan. It seems every other issue of Amazing back then was some villain tricked into thinking Spider-Man was a villain or a hero believing the hype and attacking him. Poor Peter Parker. The question is, how can Doom contact the Amazing Spider-man? Easy. Science!
Eat your heart out, Richards. You have failed inventions like your “human being in armor” radar, which isn’t even a thing, and Doom has his spider communicator! And it works. Somehow, Spider-man hears the message through his spider-sense and follows it to Doom’s lair. Don’t question Doom’s science! Only bask in the results of success!
Doom makes Spider-man an offer he can’t refuse. And Spider-man refuses. Accursed arachnid! Your fate will be too terrible to comprehend! Not only does Spider-man refuse Doom’s more-than-generous offer, he attempts to web Doom up like some ordinary bank robber.
As if Doom would allow your goopy secretions to touch his person, fool! Oh, man. That was your first and last mistake, Spider-man. Doom is going to open up a can of whoopass. They have a very quick little tussle with Doom throwing Spider-man around and Spidey dodging a trap and a finger blast (teehee) and then going through a window to escape. Spider-man ran!
VICTORY IS DOOM’S!
Doom is not concerned that Spider-man escaped. He will merely deduce the accursed arachnid’s identity and then use him as bait to destroy the Fantastic Four. Simple. Elegant. Oh so easy, since Spider-Man ran for his life after only a few panels. We cut back to see Spider-man coming back into Doom’s warehouse in a foolish attempt to ambush Doom. Pathetic insect, Doom is always a step ahead.
Doom walks off, pimp-like. So suave. So confident. Look at that cape flapping around. Compare this to Spider-man. Snapping pictures because he has to pay rent. Doom fears no rent! And to top it off, Spider-man will almost assuredly be blamed for this explosion. Everything is coming up Doom.
The next day, Parker is groveling for a paycheck and the magnanimous J. Jonah buys his pictures, ensuring Aunt May can get her hemorrhoid cream or whatever. Peter protests that Jameson may pick on Spider-man a little too much.
Oh, Peter you teenaged dick. Jumping on the first girl who says anything nice about you at all. “Gee, Betty, I thought you looked like a dog’s ass before, but you just said something nice about me. Will you marry me, you obvious 10?” Plus, Ditko’s art makes Betty look like she’s 55. Up your game, Parker.
Next we go to Flash Thompson, who has hatched a foolproof scheme.
Oh, Flash, you prankster. Parker will surely poop himself. There must be a price to pay for badmouthing Spider-man, after all. Besides, parading around as a superhero/public menace can’t possibly have any bad consequences for you, Flash. Keep doing you.
So, now, as you could probably guess, hijinx are about to ensue in the Mighty Marvel Manner. Let’s break it down.
First: Doom creates a device that will react to the presence of Spider-man. Don’t ask. Doom created it, so it will work.
Second: Peter is innocently walking along and Flash, in full Spidey getup, is waiting to ambush him.
Third: Doom’s device registers the presence of Spider-Man.
Doom’s gas takes Flash down silently. Fart Joke. I’m a little miffed that Doom is now finding himself in an episode of Three’s Company. Doom, supremely confident and surprised by how easily Spider-man was captured, takes poor Flash to his lair. Peter returns home to find Aunt May watching her shows. The broadcast is then interrupted by Dr. Doom!
Doom is really banking on the Fantastic Four giving two shits about Spider-man. I guess they are worthless heroes and rescuing randos is what they do. Doom might as well have captured a puppy. The results would probably be the same. At that moment, Peter receives a phone call from Liz telling him that Flash was dressed up as Spider-man to play a prank on…someone and is now missing. I guess she didn’t see the broadcast. The real question is: Why call Peter? Hey, let’s call the weakest nerdiest kid in school and see what he thinks about it? I can only imagine that they think Peter snapped and killed Flash. One prank too far, Flash. One prank too far.
Well, Peter can’t just let Flash die, can he? No! He sets off to stage a dramatic rescue. There is just one problem.
Foiled by Aunt May! Peter is not allowed to leave the house. This is amazing. Aunt May is almost as effective a villain as Doom himself. And certainly more effective than say, the Trapster. But Peter will not be denied. He risks Aunt May breaking her hip in the dark to save Flash! He legit leaves her alone in the dark house for the rest of the issue.
Spider-man searches the city for Doom, and his spider-sense buzzes when he gets to the building Doom is hiding out in. Doom’s menace is so great, he could just be sitting on a couch inside, and the spider-sense would go off. Hail Doom! Meanwhile, Flash is not doing Spider-man’s reputation any favors.
Man up and face death with dignity, Flash. Die a hero of Midtown High! Spider-man sneaks into the building through a vent, because Doom would obviously never suspect that and confronts a shocked Doom. Two Spider-men??
They fight and 1960’s Spider-man is basically a Green Lantern. He makes columns, shields, bolas, and balls out of his webbing. Somehow. Finally, Doom gets the upper hand.
Come on, Victor! Namor got you with electricity back in FF#6. Improve your suit, for pete’s sake. Cripes. I am getting that sinking feeling again. But wait! A Doombot grabs Spidey from behind. It’s 2-on-1. Now, I’m getting that familiar tingly feeling. Fuck you, sinking feeling! While the Doombot holds Parker helpless, Doom turns on a disintegrator ray. How long did it take Doom to pimp out this warehouse? I’ve counted five separate traps now – fire from the floor, ice from the ceiling, electrified floor, some sort of weird spinning iron ball contraption, and now this disintegrator ray. Spidey decides that his only chance is to make a dash for the panel controls. Doom decides to take matters into his own luxuriously gauntleted hands.
Doom’s strength of limb is equaled only by his strength of mind, cretin! Never mind that Doom built in an immunity to his death ray but not electricity. Look at that last panel. One little nudge and that accursed arachnid will be gone forever! My whole body is tense with anticipation.
Spider-man, in a desperate effort, rolls the pair into the wall containing the control panel, stopping the ray, but Doom still has the upper hand. Using a flashbang, he blinds Spidey and tries to pummel him. Curse that uncanny spider-sense! Doom cannot lay a finger on the cretin. But Doom still has tricks. The iron balls make a re-appearance and Spider-man loses his balance. Doom stands over him. Ready for the killing blow. This is it, Doomites. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.
God damn it. Of course, the accursed Fantastic Four show up at the most inopportune time. Curse you, Richards! Victory was Doom’s! The stupid Fantastic Four arrive and Spider-men takes off, leaving Flash in their capable hands. Peter scurries home to make sure Aunt May didn’t kill herself in the dark. And of course, she’s fine. That old bat has nine lives. The next day, the hits keep coming for Peter. He forgot to take pictures of the fight and Jameson is upset! And then at school….
You will rue the day you slandered Doom, Flash Thompson. Doom’s wrath will be swift and severe. Do not think your “BMOC” status at Midtown High intimidates Doom. Doom dares all! Doom will confront you in that nest of vipers that is high school. Soon, Flash Thompson.
Doom had Spider-man on the ropes. Parker was clearly out of his weight class. It’s only going to get bigger and better from here. I can feel it. I can tell you right now, no way Doom gets lost in the void of space again.
Next: Doom ends up lost in the void of space.
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