> Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Volume 4

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Nobody gives Gwen Stacy the brush-off that way! You, young man, are going to regret that. I promise!"

- - Gwen Stacy, thinking to herself about Peter Parker, page 16

Out of the misty green shadows comes-- Spider-Man!


Amazing Spider-Man #31
December 1965 • 20 pages

Publication Date: September 9, 1965

Letters Page: Page OnePage Two

Ranked #78 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list

I: Feature Story: "If This Be My Destiny!"

Pages: 20

Script: Stan Lee
Plot: Stan Lee
Pencils: Steve Ditko
Inks: Steve Ditko
Letters: Artie Simek

First Appearance: Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Professor Warren, Foxy Briggs

Villain: "Master Planner"/Doctor Octopus, Master Planner goons

Guest Appearance:Aunt May, Betty Brant, Ned Leeds, J. Jonah Jameson, Frederick Foswell/Patch, Flash Thompson, Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Professor Warren, Dr. Bromwell

Cameo Appearance: Dean of Empire State University, Foxy Briggs

Gadgets & Technology: Spidey gas mask

Marvel Milestones: Peter starts college at Empire State University

Synopsis: A team of thugs descend from a helicopter into an atomic development plant. They snatch a strange device and gas the guard before making their get-away. Spider-Man is on the scene and leaps upon the copter as it takes off. He kicks in the door and takes on four of the thugs, holding his breath when they try and gas him into submission. Two more thugs encase the stolen devices in waterproof cases and dump them into the river. Down below, frogmen catch the cases and haul them back to the their mysterious leader's underwater lair.

Spider-Man is getting woozy from the gas and decides to end the fight quickly. He webs up the smashed hatch to the helicopter and tosses it into the rotor blades, bringing the copter crashing down into the river. He flips out of the path of the falling copter and finds no one aboard when he dives in to check the wreckage. The thugs have slipped away, and Spider-Man can't figure out how! Unseen by him, they were using scuba gear to swim off to the Master Planner's lair.

The next morning, Peter (in his ultra-hip new vest!) goes to register for college. His first day at Empire State University is a blur full of lines, application forms and the inevtaible run-ins with Flash Thompson. When he returns to tell Aunt May, she suddenly becomes weak and faints. The family physician, Dr. Bromwell, arrives and rushes her to the hospital.

Peter is so worried about Aunt May that he doesn't sleep that night, and is in a daze the next day at school. While Flash meets Gwen Stacy (the Beauty Queen of Standard High) and her friend Harry Osborn, Peter walks by without a word, so focused is he on the ill health of his Aunt May. Harry and Gwen assume Peter is "too good for the human race", an opinion Flash is only too happy to support. Later in the chem lab, Gwen is strangely attracted to Peter but he doesn't acknowledge her when she approaches. In a prank to stir up the aloof Peter Parker, Harry switches around the chemicals Peter is working with, and when Peter combines them, they explode! He is admonished by Professor Warren and the students, feeling guilty, invite Peter out for a soda. Peter, still thinking of Aunt May, doesn't hear them and takes off without a word, leaving Flash, Harry and Gwen to think Peter is a real jerk!

After visiting Aunt May, Peter frets about the medical expenses that will be involved with her care. He changes into Spider-Man and looks for an opportunity to take photos but has no luck. By the time he gets home, it's dawn and time for class. He's had no time to study, he's exhausted and he's still so worried about his Aunt May that, once again, he recycles his anti-social behavior to his classmates without even knowing it.

At the Daily Bugle, JJJ is browbeating his staff for news scoops. Ned Leeds returns to Betty to get an answer to his questions about their future, but Betty is still thinking hard about it, and demurs to talk to Peter first. Frederick Foswell goes off into the underworld as "Patch" to follow up on a news story that Jameson would want to publish concerning the rash of thefts of scientific equipment. Patch overhears that a fellow named Foxy Briggs is trying to glean information about a cargo of nuclear devices that is coming into town, and he rightly suspects it is a prime target for a robbery. He trails the Briggs through the streets but loses him in the crowd.

On his way to see Aunt May, Peter races past Gwen Stacy who approaches to try to talk to him. She's very perturbed that someone like Peter Parker is brushing her off! He visits Aunt May at the hospital and she seems to be doing okay, but the doctors are still concerned about the test results that are forthcoming. On his way out as Spider-Man, he swings out over Foswell, still dressed as "Patch". He sees Spider-Man and signals him with his flashlight and details the information about the potential nuclear theft.

The same group of thugs scale the hull of the cargo ship with suction cups. Spider-Man arrives at the dock that Patch told him about and catches them as they arrive on deck. They gas him again but Spider-Man has installed a filter into his mask to ward away the effect of the fumes. They catch him with a cargo net but Spider-Man tears his way out. This gives the thugs just enough time to escape into the river as the police arrive.

Meanwhile, in a scientific lab facility on the bottom of the river, is the man who has set all this in motion: the Master Planner has been temporarily foiled by Spider-Man but is determined to continue his plan to unlock the secrets of atomic radiation and rule the world. Meanwhile, at the hospital two doctors look over Aunt May's test results and declare that the outlook is grim. She may not last much longer.

(continued in ASM #32)

--synopsis by Jonathan Clarke, aka doesitmatter, and Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Amazing Spider-Man #31-40

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.


ASM #31

ASM #32

ASM #33

ASM #34

ASM #35

ASM #36

ASM #37

ASM #38

ASM #39

ASM #40


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