> Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Volume 4

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"If unpopularity ever became popular, I'd be top man around here!"

- - Peter Parker, page 6

You know, there's something about Norman Osborn I just don't trust. (Maybe it's those nutty Osborn cornrows!)


Amazing Spider-Man #37
June 1966 • 20 pages

Publication Date: March 10, 1966

Letters Page: Not currently in supply.

I: Feature Story: "Once Upon a Time, There was a Robot!"

Pages: 20

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

First Appearance: Professor Mendel Stromm, Max Young, Norman Osborn, JJJ's post-Betty Brant secretary #2

Villain: Mendel Stromm, Norman Osborn

Guest Appearance: J. Jonah Jameson, Frederick Foswell/Patch, Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Flash Thompson, Max Young, JJJ's post-Betty Brant secretary #2

Death: Mendel Stromm

Synopsis: A man named Professor Mendel Stromm is released from prison after serving ten years (which explains why we've never seen him before!) While he is intently focused on a revenge plot to get back at those who put him behind bars, he is picked up at the jailhouse gates by his assistant Max. Frederick Foswell is spying on Stromm when a gunman sneaks up on him. Spider-Man clobbers the gunman and shakes him down for information. The gunman wanted to prove to Stromm that he could be useful as a hired thug and join his group. Spider-Man decides the thug isn't entirely useless after all and forces him to drive behind Stromm's car while Spidey hides in the back and disguises himself under a smart-looking hat! Unfortunately, the police turn their lights on behind the thug's car and ruins Spider-Man's tail. He webs the driver to the seat and when the police follow, he swings away, leaving the thug to be arrested by the police. Yet Spidey still wonders what is up, and what Foswell was trying to find out.

Peter arrives at the Bugle and notices yet another secretarial replacement for Betty Brant. Meanwhile, Foswell is holding J. Jonah Jameson's attention with the tale of Stromm's release. He tells Jameson that Stromm has spent his entire jail-term plotting revenge on the person responsible for his sentence. Knowing Spider-Man will soon be needed, Peter slips a tracer into Foswell's hat so he can stay on top of the story, too.

As Professor Stromm sets up his lab to perfects his new robot design, Peter is at ESU and trying to be polite to Gwen Stacy. Unfortunately, this plan immediately deteriorates into an argument. Flash Thompson arrives to worsen the situation and Peter goes to class alone. Harry Osborn makes a snide comment about Peter. Gwen, despite herself, defends him.

Stromm (with a weird cyborg-style apparatus clinging to his skull) completes his robot; a fleshy, rubbery, stretchy robot. It uses tentacles and suction cups to scale the walls of an electronics lab. It breaks in and deflects the bullets of a security guard, then smashes into the laboratory and starts a fire, which brings the attention of Spider-Man. The robot grabs his wrist and no amount of pulling will break its grasp. It coils around Spider-Man like an octopus and adds intense pressure. Spider-Man throws himself near the fringe of the fire and the heat causes the robot to let go.

Stromm has now built a second robot, a more metallic version with a "destruction beam" so this robot can do even more damage to his enemy.

The owner of the electronics plant, Norman Osborn, arrives to view the wreckage with his son, Harry. Harry suspects Spider-Man started the fire but Norman knows the truth: he had previously stolen Stromm's patents and framed him for embezzlement. Now Stromm wants revenge. J. Jonah Jameson, one of Norman's friends from the Men's Club, arrives at the scene. JJJ of course is convinced Spider-Man is to blame.

Spider-Man searches for Foswell and finds him in his Patch disguise, through he doesn't recognize him as Foswell. He tails Patch and is there when Max pulls Patch into Stromm's hideout at gunpoint. Max also releases the robot and Spider-Man is left with a choice. Spidey tosses a tracer on the robot and follows Patch into the hideout. He webs Max's gun but Max slips away. All the exits to the room are sealed and Spidey and Patch are trapped. Spidey manages to slip up the air shaft to try to catch the robot.

The robot smashes into Norman Osborn's office and broadcasts Stromm's threats to Osborn, calling him a "scheming ex-partner" and promising revenge - first he will destroy everything in Osborn's office and then he will destroy Osborn. Spidey arrives but ironically Osborn doesn't want his help, thinking to himself that Spidey's interference will ruin his plot to destroy Stromm once and for all. In fact, he hopes the robot will finish Spider-Man off! Spider-Man leads the robot into the loading dock and during the fight, Norman Osborn sneaks up behind Spider-Man and hits him in the back of the head, knocking him out temporarily. Both Norman and Osborn escape but Spidey gets up and follows the robot back to Stromm's hideout.

By using his leverage and knocking the robot off balance, he smashes it into Stromm's control panels. The doors that hold Patch prisoner slide open. In desperation, Stromm tears the head off the robot and uses it as a weapon. Spider-Man snatches it away with a web. Patch arrives holding Max hostage and Stromm gives up. Suddenly, Spidey's spider-sense warns him of a sniper at the window! He pushes Stromm away in the nick of time but Stromm has a heart attack and dies. Spider-Man leaps to the window but sees only a sheer drop-off, leading to the street dozens of feet below. No normal person could have climbed up and gotten away in time, so Spidey wonders who it was who tried to kill Stromm.

J. Jonah Jameson arrives at the Osborn household to tell him of Stromm's crimes. Osborn feigns ignorance and as Jameson leaves, vows revenge on Spider-Man.

Days later, Peter still can't get over the sniper. He doubts his own spider-sense and once again, unintentionally ignores his fellow students inviting him to go out bowling. Once again, Peter is alone.

--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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