TWO Enforcers appearances in 5 issues! Madness. Banking everything on a cowboy, a tiny mobster, and a big dumb dude. We open on some dudes robbing a bank in broad daylight and immediately getting trashed by Spider-Man. They’re shocked he’s even here, having read all the bad press, and he’s happy to show them he’s back in action.
Wormly! Whatever happened to this essential member of The Bugle staff? Despite only appearing on this page, this man somehow has a first name according to the internet: Richard Wormly. Man, it is time for a comeback. JJJ goes outside to punch a wall and rage, and who should fly overhead and see him but The Human Torch, on his way back to The Baxter Building fresh from his last solo outing in Strange Tales 127. He’s tired and ready to relax, so being lassoed by Montana is really not what he was hoping for (With an asbestos-covered lasso, we’re assured. Johnny shoulda died of cancer before he turned 20). The Enforcers have teamed up with Sandman, and between that and a very space age looking fire extinguisher, they take him down. I mean, I say “they,” but really Sandman covers Johnny in sand, snuffing his flame and knocking him out. Sandy is running The Enforcers now, and as a goon of his runs up to tell him Spider-Man’s “collared Rock Gimpy’s whole gang!” (Incredible names in this), Sandy tells him/us The Enforcers only agreed to work for him because they were assured they wouldn’t have to deal with Spider-Man. But they beat Johnny pretty easy, so they figure everything will be ok, especially since Sandman sent our hero fleeing last time. Speaking of…
Liz is mad at Flash for having been mad at her and storms off. Peter tries to commiserate with his foe, but Flash isn’t gonna take that lying down, so Peter leaves, too. Just in time to see Fancy Dan walking down the street. So he becomes Spider-Man to follow Dan down the street.
Ox and Fancy Dan invented the Fastball Special. Eat yer heart out, Colossus and Wolverine.
Some especially wacky Spider-Man. He really is in a great mood. Well, guess who it was that we saw Betty with last issue (Which feels like a million years ago after those 3 Untold issues)?
Betty is a real piece of work. Peter’s business with Jonah ends up being that he just wanted to ask if he’d like some pictures of The Enforcers, which is kind of a weak reason to come to work, but JJJ slams a door in his face before he can ask. Elsewhere, Sandman announces to The Enforcers that they’re going to use The Torch as bait in a trap for Spider-Man. Johnny objects, saying they’re not even friends, but no one’s interested. He tries to get his flame going, but is too weak, and draws so much oxygen out of the air it becomes hard to breathe. Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings by JJJ’s office to harass him for a sec before going to get info about Sandman & The Enforcers out of a stool pigeon. The guy easily gives up their location and that they have The Torch hostage, so Spidey suspects a trap. And he’s right, as he arrives and finds the warehouse they’re hiding out in surrounded by look outs. He easily evades them as he sneaks in and sets up his camera. Then he slowly descends onto the top of the tube Johnny’s trapped in, only for Sandman to reveal he was hiding on top as a layer of sand. Spider-Man quickly dodges the surprise attack, the other goons and The Enforcers rush in, and it’s fightin’ time yet again.
Stan Lee had a character ask someone else if they should play Hearts and Flowers all the time. This is a slight variation on the usual. Being exposed to this as a kid, it took me awhile to figure out it was a song. The context always made me think it could be, like, a game or something. But it’s a very old, very sad song.
Spider-Man never stops moving on Ditko pages.
Spidey dodging 2 attacks in one panel there really impressed me as a lad. Just some super exciting stuff from Ditko. I may have thought this art was weird (And it is!), but there was no denying the fun of it. Well, with 2 superheroes fighting guys Spider-Man was doing ok against alone, and with us running out of pages, the tide starts to fully turn on the bad guys. The 2 heroes grudgingly admit they make a good team and Torch forces the goons together with his fire so Spidey can web them all up. Montana and Sandman try to get Torch under control, but Spider-Man runs over with Ox and Dan hanging onto him and smashes all the bad guys into each other. Soon it’s just Sandman left standing.
The heroes get loose, and Sandman is randomly tackled by 2 cops on the street. They rather preposterously get him under control even though he’s, you know, made of sand, but not before he yells that he’d rather go to jail than deal with Spider-Man. Spidey and Torch see the cops have somehow wrapped this up, so they part ways.
All that you deserve, Betts! Pretty crazy to see her and Ned first getting together after his death, but that’s just how we do things around here.
Even Stan pretty clearly doesn’t know who that guy down there is. But it’ll be a minute before we see him find out in ASM 20.