He’s soon going to fight Tom Holland’s Spidey on the big screen. But who IS Mysterio? Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Amazing Spider-Man #13 awaits!
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Steve Ditko
Inker: Steve Ditko
Colorist: Stan Goldberg
Letterer: Art Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 12 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $2,900.00
Previously in Amazing Spider-Man: The bite of a radioactive spider at a science exhibit sent young Peter Parker down an unlikely path, fighting crime while taking AP Physics. His uncle died, an event for which Peter blames himself, his aunt is frail, his boss is a jerk… Seriously, they’ve done six movies in the past 15 years, you guys know this already! That’s why when this issue opens with Spider-Man robbing a bank and scrambling away up the side of a building with a bag of loot won’t surprise you!
Or perhaps it will. It certainly shocks New York, Flash Thompson and the kids at his school in Queens, all of whom can’t believe they put their faith in someone who’s such a heel. Of course, one of Flash’s classmates has the added problem of worrying that he’s losing his mind, as Peter Parker worries that he’s developing a split personality. After all, nobody could have replicated his spider-powers, right? One man who isn’t surprised, though, is J. Jonah Jameson, who has been warning people about the perfidy of the friendly neighborhood hero from day one.
As always, money is a problem in the Parker household, so Peter actually has to agree to go out seeking evidence of his own criminal nature, which doesn’t help with his anxiety. He even considers seeing a therapist, only to realize that he can’t talk to anyone about his possible mental schism without possibly revealing his secret identity! It’s a Catch-22 for Master Parker, but it’s about to get worse as a strange figure arrives at the Daily Bugle, promising to bring the nefarious wallcralwer to justice.
So, here’s the real truth: Mysterio’s costume is perhaps the most disturbing and effective villain suit in the entire Marvel Universe. You can try and argue, but you know in your heart I’m right. And the wild “faceless mirror-headed man with giant eyes on his chest” visual isn’t the only trick he has up his sleeve. When Spider-Man meets his challenge and shows up on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, he is quickly out-maneuvered by the new “hero” in town.
Not only can Mysterio take every punch that Spidey dishes out, he can somehow evade Peter’s Spider-Sense (at a time when that wasn’t an ability of every third member of Pete’s Rogue’s Gallery.) Spider-Man is forced to make a run for his very life, barely escaping Mysterio and the NYPD all at once. As Parker returns home to ruminate on the end of his heroic career, Mysterio receives a hero’s welcome and a parade! Only Flash Thompson, Spider-Man’s biggest fan, holds a torch for the fallen web-head.
What Flash Thompson, Jonah and ol’ Bubble-Brain don’t know, however, is that Peter Parker and the Amazing Spider-Man are one and the same, and that handshake allows Peter to pull a little legerdemain of his own, stashing a Spider-Tracer (in only its second appearance!) in Mysterio’s cape. Tracing him back to his lair, Spidey engages Mysterio in combat and confronts him with the truth: HE is the one who has been impersonating Spider-Man all along, creating the very problem that he’s being paid so handsomely to solve!
Realizing that all of Mysterio’s “powers” are in fact based on misdirection and trickery, Spider-Man regains the upper hand and fights him through the movie studio where Mysty’ hides his villain lair. It’s a really beautiful battle sequence, ending with Spider-Man delivering Mysterio and his taped confession to the police, the movie director berating his A.D. for not filming the fight and Jonah Jameson despondent. Fortunately, Peter gets the latest mortgage payments with his pics of the battle and even gives Jonah a wedgie to teach him a lesson. That’s true, by the way. Amazing Spider-Man #13 is one of my favorites of the early Lee/Ditko Spideys, featuring truly inspired art and design work, a clever script that hits all the Spider-Man story beats with a few new tricks and ends with our hero getting a solid win, earning 5 out of 5 stars overall. If the trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is any indication, we may be seeing part of this story on film, but either way, it’s a comic well worth your time.
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AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13
A clever story with multiple twists, a resourceful performance from Spidey and the greatest villain getup of all time make for a darn-near perfect read.