Amazing Spider-Man #19, Dec. 1964
Written by: Spidey’s godfather, Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Spidey’s big daddy, Steve Ditko
Lettered by: S. Rosen (Spidey’s second cousin on his uncle’s side!)
Man, I really hate the Enforcers. They’re all such terrible villains in pretty much every possible way. They’re boring, one-dimensional, and not only have dumb powers, but are incredibly weak with their dumb powers. And they keep fighting Spider-Man! Really, the Enforcers are more of a Daredevil or Ant Man-grade villain team. One of them has a lasso! A LASSO, for God’s sake!
So last ish, Spider-Man didn’t do any fighting because he was too worried about his Aunt May’s horrible illness to do any real crimefightery, but that’s all over! Aunt May’s feeling as good as a five hundred year old woman (at least half her real age!), and Spidey’s anxious to clear his name of being a pushover pansy-ass who runs away from fights. Unfortunately for him, the only action going on in town is Sandman and the Enforcers going on a crime spree, which is honestly a pretty lame comeback.
Still, even lame crime needs to be fought, so he and the Human Torch (who managed to get caught by the Enforcers thanks to an asbestos lasso. A LASSO!!!) take on a bunch of common thugs and the Sandman, who is surprisingly easy to overcome, even compared to how surprisingly easy he always seems to be beaten. Seriously, I’m not the only one who thinks his powers should make him basically invincible and unbeatable, right?
Yeah, this is a decent enough follow-up to last issue’s really interesting dramatic storytelling, but it would’ve been a hell of a lot more effective if Spidey had gone back up against the Green Goblin, whom he ran away from. I mean, as it stands, it doesn’t really clear his name as a coward so much as it makes it seem like he’s only not afraid of pathetic criminals like the Enforcers. At the end of the comic there’s a little blurb about a guy in a smoking jacket having Peter Parker followed because he suspects something, and I assume this is Norman Osborn, but still. Just… the Enforcers suck.