Posted - July 7, 2014 | Updated : August 26, 2015

Amazing Spider-Man 155

I'm not a fan of fragmented covers - they're too confusing. For this issue they should've just gone for the image at the right - the one were the thugs are ganging up on the Spider.

In spite of the cover, this is an OK issue. The "Whodunit" title angles it as some kind of murder-mystery. It is that, but very basic. What I really like about this issue is what it has to say about computers in the year 1976.

I'm sure you've heard about the Interpol criminal database in France. It's a global masterlist of criminals and every member country of the Interpol has the right to build their own system and link to the Paris database in real time. Not every Interpol member country has done this but they can if they want to. So now, 2014, we have a global criminal database available but the access to it is not yet one hundred percent. With that in mind, check out the description of the computer in Amazing Spider-Man #155:

district attorney tower

I don't know if the Interpol computer, or the idea for the Interpol computer, was already around in 1976, but the concept is the same. Here's the actual computer - please excuse the corpse.

an old mainframe with
					a dead body in front of it

Actually, don't excuse the corpse. The corpse is the crux of this storyline. Spider-Man is going to use the criminal database computer in this issue to find out who killed the dead guy.

The machine comes up with three names and Spider-Man tracks them down one by one.

I find it amusing that from a high-tech information source the issue takes us to a low-tech information source - or maybe we should call it a "classic" information source. Or maybe we should just call him a stooge.

spider-man talks to an informant

I love beautifully done location shots. This one is by Sal Buscema and it show's Joe's Bar located in the seedier part of town.

a seedy part of town

" . . . even the cockroaches can't wait to move out . . .". I love the Peter Parker wit.

Look at these panels.

two thugs pick on the spider

Two thugs calling Peter "shorty". But Peter is no longer "shorty" or "wallflower" or "sap" or anything of the sort. He's the Spider and the bullying is over. This is part of the magic of being Spider-Man and reading Spider-Man comics. The bullying is over. But the detective impresonations aren't. Check out the Spider detective:

spider-man the detective

Beautiful Buscema panel of a spider-sense fail.

somebody unloads a crate on
					top of spider-man

That's a packing create falling on the Spider.

I don't know the physics of how a soft and sticky web can become seemingly hard enough to cause a concussion but I appreciate the versatility of web shooters being able to do this.

spider-man uses his hard web

Spidey should use this "hard web" characteristic more often.

Spider-Man going against thugs and other underworld types. It's a glorious "street level" issue but . . uh-oh. Writer Len Wein can't take it anymore, he has to insert some kind of super-power in the mix, so here is Tallon of the bionic hands.

tallon and his bionic hands
					takes on spider-man

The man's name is Tallon so he has metal "talons". Get it? Corny as hell. Thank you Mr. Wein. No really, thank you, if I can't get cheese from comics where will I get it?

Another great Buscema panel to balance the one where Spider-Man got hit by a crate. This time it's the Spider who does the dishing out.

spider-man punches tallon

Just beautiful.

The end result here is all three leads are a bust. The big lesson: Computers can fail. From 1976. It's 2014, and we know just how true this is. In this issue, Spider-Man/Peter had this childlike faith in the logical prowess of the machine, a faith that didn't work out for him. The computer is fallible is the big truth to take from this story. It's an important lesson rounding out the issue. And that's it.

And that's it? What is this some kind of white paper? This is still a Spider-Man comic. So the computer develops AI and is able to fire lasers from the it's screen!

sentient computer attacks spider-man

Who-hoo! Total cheese, love it!

The constantly joking Spider-Man only makes it better.

spider-man using his webs

In the end Spider-Man manages to take out what he refers to as the "IBM-becile".


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