Monday, July 9, 2012

Spider-Manic Monday #1--Great Moments In Science!!

It is frankly a miracle that everyone in the Marvel Universe is still alive.

Exhibit One:

Oh, yes, a grand idea. Please have experiments in "radio-activity" open to the public, and have no shielding or protection of any kind.

LIKELY BUT NOT PROVABLE FACT: except for Peter Parker, everyone at that demonstration was dead of radiation poisoning in 6 months.

It must be noted--when this place is described as "on the outskirts of town," they mean New York City. An atomic research center "on the outskirts of" millions of people. A plant that had two atomic accidents within one issue (OK, one was deliberate, but still...).

It's bad enough that fugitive Flint Marko was able to sneak into a nuclear testing site--although I suppose that if teenager Rick Jones was able to, Marko could. But it was later revealed that this occurred near Savannah, Georgia. So, they're actually detonating actual nuclear bombs near cities of 100,000+ people.

Those panels are from Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #3 & #4. So in the world of Spider-Man, scientists were a little bit lax in protecting the public, is all I'm saying.

Then again, that was positively the theme of the first few years of Spider-Man. People like to comment on the preponderance of "animal" villains in Spider-Man's Rogues Gallery, but honestly, it wasn't so much animals as "science gone mad."

**Spider-Man himself is born of a ridiculously unsafe science demonstration (AF #15)
**Adrian Toomes invents as flying harness (that also makes him stronger, yada yada). Instead of patenting it and being a gazillionire, he commits robberies and kills people. (ASM #2)
**A radiation accident not only gave Otto Octavious his powers, but drove him criminally insane (ASM #3)
**Atomic testing turned Flint Marko into an incredibly powerful being (ASM #4)
**Unsanctioned and unethical testing of his formula turned Curt Connors into the Lizard, and almost led to the downfall of the human race. (ASM #6)
**An "electronic brain"/robot goes berserk, terrorizing a high school (ASM #8)
**The Green Goblin was later revealed to have been the result of yet another bit of ill-advised tampering with God's domain (ASM #14)
**With the help of J. Jonah Jameson, corrupt scientisits try to surgically create super-powered villains (Scorpion, ASM #20), create killer robots (Spider-Slayer, ASM #25), and more experiments create tragic super-crooks (Molten Man, ASM #28)
**Greedy scientists refuse to help idiot Norton Fester investigate a meteor he found, so his unsafe experiments create The Looter (ASM #36)
**More scientists with killer robots (ASM #37)

I could have stretched to fit Electro and Mysterio in there, if I tried hard enough.

If you look at the Lee/Ditko run, perhaps more than any other Marvel title, Amazing Spider-Man hammered home the pint that scientists were dummies who couldn't control their creations, could be bought, and endangered society. It wasn't completely anti-science--there were good scientists, and Peter often used his science knowledge to resolve the crises. But the first few years of Amazing Spider-Man read like a primer on how dangerous science was.

Perhaps, then, the true lesson was: With great science, must come great responsibility...

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

Yes, I can see Flint Marko being 'caught unawares' by an atomic bomb going off at an atomic bomb testing centre.