Episode 133: Superhero Fraud (Amazing Spider-Man #13) -- June 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the latest Spider-Man impersonator, “Mysterio”. It turns out Mysterio is NOT a hero, and has been impersonating Spider-Man’s wall-climbing and web-shooting abilities. He was only found out when Spider-Man recorded Mysterio’s confession. Is a recording like that legal? Just as it appears Mysterio was a fraud, couldn’t a tape-recorded confession also be fraudulent? Who can we trust?
Behind the Issue:
In this issue once again Spider-man has been impersonated for committing crimes. It is a trope that Lee goes back to again and again - and for good reason. The model for this title is making sure Spider-man has a “bad time” - things don’t go his way and he gets blamed for things that were not his fault. Having Spider-man be blamed for crimes he does not commit is a great way to do that. This issue is different and interesting for two reasons:
The Spider-man impersonator actually impersonates Spider-mans abilities - not just his costume (like the pervious impersonators)
Mysterio has his first appearance
Mysterio was the primary antagonist in the film Spider-man Far From Home. In it he begins as a hero, before he is revealed as a fraud. What is interesting is how similar that is to his first appearance here. Mysterio goes out as the latest hero who shows the world how he can defeat the “Spider-man menace”. Spider-man gets the villain to reveal his secret plans (on tape no less), and in future appearances Mysterio is just a traditional villain. But it is interesting that the first time he appears in film, the writers went back to how he was portrayed in his very first appearance.
In this issue:
Spider-Man is seen robbing a business and escaping into the night. J. Jonah Jameson gleefully announces to the world that he was right all along about Spider-Man, who is now wanted by the police. Peter Parker know it wasn’t him, though, or does he? He actually wonders if he committed the crime in his sleep. In any event, the public has turned on Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Mysterio appears at the Daily Bugle and asks them to publish an invitation to Spider-Man to meet him at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, which they do. Spider-Man meets Mysterio high above the city and they fight, with Mysterio easily defeating Spider-Man and knocking him into the river below. Spider-Man eventually tracks Mysterio down and battles him while he is unprepared. When it appears he has the upper hand, Mysterio gloats to Spider-Man, explaining how all of his “superpowers” are really just illusions which also allowed him to imitate Spider-Man’s abilities to commit crimes. Fortunately for the true webslinger, he caught Mysterio’s confession on tape, and after a fierce battle which Spider-Man wins, he brings Mysterio to justice by turning him over to the police, along with his tape-recorded confession.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are wondering if they should stop trusting the Daily Bugle.
This episode takes place:
After Spider-Man has defeated Mysterio and been exonerated.