When the magnificent maestros of Marvel Comics were at the top of their game and still trying harder, the only thing they did better than spin scintillating stories was crow about their cornucopia of comics with crazy, colossal claims of cacophonous calamity. Sometimes these awesome assertions were spot-on, but also they were occasionally off the mark. The only way to know for sure, then as now, is to read the riotous comic in question. For example, the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #100 was was said to be: “The greatest of the great! the sensational, senses-shattering 100th anniversary issue! Featuring the most unbelievable ending of all time! Truly a must!” That’s a weight wad of wonderment being promised. Even sage storytellers like writer Stan Lee and artist Gil Kane might have trouble holding up to that hype!
The story start with our weary wall-crawler in a contemplative mood, the sort of melancholy musings one might turn to on the occasion of an especially epochal anniversary (not that Peter Parker is actually privy to the sudden significance of the number on the cover of his monthly mag). His reverie is further informed by the recent reconciliation with gorgeous Gwen Stacy, his longtime lady love. Peter finally decides that it’s time to retire his amazing alter ego, so he makes his way to his makeshift apartment laboratory to set his sterling scientific smarts to the task.
His serum suitably steeped (or so he assumes), Peter pounds back and daunting dosage. As the bounding bubbles around his noggin notably announce, the “senses-shattering” portion of the promise has been presented, at least to our hapless hero.
Bad trip full engaged, Peter descends into devilish dreams. Page after page finds Peter in pugilistic peril against angsty adversaries. He’s in his Spidey suit, chasing cries of help and encountering the most vicious villains that have previously darkened his days. Since these former formidable foes are merely fearsome figments, they have a perfect predisposition for picking at the pesky imperfections in Peter’s put-upon psyche.
Besides the loathsome Lizard, he must grapple with the gruesome Green Goblin, descend into a donnybrook with the dangerous Doctor Octopus and careen through a chaotic clash with the contemptible Kingpin. It really is all the action anyone could take, True Believer! But what of the “most unbelievable ending of all time”?
Having fought his way to freedom, Spider-Man spots the source of the sounds that summoned him. It’s none other that Captain George Stacy, the police chief father of his groovy girlfriend, who met his maker just a few issues earlier (how could you forget the instant classic Amazing Spider-Man #90?).
The suspended skull of Stacy gives Spider-Man the pertinent pep talk needed to snap him from his slumber. That leads to the last page. So how’s the ending? Is it “unbelievable”?
— Captain America #136
— Thor #186
— The Incredible Hulk #138
— The Amazing Spider-Man #91
— Fantastic Four #104
— Thor #183
— Avengers #44
— The Amazing Spider-Man #53
—Captain America #131
—Captain America #132
—Fantastic Four #132