Peter is in a bad mood because he has lost his costume and had a silly row with Betty Brant: but that doesn’t really explain what sets him off. Flash mildly taunts him for running away from the fight in issue #25, and Peter over-reacts massively.
--Look in the mirror and find out!
The fight isn’t resolved. Liz tries to stop it, saying that Peter is just as bad as Flash and that she never wants to see either of them again; and the Principal (who we haven’t seen since issue #3) demands to see Peter in his office. (And don’t we all recognize the self-righteous schadenfreude of the kid who brings the message?) Peter — now very ashamed of himself for mis-using his spider-powers — tells Mr Davis that the fracas was entirely his fault. But Flash (who tells the others that he is going after Liz) goes straight to Mr Davis and admits that he started it. The whole thing is dried and dusted in ten panels.
And this is very last time we will see Peter, Flash Liz and their cohort in the schoolyard together. Only when we realize that does the scene begin to make any kind of sense.
I suppose this is what Flash told the Principal. It may have looked to you as if Parker attacked us for no reason; but in fact, I’ve been trying to get him to fight with me for days. What looked to you like a smaller boy picking on a group of six larger boys was actually an agreed fight between two consenting adults. The Principal treats this admission as an occasion to put his hand on Flash’s shoulder, call him “my boy” and have a little chat. Perhaps he also believes in Flash's honor-code. This is the kind of school which positively encourages supervised fights as a way of settling differences between young men, after all. Or maybe he is just one of those grown-ups who is so moved when someone admits an otherwise undetectable wrongdoing that all his anger is assuaged? Honesty is the best policy, I can tell by your face you’ve been punished enough.
The wedding of Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Girl was gatecrashed by every single character in the Marvel Universe, so it is greatly to Lee and Ditko's credit that nothing whatsoever happens at Peter Parker's graduation. No villains; no last minute angst; no anything. Ditko has a great time drawing the crowd scenes; J. Jonah Jameson makes a predictably awful speech, and Lee perfectly captures the after-show banter. Aunt May’s first meeting with J.J.J. is particularly charming.
--My, you’re such an important man!
--Ah yes! Indeed I am!
Principal Davis announces that Peter Parker has won a scholarship to Empire State University and that Flash Thompson has won an athletic scholarship to the same institution. (Gosh! How ironic!) There was a reference to Flash playing football for the school back in issue #18, but he’s never particularly been represented as a top athlete before. The only hint we have had that Peter Parker is making college applications is a three frame cameo in, of all places, Fantastic Four #35 where he bumps into the Human Torch at State University (a different institution) and says that if Johnny is planning to study there he will apply somewhere else. It is nice to know he takes his academic career so seriously .
Not now. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
And perhaps I am.
We are dealing with a soap opera, so an ending is never quite an ending. Liz pops again in issue 30, trying to avoid Flash. (She seems to be working in a department store.) Peter actually starts college in #31, and Liz is never seen again. Well: not for a hundred issues.
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Amazing Spider-Man was written and drawn by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and is copyright Marvel Comics. All quotes and illustrations are use for the purpose of criticism under the principle of fair dealing and fair use, and remain the property of the copywriter holder.
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