After ending the long run of Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel relaunches the character in a different way.
Doc Ock haAnd so dawns the new era of Spider-Man!
After ending the long run of Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel relaunches the character in a different way.
Doc Ock has swapped his dying body for that of Spider-Man. But what Ock didn't count on was Peter fighting back and part of his consciousness taking up residence inside. This includes all of Peter's memories and morals.
So, the new Spider-Man has Ock's intelligence with Spider-Man's moral center and code of conduct. It's The Odd Couple inside of one body!
And surprisingly enough, it works for this collected set of comics. Oh sure, this isn't the Spider-Man I grew up with and it's probably only a matter of time until we hit the reset button on all of this. But, for now, it's kind of amusing and there are some interesting avenues opened up.
And yet even in all of that Dan Slott is clearly sewing the seeds for someone close to Spidey to put two and two together about what's really going on sooner or later. ...more
So I've apparently missed a lot of issues leading up to the ones collected here in Dying Wish. But from what I can gather, in an arc before this one,So I've apparently missed a lot of issues leading up to the ones collected here in Dying Wish. But from what I can gather, in an arc before this one, Doc Ock and Spidey had yet another epic battle with Spidey narrowly defeating Ock.
Now, Ock is dying and his last wish is to somehow switch bodies with Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. Using some kind of mind-swapping technology (it's a comic book, so you'll just have to go with it), Ock does just that. Trapped in Ock's dying body, Peter must escape prison and try to find a way to reverse things before time runs out.
Reading this collected set of issues from The Amazing Spider-Man, I found myself wondering how the experience would be different if I'd read the story month to month instead of all in one sitting. I can't really say, but these are the things that cross my mind while reading collected comic book runs these days. It's probably less of an issue these days when there seems to be less recapping taking place within the action of the comic itself. As opposed to the old days when the first couple of pages of a comic were designed to bring new and old readers up to speed on what was happening in the life of our hero.
I also have to wonder while reading this just how long these new changes to Spider-Man will last. The Marvel universe has effectively eliminated Peter Parker in not only the main line but also the Ultimate line. Or at least Peter Parker as we knew him, since (SPOILER ALERT!) Doc Ock gets away with his plan to eliminate Parker, but there's a twist. Turns out Peter is still in there and Ock has not only his memories but also Peter's.
I fully expect that at some point in the narrative, the Peter half will fight for and assume control of his body again. The cynical part of me says that will probably happen sometime around when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters. ...more
The problem with calling a collection "The Very Best of" something is that the definition of "best" can be so subjective. What I think is best may notThe problem with calling a collection "The Very Best of" something is that the definition of "best" can be so subjective. What I think is best may not necessarily mesh with what others think or believe.
So I admit I approached this collection of stories featuring my favorite super-hero with a bit of reluctance.
And having read the seven stories assembled here, I can say there are some fine examples of Spider-Man stories. But they're not really what I would classify as the best (or even the most memorable) stories featuring my favorite wall-crawler.
Part of it is that the book starts out with "Amazing Fantasy 15" and the origin of Spider-Man. I'll accept this is a classic and probably should lead off any collection that wants to be a "best of" for Spider-Man. It's once we get into the later issues that just about every single story in this collection refers back to "Amazing Fantasy 15."
I understand that Stan Lee had the attitude that every comic book should be treated as if it was someone's first comic book and I don't mind a bit of flashback or summing up the relevant back story points. But when a collection skips over pivotal stories like Spidey being unmasked by the Green Goblin and the revelation of who is behind the Green Goblin mask in favor of a story bringing back Crusher Hogan, I have to question whether the "best of" status and the editorial process for selected these stories. And don't get me started on the fact that Doc Ock is only referred to in one of the stories in this collection but never seen on the printed page. Instead, we get a Venom story, which maybe at the time it was published was considered a "best of" but I don't see it. Especially compared to various times in the Lee/Ditko era that Spidey took on Doc Ock.
I understand wanting to have a collection give us a taste of various eras, but this collection isn't necessarily a "best of" Spider-Man.
Thankfully, Marvel has since begun publishing collections of the full run of various Spider-Man comics, allowing readers to relive our own favorite eras and to discover again the strengths and weaknesses of them. ...more
The umpteenth and first re-telling of Spider-Man's origin, with a few tweaks and updates along the way.
This one is truer to the original story told byThe umpteenth and first re-telling of Spider-Man's origin, with a few tweaks and updates along the way.
This one is truer to the original story told by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko all those years ago and I give it a lot of credit for that. Reading it, I found myself wishing they'd adapted this into last year's Amazing Spider-Man instead of what we got.
I can see how comic book storytelling has changed and the younger audience this book is targeted at may not necessarily like or want to read the original Lee/Ditko continuity right out of the gate. As a retelling of Spidey getting his powers and learning that with great power comes great responsibility Season One works fairly well. And it's nice to see that the first supervillain Spidey faces is the Vulture -- again something that calls back to the early days.
The tweak of J. Jonah Jameson hiring a young reporter to start off the anti-Spidey stories is nicely done but a bit too quickly wrapped up. I feel like there was more potential to this that could be explored in future installments, assuming Marvel decides to renew the series for a second season. ...more
Dropping by the local comic shop these days, it's easy to criticize the work currently being done as "not quite up to par with the good old days whenDropping by the local comic shop these days, it's easy to criticize the work currently being done as "not quite up to par with the good old days when I was reading."
That is, of course, until you get hold of a run of comics from your "good old days" and you realize that those comics weren't exactly setting the world on fire either.
That's pretty much the case with this collection of eight issues from the early '80's run of The Amazing Spider-Man. I had a few scattered issues from the various Spider-Man titles up to this point, but somehow it was these issues that I was able to collect and read in consecutive order. Looking back at the covers alone, I'm shocked my family a)purchased and b)let me read the issues collected here.
Many may complain the comics today are unduly violent or filled with graphic imagery. But I defy you to find a current cover that features Spider-Man taking on a giantnormous man-turned spider whose mouth is dripping with venom and the title of "Death Knell" in big bold letters across the cover.
Putting aside my fond memories of this run of comics and the fact that I read them umpteen times in my pre-teen and early teenage years (often imaging how the stories might be transformed into an animated version on my television screen), I've got to say that this run of stories isn't necessarily what you'd refer to as a classic run (that was yet to come in the next run of issues which introduced the Hobgoblin) but I'll still admit I enjoyed visiting them again all these years later. The main thread tying these issues together is the corrupt Brand corporation. The company is up to no good and the Daily Bugle is determined to bring their dark deeds and experiments to the light of day.
Of course, this brings in a bunch of what could be considered second or even third tier villains to do battle with Spidey. The first two-part arc features the Cobra and Mr. Hyde, who have the bad fortune of being tied to a Brand informant named Nose Norton. Spidey gets caught in the middle of trying to rescue Nose and keeping various Daily Bugle employees out of the line of fire. Meanwhile, Mr. Hyde has an axe to grind with the Cobra and Spidey is squarely in the way.
The storyline is probably most memorable for the cliffhanger to issue 231 with Hyde standing over Spidey, threatening him if he doesn't hand over the Cobra immediately. Back then I didn't know where and if I'd be able to find the next installment, but I did know I was determined to find it somehow.
The next arc features the title villain of this collection, the Tarantula. A third-tier villain who kicked off the run of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, the Tarantula is a South American mercenary for hire with spikes in his gloves and boots. It's when the Brand corporation offers him the chance to have powers equal to or greater than Spidey's that things begin to go a bit awry -- resulting in the Tarantula transforming into a big honkin' spider (as depicted on the cover above). If you were a long time Spider-Man fan, there was some precedent for this back when Spidey was battling Morbius and grew extra arms. But I don't ever recall our hero ever becoming a big honkin' spider (though to be fair this does happen in the 90's cartoon retelling..that may owe something to this storyline.) Add in fellow axe-to-grind-with-Brande villain the Wilo-the-Wisp and you've got three issues of mayhem, battles and changing allegiances. It's not great comic book writing, but damn if it didn't have my younger (and older) self turning the pages and eagerly looking for the next installment in the series.
It even ends on a rather dark note with the Tarantula committing suicide by cop rather than facing being a giant spider with a thirst for flesh for the rest of his life.
The next two installments in the collection aren't really anything to write home about and after the epic battles and chaos of the first several installments here, they seem a bit disappointing. One features Spidey battling a guy who wears metallic stilts (he wants to make a name for himself by killing Spidey) and the other is an annual with the origin of Ms. Marvel.
I'd re-read each of these issues a couple of years ago in an Essential Amazing Spider-Man collection. But that collection lacked something this one does -- namely being in color. The essential collections will give you a taste of the story but the arcs really come to life when they feature the full color as they were originally intended to be read. Drooling monsters aside, there are just some moments and panels that are far more striking and memorable when rendered in color. ...more
Just as it's odd to see movies I originally saw in theaters cropping up on AMC and Turner Classic Movies, it's equally strange to find large collectedJust as it's odd to see movies I originally saw in theaters cropping up on AMC and Turner Classic Movies, it's equally strange to find large collected editions of comic books I read and collected as a kid turning up on the shelves of my library or book store.
Case in point--"Web of Spider-Man," a comic that I not only purchased issue number one many, many moons ago but one I had to scour the shelves of my local store to find.
The issue is a pretty pivotal one in recent Spidey-lore, featuring the return of the black costume and Spidey's eventual defeat of it using the sound waves from the bell tower. What most of the adaptations since that time omit is a rather pedestrian subplot and battle with the Vulturions, a group of criminals who have stolen the Vulture's flying tech and are now terrorizing New York City. While the black costume disappears after issue one (at least the alien symbiote version does), the Vulterions hang around for an issue or two. This collection of the first eighteen issues of the comic plus one cross-over issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" and two extended annuals also features such classic Spidey adversaries as Doc Ock, the Vulture and the Kingpin as well as a few newly invented friends and foes, many of whom are largely forgettable once you've jumped to the next issue.
Taking the chance to re-read this early run of "Web" reminds me that sometimes we shouldn't revisit the things we loved in our younger days. They may not hold up to the memories we have of them. That's the case with "Web of Spider-Man." Part of the blame could be a revolving door at writer and artist, leading to an inconsistent feel to this twenty or so issue run. And part of it could be that it was at a time when there was a glut of Spider-Man comics on the market and creatively Marvel didn't have the juice to sustain them all.
That doesn't mean there aren't a few gems in here. As I said before the first issue is fairly pivotal and the last issue collected here gives us some hints of things to come. The best stories are one-offs written by all-around great writer Peter David, one of which involves the Hulk and Spidey's subconscious. However, there were a lot of stories I found myself skimming through as this "essential" collection moved along. This is especially the case in the two "Secret Wars 2" stories included here about the Beyonder turning a building to gold and Spidey having to rescue those inside. This reminded me of why I began to weary of comics at this point in my reading and collecting career--too many tie-ins that weren't creatively justified and seemed more like a cash grab than something being done for story telling reasons.
This collection left me yearning to revisit some of the early days of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko when the stories were all relatively self-contained. I may have to dust off those collections and give them a try. ...more