It’s time to jump into the next big Spider Man adventure! The Spider Man comics were consistently good back in the day and this volume is no exception. The funny thing is that I read volume 2 a very long time ago. In fact, that was one of the first big classic volumes of Spider Man that I got to read. It’s interesting to see how the plot continues into that one as a lot of the plotlines really start here. We also get some guest stars, which is always a blast.
The first issue revolved around an elaborate dream world that actually turned out to be an elaborate video game by the Wizard. Spider Man showed them that he wasn’t afraid to fight in cyber space and it was a decent comic. Essentially filler, but a solid stand alone issue. A fun issue was another one that wasn’t too important to the Spider Man series, but saw Thor arrive to fight some powerful elemental villains. Spider Man decided to lend a helping hand although these villains weren’t the kind of foes that you could simply whack away. Thor’s powers weren’t working very well due to things that were happening in his own comics and Spider Man had to actually leave him for a bit due to some other troubles. It all worked out in the end though. I’m always up for a good guest star and it doesn’t get much better than Thor right?
Another guest star issue involved Iceman. This issue had a lot of plots going on involving a villain duo who popped out of nowhere. All you need to know is that one of them is cursed to always be burning and the other villain essentially has control over him. The burning fellow wants to finally be free so he fights Spider Man and Iceman. Partially in the hopes that they will take him down and paritally because his boss wants him to do this. He does want to destroy the boss, but it’ll be tricky for him. Spiderman and Iceman must figure out a way to deal with the burning foe while also taking down the boss since he’s certainly a big menace to society. It was another fun team up to see. We can’t forget about Spider Man’s team up with Marrow. She finds out that something is attacking the Morlocks. The X-Men don’t want to go help because it could be dangerous and they certainly aren’t the Justice League. Marrow decides to go on her own and Spider Man jumps into the fray. Spidey doesn’t have much of a stake in the Morlocks business, but Marrow only recently became a “hero” so she still doesn’t mind destroying humans at times. That’s why Spider Man’s here, to keep her from doing anything like that. Marrow’s certainly not a great supporting character so this issue isn’t nearly as good as the other team ups, but it’s not bad.
All right, let’s get into the main plot now. Remember Agent Ward from the SHIELD show and how he brother was a Senator? Well, Senator Ward is one of the big villains here. He wants the world to be against Spider Man and consistently frames the hero after using him to get some quick popularity. Ward wants to burn as many bridges as possible and he quickly becomes enemy number 1 for just about everyone. While, it’s all part of the plan for Ward things do backfire a bit. Through plot hax and such, Ward basically gets away scot free the entire time, but realistically this plan should not have worked. His end goal still seems to be a mystery and I’m sure that he will be back for more action in volume 2. (Which I read, but it’s been a while so I forgot what he did there..if anything)
Kingpin certainly takes this personally and hires Bullseye to take Ward down. The thing is…Bullseye’s no Spider Man. He may be a problem for a hero of Daredevil’s calibur, but Spider Man could win the round effortlessly. No matter how tough Bullseye’s looked in the past, he is completely outclassed in this fight. Kingpin’s mission to take over his old stomping grounds is slow goings, but I have a feeling that he will get his way in the end. Kingpin was and still is the greatest crime boss in Marvel in terms of results. That’s why the others always fear him in the end.
Spider Man has to worry about keeping the thugs off his streets, but that’s not all. A crazed Spider Woman has arrived onto the scene and randomly wants to destroy Peter Parker. She can sense his presence no matter where he is, which makes things very dangerous. She is able to fight with Black Cat and Spider Man at once. As she was able to take out all of the previous Spider Women with ease, Spider Man will really have to stop pulling his punches if he wants to win this. Luckily, due to being the chosen one, his DNA is able to counter her super power of paralysis/fainting so he can stay up to put a good fight on. He also has to worry about civilians though.
For most of this volume, Peter decided to hang up the Spider Man mantle. It was making a lot of enemies and he still needs to clear his name for the latest frame ups. As far as Mary Jane is concerned, he should never put it on again. Peter actually gives this some thought, but his conscience comes a knockin and the last straw is when a new Spider Man appears. It’s actually a girl who has donned the costume to keep the legacy alive, but she is thoroughly defeated by another foe so Spider Man saves her life and decides to quickly jump back into action. He can’t let his fans down and everytime he doesn’t go into action, someone gets hurt. Unfortunately, Peter decides to keep on fooling Mary Jane with the idea that he is no longer Spider Man.
He doesn’t want them to have to break up yet again, but lying to her is only going to make things worse since the lies will grow bigger and bigger as he has to keep on making more stories. Mary Jane will also definitely find out at some point since the time will come when a villain shows up and Peter has to make a hasty exit. Mary Jane certainly won’t buy any of his excuses at that point. Even when a friend of theirs is in danger, Mary Jane insists that Spider Man should not help out, which is definitely going too far. Ward’s involved and it leads to a deadly battle atop a roof. If Spiderman had not been there, it would have been dicey.
Meanwhile, Mary Jane is busy with her own subplot. A mysterious figure continues to call and harrass her via telephone. This is the only plot that really makes no sense. Sure, she doesn’t want Peter to don the costume again, but why not tell him? Surely having a super hero with the proportionate strength of a super spider would come in handy for this right? In the second volume we find out who the voice is and let’s just say that Mary Jane wouldn’t stand a chance against this guy without Peter. Mary Jane keeps this a secret for the whole volume and it definitely gets old fast. Again, there’s really no need to keep this from him. At least both of them are keeping secrets from each other though so that evens things up a bit.
As expected, the art is great here. It’s the bold 90’s-early 2000’s style that really leaps off the page. The fight scenes are all a blast and the large art gives the fights room for the special effects of the super attacks. All of the character models are accurate and it’s always nostalgic to see the art here. It simply isn’t made like this anymore and that’s just how it goes. Art is always changing and it’s fun to see what the big companies come up with each decade.
The volume is fairly long so there are quite a lot of comics to flip through here. You’ll probably still finish it quickly since the volume is such a page turner though. It’s the kind of collection that you just don’t want to put down so you can easily just keep on going and going through each issue. That’s always been one of the strengths of the Spider Man series ever since the early issues when it first began. There are so many plot lines and likable characters that you’ll never be bored. Peter Parker’s a great lead and the characters around him all have good subplots. (Even if they don’t always make sense) The comics are never lacking in action even if the plot is the main draw. It’s really hard to find a more complete comic series.
Overall, This is a vintage Spider Man collection with stories that certainly hold up quite well in the modern day. It’s easy to see why so many people became Spider Man fans and why he became such a household name. The quality of the issues were certainly very high. It’s a shame that some of the modern issues haven’t been that good, but as this is Spider Man, he can always make a comeback. If only they would portray him as maturely as he was here. If anything, he seems younger in the new comics even though he actually owns his own business. It’s probably just due to the art though. (And the personality of course) It’s too bad that he’s lying to Mary Jane and that Mary Jane keeps on making the worst decisions possible, but things will start to get resolved in the next two volumes. I never read volume 3, but that one definitely looks like the most intense of the three. Whether you’re a big fan of Spider Man or not, you should definitely check this title out. Certainly one of Marvel’s better trades.