This collection deals with one of the biggest Spiderman arcs of all time. Not only was it emotionally crushing for Peter Parker, but we also got to see him unleash his full power. There aren’t many people who can even come close to stopping him when he’s unleashed. I’m sure that you may have read some of these comics in the past, but have you ever read both deaths back to back!? Time to see how the collection handles this!
The first three comics deal with Doctor Octopus as he terrorizes the city. He was thought to have perished in a giant airplane explosion that really should have wiped him out. It’s not explained how he lived through it, but I guess we’ll assume that he jumped out of the plane and all of the cameras managed to miss him. He decides that Spiderman will have to be defeated once and for all! Of course, Captain Stacy isn’t going to let that happen if he can help it! The comics are known to be pretty tragic and things can get a little dicey. That being said, it was good to see Spiderman get some action.
The next two comics involved a Corrupt Businessman who wanted more powerful and joined the election for Senator. (Or Mayor…I forgot) He vows to destroy Spiderman and he’s very racist. He basically has all of the makings of a one shot villain and he shouldn’t be a match for Spiderman. That being said…maybe he can take down Peter Parker! Iceman also guest stars for this two parter when he’s forced to confront Spiderman after the web slinger seemingly kidnaps Gwen Stacy.
The final two comics are easily some of the most iconic Spiderman comics in history. The Green Goblin has regained his memories and he wants to make Spiderman pay by kidnapping Gwen Stacy. Spiderman must race against the clock to save her, but he doesn’t realize the true danger and he’s basically taking his time as he goes up against the villain. It doesn’t help that Spiderman is currently sick and very weakened. Can he really defeat the goblin and save Gwen Stacy?
Well, the title of the collection says it all. I can try to bluff my way through the review, but it’s easier to just say Spoilers approaching as a formality before breaking the news. Captain Stacy and Gwen Stacy both die in these comics. It’s why the title is one of those spoiler crushers that makes new readers wince. It does take away a little bit of the tension since you know that they’re going to die. It should have been “Legacy of the Stacys” since it still hints at death, but isn’t as obvious. That being said, we would not have gotten such a collection if their deaths were not so famous. We’re expected to know this already and I’m sure that well over 80% of Marvel fans are already aware of what transpired.
Spiderman is the main lead of the collection and I sincerely hope that you could have guessed that from the title. This was during his braver years and he looks pretty solid for the most part. His plan to prove that he was not Peter Parker to Gwen was Terrible, but everyone makes mistakes at some point. He looks pretty good for most of the comic, but I did not agree with his fight against Doctor Octopus. I’ll go more into it during the review, but that just didn’t make sense to me. I think it’s safe to say that Doctor Octopus was a little overpowered. I also don’t understand why Parker acts so frail and weak at school, but feels that it’s all right to show off his strength while outside. He’s still in Parker form after all. It’s nice to see him talk tough to everyone that gets in his way, but that may be counter productive. I always felt that Spiderman shouldn’t worry so much about his secret identity. How could anyone figure it out anyway!? (heh)
Captain Stacy is another one of the big characters of the collection and he’s a lot smarter than you may suspect at first glance. For one thing, he was able to figure out Parker’s true identity without too much prep time. Granted that Spiderman made it pretty easy for him at times, but it’s still a good feat since the rest of the world doesn’t really seem to have a clue. His death was tragic, but he was a very good character and also a likable one. After seeing him in the comics again, I can definitely confirm that the movie wrecked his character. He wasn’t bad in the original trilogy, but in the new film….Wow! This wasn’t the Captain Stacy that I grew up with.
Gwen Stacy meets her demise as well in this collection, but at least she takes it well. She doesn’t get to appear for very long before that, but she’s a likable character as well. The author admitted that he didn’t like her because she was too perfect, but I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I can agree that perfect characters do have the potential to be “boring”, but that’s usually not the case in my experience. She definitely seems to be a lot more agreeable than her older appearances and she also beats her newer ones. She had a good run, but all good (non fighter) characters must die at some point in the comics. It was just her time.
The Green Goblin is one of the big enemies of the Spiderman collection and he was the first villain to really trigger Spiderman’s rage mode. Spiderman uses that mode a lot more often in the future, but this was really the first major occurrence. Unlike Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin seriously has no shot against a raging Spiderman. I don’t even need to mention the fact that Spiderman’s gone up against powerhouses like the Hulk and Thor. I don’t even need you to recall the time that Spiderman punched Superman off a building. Green Goblin is completely out of his league and he probably shouldn’t have started this fight. If Spiderman had not already been sick and at minimal power, the outcome would have been very different. It’s hard to think of Green Goblin as a cool villain given the circumstances and his wonky plan. He’s definitely not likable in this version and it may make the Ultimate Spiderman TV show appearances a little harder to watch.
Doctor Octopus is a skilled villain in his own right, but he was definitely a little too hyped in these comics. I don’t see why Spiderman would have so much trouble with him. He’s just one man with a couple of extra arms! The metallic attachments that he controls mentally shouldn’t pose any problem for Spiderman and his Spider Sense. His agility should be sufficient to keep Doctor Octopus guessing and he has a lifetime of battle experience at the ready. Anyway that you look at it…Doctor Octopus should be doomed. He’s an all right villain, but his plan was very flawed on all levels. Did he really think that he could get away with hijacking a plane with so many important figures on it. After that, his goal was just to destroy Spiderman. I’ve never liked Doctor Octopus and I find him to be one of Spiderman’s worst enemies.
Iceman’s appearance was definitely unexpected, but very cool. This was back during Iceman’s prime and before he lost all of his development. He is having a good time and he knows that going after Spiderman will shatter most of his future plans. That being said, he goes after Spiderman to save Gwen Stacy because he’s a hero. Iceman is one of the few opponents who was capable of giving Spiderman a good fight, but the web slinger isn’t playing around this time. Once he gets serious, it only takes him a few seconds to take Iceman down. Not for the count, but for long enough that Spiderman was able to get away. Iceman is definitely not as powerful as Spiderman, but he’s still skilled enough to take a hit and keep on coming. This was probably the best appearance for Iceman that I’ve seen in ages.
This was the end of an era for Spiderman. With both of the Stacys dead, Spiderman now realized that with great loss came great sorrow. Aunt May was now one of the last people left to protect and Spiderman would definitely do his best to keep her safe. (The Civil War ended that) Mary Jane also started appearing more and they would ultimately become friends. This was back during Parker’s good days and before he turned into the man that he is today. This was back when he had class and honor. Definitely good (and sad) times for the hero.
The Art for the comics is as solid as always. The old Spiderman comics definitely had a high level of quality and it’s something that you don’t see quite as much in nowadays. We still have a lot of great comics, but we also do have some bad ones. The art is a lot easier to make with computers and current tech, so it’s even more inexcusable to have bad artwork. This was definitely one of Marvel’s happier times.
Overall, this is a solid Spiderman collection. It’s pretty small and it’s under 200 pages, but it does bring some of Spiderman’s biggest stories. It’s definitely a little sadder than the usual Spiderman comic, but it’s still chipper for the most part. It’s only when the deaths are present, that the tone quickly shifts. J Jonah Jameson gets a subplot and Robbie helps him to see the error of his ways. The politician nearly tricked him using his anti Spiderman antics to win him over, but trying to knock off Peter Parker was his big mistake. Robbie and Jonah definitely make for an epic pair of characters and they’re both crucial parts of the Spiderman mythology. This was during a solid part of Marvel’s career and it’s a fun collection to read. I recommend it to all Marvel fans and even to fans who already read the comics when they first came out. Those comics came out a long time ago and they deserve a re read at this point. This will help you to remember how good the writing was in those days.