The Amazing Spider Man is considered by many to be one of the greatest comic book series to ever hit the shelves. I have always thought that it was pretty good as well. The sheer size of the series as well as the large continuity contained within is one of the reasons why it was so great. This collection deals with some of the later issues and it’s still as good as you may have expected. I can safely say that this was the best comic collection that I have read in a while.
One of the reasons why it is so good is the plot. The whole Cosmic Spider Man arc is pretty great. I was on the edge of my seat for each issue which is why I read the whole saga in one shot as well as a few of the after comics. Each issue had a great cliffhanger and all of the subplots were interesting as well. The Acts of Vengeance is a pretty great supervillain group and it makes me wonder how they fared in the other comic books at the time. We’ve got an angered Black Cat out to wreck Spider Man’s life and an obsessed stalker who is messing with Mary Jane. These are two of the subplots that are in the collection and they have yet to be resolved. Another interesting plot is the one with Puma and Jameson. Puma took over the newspaper to help Spiderman’s reputation, but the hero doesn’t want that since it’s really affecting some of his friends. Meanwhile, Jameson is trying to start his own newspaper to defeat Puma!
The final part of the collection is definitely not as interesting since it’s from the spinoff series. We have an adventure with Ant Man and a few others about Spider Man while he’s still shrunk down to size. It definitely doesn’t grab your attention the same way that the others did. Why would I want to see a few comics where Spider Man has to deal with being small? I can’t even say that there is a lot of potential to be found there. Aside from those two big arcs, there are also a few stand alone adventures. Spiderman has a two part team up with the Punisher and he has a two issue battle against Venom as well. Let’s take a look at some of the characters involved in this collection.
Spiderman (Spelling his name like this is so much better) is the main lead of course and he looks pretty good. This isn’t the modern Spiderman that you see in the new comics. This is from his classic days where he was a tough fighter. He isn’t used for comic relief all of the time and Spiderman is actually taken seriously. As Peter Parker he can definitely be a little too interested in the romance segment though. At least he’s only interested in Mary Jane compared to how he goes after everyone in the newer comics.
The important thing to remember is that Spiderman’s a pretty top tier opponent here. His cosmic abilities allow him to punch guys like the Hulk into space. That’s some pretty serious power at his beck and call. It’s part of why I liked the saga. Spiderman usually has to rely on his spider sense and wits to win fights, but now he can just go for some good ole strength tactics. Watching Spiderman crush everyone in his path is a nice change of pace and he’s an endearing main character. He just tends to overthink everything.
Mary Jane has gotten used to the fact that Peter is not usually around because of his heroic duties. She does a good job of just going with the flow and her acting career is back on track. There is one comic where she’s very out of character. She’s a little too dramatic and panicky after Spiderman is shrunk. Surely that is not such a shock where she should be talking about heart attacks and such. Naturally, this was in the spinoff so it’s to be expected. Overall, Mary Jane is a pretty decent main heroine. It would be good if she could fight a little more though since several threats are targeted at her. Spiderman better stay close since everything seems to be heading towards a climax.
Venom’s role isn’t very large, but he gets his own two part story. He breaks out of jail rather easily and resumes his attack on Spiderman. Knowing Peter’s secret identity is definitely a big advantage for Venom. Luckily for Peter, Venom has a strict set of morals that he abides by. One of them is the fact that he refuses to harm any innocents. So, Mary Jane and Aunt May are safe from him. He really just wants to destroy Spiderman. His big battle gets interrupted unfortunately, but he easily crushed Spiderman in their first encounter. His return was brief, but it was good to see him return.
Dr Doom is actually one of the main villains of the Cosmic Spiderman arc. He’s the one who goads on a lot of the other villains and he makes a lot of preparations behind the scenes. He’s the only one of the big villains who has his own plans at the ready and he’s pretty rebellious. It’s one of the reasons why Dr Doom is one of the more intense villains. His plot likely resumes in the Fantastic Four series, but it was good to see him match wits with Spiderman.
Magneto’s battle against Spiderman is pretty fun. I definitely did not expect the Master of Magnetism to challenge Spiderman. Magneto is always confident and that’s one of the reasons why he is a good villain. He decides to just relax at the park until Spiderman appears. He’s also a more sympathetic villain than the others since he always wants to help the mutants. Recruiting Spiderman to the cause definitely would have tipped the scales a lot. He was a fun guest star to have.
Graviton gets a minor role in this collection, but it’s a pretty good one. He arrives just before the Cosmic Spiderman arc and he also gets to appear during it. He crushes Spiderman during their first battle, which is very accurate. He doesn’t do quite so well against Cosmic Spiderman, but who could really hope to stop such a powerful threat? It’s just impressive that he was able to go up against him at all. Graviton even admits that Spiderman’s power surpassed that of Galactus’ at that point. Graviton is definitely a cool villain and his design is pretty solid as well. It was good to see him make an appearance!
Paste Pot Pete is not a very notable villain, but he was the final guy to fight Spiderman before the hero’s big transformation. He humiliated him in front of a large crowd and even Spiderman was surprised at how easily he was taken out. This is Paste Pot Pete after all! It’s pretty inexcusable that Spiderman would lose to him at all. It never should have happened, but I guess even heroes have their off days. Spiderman got to return the favor after his big power up. Paste Pot Pete also overrates himself as he actually thought that he could defeat Sandman!
Flash Thompson’s character arc continues in this collection. He really wants to be a better person now and to use his strength for good. He has turned his attention to boxing and he seems to be decently good. It’s hard to tell whether he really is very good or if his friends are just trying to cheer him up. Unfortunately, he has fallen into the trap of romance and that is hurting his character. It’s definitely good that he’s not a bully anymore and Flash has definitely come a long way. His character development has survived to this day as he’s a full fledged hero in the modern comics. It’s good to see the beginning of his journey and hopefully he can realize that Black Cat is just using him.
Black Cat barely appears in this collection, but her plot is just getting started. Evidently, she wants revenge on Spider Man for some reason and she wants to get back at him by messing with Mary Jane and Flash Thompson. Unfortunately, it’s quite easy for her to do this thanks to her super strength and the fact that Flash is oblivious to her true identity. Naturally, I can’t say that I cared for her in this comic. I can’t really think of a time where I actually did like Black Cat anyway! She’s definitely not one of the better Spiderman villains/sometimes allies.
Aunt May is always around for support and that doesn’t change here. She looks after Nathan for most of the collection and she has to stay strong for Peter. She does get a bonus story where she helps the Punisher stop a bunch of terrorists. That was definitely impressive for her, but her narration could have been a little better. She’s still a good character though and Aunt May’s personality is pretty consistent through the years.
Antman only appears for a quick issue and it isn’t very flattering. Well, he appeared in a mini comic, but he looked even worse there. He ignored the call of the ants and he was forced into a battle with a pretty large creature. He’s basically beaten up and they bring him back to his bed. Antman actually figures that the whole thing was a dream until he notices the holes in his clothes. In the main story, he basically just deserts Spiderman when the hero shrinks down to size. You would hope that he would take a little responsibility for that mess. Antman still needs to work on his heroics!
Sandman gets his own mini comic where he is forced to choose between his ex friends and the law. He makes the right choice and it’s good to see how Sandman has turned over a new leaf. Hanging out with the Thing at the ballpark is probably a lot of fun and it’s one of the perks of being a hero. With his abilities, the Sandman can definitely be a powerful force for good. Unfortunately, it will likely take a while for the rest of the world to get on board and some new writers will likely turn him back into a villain soon. It’s the unfortunate, but inevitable fate for most big villains who turn good.
Jameson is pretty good as expected. It’s definitely been rough for him since his newspaper was forcibly taken. He’s handled it pretty well though and he hasn’t used any underhanded methods to try and regain control of it. Far from it! He’s just going to build another newspaper and he even welcomed Peter Parker into the crew. Jameson also invests in a good lawyer to help his friend out of a tough court case. It’ll still be tough, but Jameson’s done his part. He’s definitely one of the better Spiderman characters.
Styx and Stone team up to take on Spiderman in one adventure. Styx is definitely powerful since one touch can destroy the average opponent. Stone is less impressive since he’s basically your average joe. Together, they definitely represent a decent threat to the wallcrawler. I just can’t get over the fact that they’re really generic villains. At least Venom was in the issue so it was still good. It’s a little hard to buy just how well they did though. Venom is usually more careful than how he was portrayed in the issue.
The Punisher’s role is what you would expect from him. He takes out a few more drug dealers and Spiderman crosses paths with him for the biggest mission of them all. Finding out who is supplying all of the drugs was tricky, but now they have their source. At the very least, Punisher only turns his guns towards those who are evil. He does his best not to seriously injure any of the army guards or kids that he comes into contact with. You definitely can’t call him a hero as he strolls in and destroys everyone, but at least he has his morals. He’s always prepared as well and having a bullet proof vest is always a good thing.
This collection took place during the phase where the Hulk only came out at night and Bruce had control during the day. Bruce Banner looks really bad in this comic though since he has no clue on what is going on. The Hulk is only interested in money and he’s hired to take Spiderman down for the count. Little did he know that Spiderman was currently out of his league thanks to his cosmic abilities. I definitely didn’t like the Hulk in this appearance and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would be very interested in money anyway. I guess I overestimated him.
Aside from the main comics, we also got a few backup stories. The Sandman’s story was pretty good and I liked the Godzilla one, but the others were pretty lack luster. The one where a baby became Captain Universe was so interesting because of the Godzilla references. One of the characters mentions the infamous Godzilla meets The Brady Bunch TV special and the baby creates homages of King Kong and Godzilla to deal with the enemy monsters. It’s always good to see Godzilla get involved! The Sandman’s comic also had some decent action and it showed how much he has changed since the old days. He definitely made the right call. The other stories were pretty lackluster though. A superhero who rides a flying skateboard? I don’t think that this will hook the readers…
The art is pretty good as expected. There were a few issues from a spinoff series that didn’t look as good. Web of Spider Man I believe. The art really took a dip in those and everyone looked very out of proportion. The mini stories at the end of those also suffered from these issues, but they’re just mini stories. The main series continues to look pretty solid and that’s what counts.
As you can see, the collection had a bunch of major players involved. Who would have thought that guys like Magneto, Dr Doom, and the Red Skull would be in a Spiderman collection? It was definitely cool to see them test their might against Spiderman’s. (Although Magneto is the only one who directly confronted him) This Spiderman collection was very compelling and it really pushes all of the right buttons. I now have a greater understanding of why Spiderman became such a legend. His comics are a step ahead of most other solo series.
The one negative in this comic would probably be the romance. It has quite a lot of it between Peter Parker and Mary Jane. The rest of the characters are pretty safe, but those two get too many scenes together. It’s fine when they’re hosting party and hanging out with their friends, but we don’t really need the romance. In a Spiderman comic, you really just want to see the battles and all of the interesting storylines. Romance is unnecessary. I’m wondering if Mary Jane’s acting career is going to affect their relationship soon. This could get dicey and it’s not a plot point that I’d really be interested in reading.
Overall, This was a great comic collection! It was close to getting a 9 after the Cosmic saga, but it had to get bumped down a little from the Antman saga. It’s still a riveting read and I would recommend it to any comic book fan. You’re definitely missing out if you have not checked out this collection. This is the portrayal of Spiderman that you need to see to prove to yourself that he actually was a pretty great character. He’s also a lot more powerful than the new writers give him credit for. Either way, who can pass up on a collection where Magneto gets to fight Spiderman!? There’s also the fact that Venom makes his big return here. With over 500 pages of comics to read, you definitely get your money’s worth here. This collection is definitely full of victory!