The Amazing Spider Man Spider Hunt Review

Time for another classic Spider Man volume! You can never tire of these adventures and this was during the height of quality for the famous hero. As much as I liked Next Chapter, Mary Jane was pretty out of character and stopped being a likable character. That was reversed here although I believe this may have taken place before the earlier collection. Either way, it deals with the origin of Spider Man’s alternate costumes, which is always neat.

Things aren’t going well for Peter Parker because Norman Osborn has taken over the Daily Bugle. This spells trouble with a capital T. Norman has spread the Anti-Spider Man regime even more intently than J Jonah Jameson to the point where the hardened reporter does not get along with him. Norman has also threatened Jameson so this comes as no surprise. Spider-Man will have to be sure not to go outside all that much, but that’ll be difficult to pull off. When someone’s in danger, you can bet that Spider-Man will be on the case no matter what.

The art is big and bold in the classic style that it always fun to see during these Spider-Man issues. As with the Cosmic Spider-Man trade or the other recent ones that I’ve been reviewing, the art just works really well. It is also a clear signal that this is from the Prime Spider-Man comics where he was depicted just right. It’s hard to ever call something a perfect adaption, but this Peter Parker is about as close as we’ll get. Spider-Man’s not treated as a joke, but is seen as a capable hero just like any other. His sense of justice isn’t skewed or in doubt. Spider-Man just takes on the villains and never crosses any kinds of lines.

One of the main sagas involves the Punisher comic from the cover. Punisher has lost his memories yet again so he’s not sure what he is even doing at this point. He wants answers though and Spider-Man isn’t about to let anyone die from this quest. One thing leads to another and Punisher decides to help Spider-Man out, but it is really a one way road. Whenever Punisher shows up, Spider-Man just ends up tying him up or pushing him to the side. Spider-Man’s not really sure what is happening here, but he certainly doesn’t want to team up with anyone who uses guns so freely. He’s not really given a choice though as bounty hunters start showing up from the woodwork to take Spider-Man down.

Spider-Man can take these guys down no problem if it were all one on one fights, but they start wear him down as the collection continues. Bullseye comes into play and Norman’s son also goes missing. Of course, it could all just be a ruse, that’s not a risk that Peter Parker can take. This collection eventually sees the start of his costumed personas since going outside in his full gear starts to get a little dangerous. It’s a nice compromise since he is still out there saving lives instead of simply putting the costume on the shelf for a little while.

One problem with not reviewing this comic for so long (It’s probably been on the back burner for almost half a year at this point) is that it’s easy to start mixing up the plots a little. The Spider-Man comics have always been iconic for having numerous subplots scattered throughout the issues. When one plot ends, another 3 or more will pop up in its place and then those will interconnect to others along the way. As a result, I can’t say with full confidence whether or not these plots have started or even begun to wrap up in this one. Some that I recall (Probably) involve the Venom calls to Mary Jane, the Kingpin is starting to get back to power as well. I think Black Cat and her luck powers may be around, but that plot may have actually ended already. Well, you get the jist of it. There are dozens of players running around at this point so it’s tough for Spider-Man to even know which villain to focus on. Every time he turns around it seems like someone else is in danger.

One odd issue involved a crazy scientist kidnapping Spider-Man and forcing him into a fake virtual reality world until Spider-Man finally broke free and snapped the machine. For a while there you didn’t know if the whole thing was fake or not so it was a little intriguing although probably one of my least favorite issues. I don’t think we ever even find out how Spider-Man was kidnapped and that’s likely because it is all a little sketchy and hard to believe. One fun issue was seeing Spider-Man don the now famous paper bag over his head to fight a few comic relief villains. It just goes to show that even without a good costume Spider-Man can take down some villains.

Another stand alone story away from the main plot of being framed by Osborn has Spider-Man take on the combined forces of Sand Man and Hydro Man. Both of these villains can be very dangerous on their own so combined they make for a very good opponent. Their team work isn’t the best though so Spider-Man can exploit that. Another random issue has Spider-Man go up against the cosmic villain Blastaar. Spider-Man goes to town on him although it’s a fairly good fight. It’s another match up that I can’t picture going quite as smoothly in the newer comics. Even if it did, the art wouldn’t be quite as full and dynamic as it is here.

Two more stories involve fights against Mr. Hyde and Black Tarantula. Black Tarantula is a surprisingly powerful villain who actually gives Spider-Man a really good fight. I also like the design here and feel like it is much better than any other incarnation that I’ve seen of him. Mr. Hyde’s not quite as interesting and I don’t care for him as a villain. Still a decently fun issue, but I would prefer a different villain. I do hope to see more of the Black Tarantula in future Spider-Man collections though. That guy has a lot of potential.

Overall, This was a fun collection. I always enjoy seeing a comic have many plots at the forefront so you never know which plot the next issue will follow. The framing of Spider-Man was a complete success by Osborn here so Spider-Man is once again being driven into a corner. I suppose it wouldn’t be one of his series without that as it is practically a requirement of a Spidey title by now. I definitely recommend this to all Spider-Man fans out there. This era certainly has a lot of stories to pull from and hopefully they all get adapted into collections like this one someday. I feel like a lot of them are probably lost in the shuffle between collections. We need a “Marvel Masterworks” sort of series for these issues. A series for the titles that aren’t super new, but aren’t extremely old either. The 90’s and early 2000’s lose out a little in that respect. That’s why I’m glad that everything goes into trade so quickly nowadays. 50 years down the road, those will be extremely helpful for new comic readers. This review’s a bit short for a comic of this size, but hopefully I’ve still illustrated why this is a must read. It has good writing, solid art, and likable main characters. All of the issues are interesting as well with even the filler ones still making for good stand alone adventures.

Overall 8/10

Spider Man Next Chapter Volume 1 Review

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.

Overall 8/10

The Amazing Spider Man Identity Crisis Review

I’ve been reading quite a few Spider Man collections so it’ll be nice to check out one from the classic 90’s era of Spider Man. This came during a time where Osborn had set the Wall Crawler up and a huge bounty was placed on his head. This was a pretty fun way to change the status quo and some of the authors had a lot of fun with it. That resulted in a pretty fun batch of comics for this collection!

The stories are taken from The Amazing Spider Man as well as the Sensational Spider Man series so the collection does a lot of jumping around. One issue may end with a cliffhanger, but then it it paused so that we can take a look at the other series. It’s an interesting dynamic and one that is used quite frequently nowadays, but it probably would have worked better if timed a different way. One comic ends with Spider Man fighting two villains and the next one has him in a completely different situation. That was the one time where I found it to be way too obvious a switch. Nevertheless, this exposure to other series was good for the plot since it gave the writers more time to show off Spider Man’s 4 new costumes. Until he could clear Spider Man’s name, Peter Parker would have to assume new titles. Not all of his new forms played the role of the hero so this allowed Spider Man to get intel from various sources. It all ends up paying off although some of the plots are fairly interesting and you’ll be looking forward to seeing the costumes and choosing your favorite.

One of the plots involves a team up with Paste Pot Pete while Spiderman is acting as “Dusk.” The team up goes pretty well and there is even a chance to ice Osborn once and for all, but Spiderman naturally makes the hero call here. His gimmick as Dusk involves Spiderman always sticking to the shadows as he fights. It is pretty fun and this was an entertaining plot. I’m not sure how practical this would be for daytime missions, but I guess Spidey would find a way to make it work. I would rank Dusk as the second best alias.

The Superman guise was certainly my favorite costume of the bunch. In this guise, Spiderman was known as Prodigy. He had to act super naive to make it work and it was fun to watch. He used a suit that could simulate flying and with Spidey’s natural strength, it made for a convincing demonstration. His adventures were more straightforward as Spidey went around beating up on the villains. I think he probably shattered his cover when he decided to prove Spidey innocent, but it is worth it to get the main suit back. The plot was easily the most entertaining as well as the most action packed so it was a win-win situation. Too bad it didn’t get more screen time.

Ricochet was probably Spiderman’s most basic costume. He could throw things, but he mainly relied on his agility and acrobatics to win him the day. In this guise, Spiderman got to join up with some villains to take on some others. His teammates thought that they were simply using Ricochet when it was actually the other way around. Spidey’s partner seemed decently tough, but the matchup was against her as she fought someone who could KO you with a touch. This one comes in 3rd for me. It is interesting to see Spidey with more of a punk personality.

Finally, we have my least favorite guise….The Hornet. As this Vigilante, Spidey wasn’t totally on the law’s side or with the villains. He just did his own thing and tried to dig up some intel. I feel like the writers had started to run out of ideas by this point as there really isn’t a whole lot to say about this plot. It was more episodic and while the costume looked cool, he really had no personality. Luckily, it didn’t seem to eat up a whole lot of screen time, which is always a good thing. It wasn’t a bad guise, it just wasn’t very good.

As for Peter Parker, he was a pretty good character here. Once in a while, he would randomly make a choice that would make you scratch your head like when he decided to talk to the cops while in his Spiderman get up. It was unnecessarily risky when he could have done something a little safer. Still, by and large, Peter acts like the seasoned veteran that he should be. He’s been at this game for quite a while so he should know how it works. He has a lot of fun messing with Osborn while in his various get ups and it’s pretty fun to watch. He’s not perfect though and a big part of this is when he tries to hang out with a friend. I have no idea who this guy is and I’m guessing that he was phased out of the comics pretty quickly, but Peter doesn’t do a good job of handling this situation.

Peter is constantly blowing him off so the guy decides that they shouldn’t be friends. I really can’t blame him since Peter apparently left him hanging about 4-5 times in a row. You have to know when something’s not going to work and Peter should be careful about making a commitment considering his position. That was really the only point where we got to see this side of Peter and that’s certainly a good thing. (Unless you count certain college scenes, but that’s almost a running gag at this point and a little more understandable. There’s no way you can pass if you never actually study)

Norman Osborn probably looks better than I’ve ever seen him in this collection. He’s out to get Peter Parker so he constantly rants about destroying Spiderman while endorsing every other hero in the country. He is mostly using mind games instead of brute force and Spiderman counters each move. It’s a really good dynamic and Osborn acts a lot like Luthor here. He’s a compelling villain and the writer did a good job with that. Poor Norman is getting crushed in this battle of wills so far, but he’s certainly not down for the count yet.

It’s also cool to see the reactions of other heroes to Spiderman’s new alter egos. The Fantastic Four are pretty confident that they could take them out if necessary so they aren’t worried. At one point, Spiderman makes the mistake of hinting that he offed Spiderman while he was in his Hornet costume, which almost led to a fight with the Human Torch. It’s good to see that the Torch still fights for his friends and the direct threats were a nice change of pace. In a fight, the Human Torch can definitely hold his own so that would have been fun to see.

Mary Jane is also pretty reasonable here. Towards the end, it started to get a little dicey as she explained that she couldn’t put up with the situation anymore, but luckily it was not in a very serious way. She calmed down by the next day and she did support Peter through this situation. After all, she created the four costumes for Peter to wear and making realistic ones would have been very difficult for Peter otherwise. Having someone who knows his secret is certainly helpful.

There’s not much to say about the other vilains, besides Osborn. Jack O Lantern makes a quick appearance along with one of his associates, but they’re hardly a threat. They’re like Mysterio in that they use illusion abilities and those get old really fast. We have Paste Pot Pete of course and the guy doesn’t seem bad. To an extent, he seems to wish that he had not turned over to the dark side and he gets a lot of character development. There’s still hope for him. Meanwhile, a gang war is going on in the background and I’m sure that it will play more of a role in the future.

So, this collection was mostly just about fun and adventures as different heroes than about plot. The actual plot is that Spiderman needs to prove his innocence of course and he does that in the process, but seeing how Spiderman interacts with the world as a different persona in each issue is where the fun is really at. Adding this one to the collection of 80’s and 90’s Spiderman comics that I’ve read, it continues to make me believe that these were his golden years. They are simply packed with a lot of excitement and fun along with good writing. It’s very hard to top such a potent combo.

The art screams 90’s look as you read through this adventure. It is a distinct look that I am definitely a fan of. Everyone is bigger and bolder. It is hard to describe the effect in a more specific way. The panels are larger than usual and the characters look very imposing. This is definitely good for the fight scenes as you really feel the power behind the hits. This was also a pretty good era for power levels, even if the energy attacks of the era were hard to gauge.

Overall, This is a really fun adventure and it certainly reminds you of Spiderman when he was in his prime. Peter definitely isn’t perfect, but he is not going to hit on everyone that he meets. Spiderman is also taken seriously, something that simply isn’t done very often in the current comics. This was a very good comic so choosing between a 7 and an 8 was difficult. That being said, it is larger than the average collection so the fact that it could keep the quality up through all of the issues ended up earning it the extra star. I definitely recommend this title and if you find Spiderman to be an unlikable character, check this title out and see if you still feel that way.

Overall 8/10

Marvel Epic Collection The Amazing Spider Man Cosmic Adventures Review

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!

Overall 8/10

Mary Jane vs Lois Lane

Mary Jane may have spider powers, but Lois Lane has superman’s powers and with them scores easy wins against many opponents. They just didn’t have a chance against Super Speed, Super Strength, and ultimate defense. Mary Jane drops down the ranks with this loss, while Lois rises some spots up the blogging ranks. Lois Lane wins.

Mary Jane vs Anguirus

Mary Jane has her spidey powers. Anguirus may be a giant monster and he knows how to roar, but in the end that’s not enough to beat MJ. Mary Jane has good athletics and her spider webbing. In the end she takes this match. Anguirus may have lost this round, but he’ll be back one day. Mary Jane wins.

Spiderman vs Mary Jane

Mary Jane has been appearing in comics for a long time. Like Spiderman she’s a very well known character. Sadly for her she’s still no match for Spiderman. Spiderman has powers beyond her imagination. He constantly beats all sorts of opponents, no matter how powerful they are. Mary Jane may be strong, but as shown in Marvel Zombies, she’s just not strong enough. Spiderman wins.