16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Essential Spider-Man, Vol.2 (Paperback)
For any latter-day comics fans who wonder why Spider-Man, and not the X-Men, remains the most visible character in Marvel's stable today need to pick up "Essential Spider-Man vol. 2" for a primer on how comics are written and characters established. (Chris Claremont, call your office).
Spider-Man was always obviously the first love of writer Stan Lee. Rather than crank out the usual superhero nonsense displayed over at Marvel's Distinguished Competition for most of the 60s, Lee and artist Steve Ditko created in Peter Parker a character as unique and compelling as his alter ego. As a high schooler blessed with great power but constantly struggling to balance the demands of his life, Parker is a poignant and realistic hero.
I will illustrate this with just two examples from this collection. In the first, Parker's beloved Aunt May is dying of an incurable disease he unwittingly introduced to her bloodstream. To save her, he needs a rare isotope recently stolen by an enigmatic crime figure. After frenetically rampaging through New York to unravel this criminal organization, Spider-Man battles his foe in his headquarters, only to be buried under tons of machinery as the ceiling collapses and the river begins to flood in, the isotope a few feet away. Spider-Man struggles to free himself despite the enormous weight of the machine, his exhaustion, and his own nagging self-doubts, knowing that he alone can save the woman who raised him. Powerful stuff, indeed, powerfully illustrated in Steve Ditko's swan song on the series.
Fast forward to his next encounter with the Green Goblin, a madman who discovers his identity and attacks him at his house. Peter Parker, terrified of having his identity exposed or having his frail aunt exposed to danger, battles the Goblin in his own front yard, eventually allowing himself to be beaten and dragged away to the villain's hideout, where he discovers the shocking secret identity of his foe. New artist John Romita turns in an incredible performance here.
I highly recommend this collection to all comics fans. Excelsior!