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Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff Hardcover – July 27, 2011
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Oh, and MJ is there too.
Spidey fights himself more in this collection than any threat, and in the end loses, as the man behind Sin-Earer triumphs.
This is often placed among the top 10 Spider-man stories, and it deserves its place. In the paperback are actually two stories that are closely linked, the first four issues being Spider-man vs. the Sin-eater, and the final three being a story a year or two afterwards that is closely linked.
Jean DeWolff is a pretty minor character in the first story, and though it is implied that she played an important role in Spidey's life in the years leading up to the story, it's not important to know who she is. It plays kind of like a mystery story, with the villain's true identity and motives only gradually revealed. It's a modestly clever plot, but what makes the comic is the inner life of both Spider-man and Daredevil, who plays a very large role in the story. They both must face failure and tragedy, but draw different conclusions about justice, vengeance, and revenge. Peter David is known for examining the psychology and motivations of the superheroes he writes about, and he does it well here while keeping up a fast-moving crime story.
In the second story, Spider-man must face the consequences of his actions in the first, and make a judgement of how much good his beating up bad guys really do. He has to juggle the Sin-Eater, who may or may not be trying to overcome his criminal past, with Electro, who is openly trying to take the next step in supervillainy. Another really well-done and focused story.
This is classic mid-1980's comic book art. It has pretty regimented panels and straightforward style and coloring, but it's done well. Rick Buckler does a good job with the facial expressions and body language in the first story, and Sal Buscema in the second story goes a little bit more abstract and exaggerated, but perhaps because of when I started reading Spidey as a kid, his art is ingrained in my head as the ideal Spider-man.
The quality of the paper is good and the art is printed at good size with clear coloring, with enough border around for page numberings and no art lost in the spine. Because there are no double-splash pages, the spine border is appreciated. There are no introductions or extras, which might have been nice, but the comics speak for themselves, and the original cover art is included with the issues.
Overall it's not a groundbreaking superhero comic, but is a real quality story for Spider-man or Daredevil fans.