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Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine/No 1 Paperback – September, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
Spider-Man and Wolverine had crossed paths on a few occasions before this time, and one thing that was clear between the two... They didn't like each other. I'm not sure if there was even a mutual respect. One thing was for sure though, comic fans were waiting for the longest to see the two really fight it out. Spider-Man was already a juggernaut in terms of popularity and Wolverine was well on his way towards the same recognition. Marvel decided to task Jim Owsley with bringing the two together in an epic clash; what he delivered was quite possibly the best confrontation between the two Marvel stars ever written. I give Brian M. Bendis a lot of credit for how he has handled the characters over the last several years or so, but Owsley's writing was a match up made in comic heaven. Originally written in 1987, this TPB collects the entire story in a single book.
This is a magnificent story that belongs in every comic fans collection. It's very well put together from start to finish. It's rare to see an outstanding beginning capped off with an outstanding finish. Owsley's writing is too good; the inner monologue, character interactions, character development, are about as perfect as you will ever see in a comic. Spider-Man's anguish in having to take pictures of the dead bodies was genuine and not something you saw often in his own books. There's a good amount of depth with the character that brings him and everyone in his world to life; from the hug by Mary Jane in which this story takes place before their marriage, to the friendly bickering in Aunt May's house. Wolverine isn't equally awesome here, but you get a good idea on what makes him such a great character. In one segment, he passes by Peter Parker in the street and from his scent alone he learns right then that's Spider-Man.
The plot follows the two as Wolverine attempts to stop Charlie from killing more people, and Spider-Man is tagging along while Wolverine is telling him to go home because he does not belong in this world. The book has a good amount of action, suspense, drama, and it all comes together delivering a worthwhile experience. There's even a murder that takes place in this story that heavily effected the Spider-Man continuity, to be more specific, it played deep into the ongoing story of the Hobgoblin. This particular story element would be revisited in 2007 during the Hobgoblin Lives storyline, and despite this all beginning in the mid 80's; the conclusion to all of this that took place in 2007 was every bit as hard-hitting as the introduction. In the comic book world that is some serious impact, and the book earns more points for this.
Mark Brights artwork doesn't really shine until the end during Spider-Man and Wolverine's fight. The illustrations at this point feels married to the dialog; there's an artistic rhythm between art and monologue that speaks volumes to me bringing an unreal amount of depth to their struggle. I was able to feel Spider-Man's fear in this battle because Wolverine simply scared him. This is among their best battles against anyone ever. Now I mentioned that Bright's artwork isn't very strong until the end, but I'm not saying it's bad though, the narrative is just that strong through out. The character designs, their emotions, action, are done very well and certain moments work nicely towards the dramatic and even comedic effect at times.
There are plenty of comics out there this good and even better. It's just that Spider-Man vs. Wolverine ranks very high as one of my favorites. It's definitely newbie friendly since the two characters are well developed, and the strong narrative holds up even now. It even feels ahead of its time because you don't find many, or any vs. stories with this much depth. I highly recommend picking this book up if you have any interest in it at all.
Pros: Very strong narrative
Spidey does a lot of soul-searching in this story. Even superheroes have slumps, and he finds himself deep in the middle of a big one right now. After showing up too late to save the day for several victims, including a couple of his friends, Peter Parker begins to wonder why he even bothers putting on his Spidey suit every day. The fact that he photographs himself in action makes him feel a little dirty about the whole thing, as well. Then there are his relationships, including his friendship with Mary Jane Watson (who is not, he insists, his girlfriend). It's all too much, and Peter Parker makes the decision to start being Peter Parker all the time and give up his life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. When he is assigned by Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson to accompany Ned Leeds to Europe to cover the developing story of a mystery assassin knocking off former KGB agents, he doesn't even pack his Spider-Man suit.
In Germany, he encounters Logan, aka Wolverine. Both are surprised to see one another over there, but it turns out they are both looking for the killer named Charlemagne. Charlie just so happens to be one of Wolverine's best friends, and he's determined to find this person and put a stop to the killing - even though he personally feels no regrets over the deaths of former KGB agents who betrayed and almost got Charlie killed several years earlier. As events progress, Spider-Man really gets in Wolverine's way, and he comes off looking like a real amateur in the art of superhero work. The mutant warns Spidey to go home, telling him he's in way over his head, and Spider-Man almost leaves Germany with his tail between his legs. In the end, though, he stays - and his whole do-gooder mentality brings him into perfectly justifiable conflict with Wolverine in the story's climactic ending. The two go at it pretty good in what initially appears to be a life or death contest; it actually is a life or death struggle, but not in the way you might think.
This 64-page story ends in an emotionally shocking manner that will haunt Spider-Man for some time to come. It truly is a powerful story, one of the most compelling comic book reads I've ever come across. In a very real sense, Spider-Man vs. Wolverine leads Spidey to come to terms with and redefine himself as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. It also features the death of a long-time, significant character in Spidey's world. Spider-Man vs Wolverine, for a number of reasons, is really one of the best, most compelling comic book stories I've ever read.
This one was surprisingly well done. Both Wolverine and Spidey's characters are true to form. Spidey cracks jokes and, as usual, gets in a little over his head by trying to do what's right. Wolverine proves just how much of a [tough-guy] he is, and also says and does things that show that inside he is a very intelligent man who also understands how to manipulate people.
The story is an entertaining and self-contained one, yet still one that manages to have far-reaching implications in the Marvel Universe; traits that all Marvel comics creative teams should try to emulate.
The dialogue and art are well done. Chronologically, this story takes place soon before the "Wedding of Spiderman" storyline.
The story has a few neat twists, and the art is well-done, but it's most memorable for the death of a long-time supporting character, who, as it later turned out, was the Villain known as The Hobgoblin.
A well-told story that's worth a look.