Monday, April 8, 2013

Review- ESSENTIAL WEB OF SPIDER-MAN VOL. 2

ESSENTIAL WEB OF SPIDER-MAN VOL. 2 (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Web of Spider-Man Nos. 19-32, Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 293, 294, Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Nos. 131, 132, and Web of Spider-Man Annual No. 3 (cover dates October, 1986- November, 1987)
Writers: David Michelinie (19, 20, 23, 24), Larry Lieber (21, 25), Len Kaminski (22, 24, 26), Bob Layton (28), J.M. DeMatteis (31, 32, ASM 293, 294, PPTSSM 131, 132), Dwight Jon Zimmerman (27), Jim Owsley (29, 30), and more.
Artists: Bob McLeod (19, 20, 31, 32, ASM 293, 294, PPTSSM 131, 132), Mike Zeck (31, 32, ASM 293, 294, PPTSSM 131, 132), Larry Lieber (21, 25), Marc Silvestri (19, 20), Steve Geiger (28-30), Vince Colletta (23-25), and others.

I bought every one of these issues from the Direct Market on the day of release. Aside from the brilliant Kraven's Last Hunt arc, there's not much in the way of greatness here. There are some fine, solid stories, and there are a few clunkers that I disliked as a teenager and dislike as an adult.
Most of the issue covers are “iconic” inventory specials, having nothing to do with the story inside. Issue 26 sports a great Charles Vess cover, but there's a problem. Vess depicts Spidey wearing his black costume, while in the issue itself he wears his red and blue costume. The disconnect between cover art and story would again rear its ugly head in the early Aughts. 
Most of the creators involved in this book were competent. Steve Geiger's artwork was a cut above the rest, though. I wonder whatever happened to him? Issues 29 and 30 feature the then-true-in-continuity origin of the Hobgoblin as well as the origin of the Rose. Those were both great issues. Issues 28-32 all featured a notable uptick in quality as a whole over the rest of the series at that point.
The icing on this cake is, of course, Kraven's Last Hunt. I remember reading all 6 parts across the three titles in June and July of 1987 and loving them. It was pouring rain the night issue 31 was released, and I remember reading it with the smell of the rain coming into my bedroom. My family was poor and we had no air conditioning...or cable TV. This arc has been reprinted multiple times, and across multiple formats. I have the 1989 hardcover. It has never been reprinted with the original color palette intact, however. 
Artwork by Mike Zeck. Whatever happened to him? I'd love to see him do something for Marvel again.
This was a solid if mostly unremarkable era for Spider-Man. I do look forward to the day when these books are reprinted in Masterworks or Omnibus editions. Bring on Essential Web of Spider-Man Vol. 3!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This book is another example of why Marvel needs to condense all three Spider-Man lines into one when they reach this point of publication. The Kraven's Last Hunt storyline went across all three lines, so this will have to be collected three times if they don't.
Linework restoration rating: 4 out of 5. The linework looks fine except for the Kraven's Last Hunt storyline. Those issues look decent for the most part, but Web of Spider-Man No. 32 looks awful. There are a few rough spots throughout the book. The untrained eye won't catch them, but unfortunately for me I see dead people...and by dead people I mean linework dropouts and pixelation. I'm ill.
Paper rating: 3 out of 5. Part of the appeal of the Essential line of phonebook-sized trade paperbacks is that you get 480-500+ pages for $19.99 MSRP (lower if you click the link below). In order to achieve this low low price point, cheap paper and black and white printing are necessary. I like the cheap pulp paper used on these books. I also enjoy the black and white reprints, as some artists' work looks better in black and white than in color.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Typical glued binding on a softcover.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The usual thick, high quality cardstock cover coating found on all Marvel collected editions.

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Yes, I tend to bounce between this many books at a time.

2 comments:

  1. I laugh at your puny night stand pile.

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  2. I admire that you can switch between books. I'm so damn rigid that I force myself to finish books I'm hating before moving on. - steve

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