Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review- SPIDER-MAN: NOTHING CAN STOP THE JUGGERNAUT

SPIDER-MAN: NOTHING CAN STOP THE JUGGERNAUT (Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 224-230 (cover dates January- July, 1982)
Writer: Roger Stern and Jan Strnad (#228)
Artists: Pencilers- John Romita, Jr. (224-227, 229, 230) and Rick Leonardi (#228)
Inkers- Pablos Marcos (224), Bob Wiaceck (225), Jim Mooney (226, 227, 229, 230), and Dave Simons (228)

This run of Spider-Man is art of the highest order. Roger Stern's era on the title is burned into my brain, so much so that I need not even read these issues. I can recite them nearly word for word. While I didn't buy these particular issues off of the stands at the time, they were all inexpensive back issues circa 1983-1985. Then I re-bought them when I got into collected editions a decade ago in the black and white Spider-Man: Murder By Spider trade paperback...then again in The Sensational Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut trade paperback- if you could call it that, at a mere 2 issues...again when issues 229 and 230 were reprinted in the Spider-Man Wizard Masterpiece Edition hardcover...and again in Essential Spider-Man Vol. 11...and, finally, again with this book. Not one to pass on an upgrade opportunity, I will be purchasing this material again for the endgame format, the Spider-Man By Roger Stern Omnibus, coming in early 2014. Why don't I simply set up pre-tax payroll deductions for Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr. while I'm at it? Cripes!
Tales of excessive upgrading aside, these are some of the best Spider-Man stories ever. Issue 224 shows the Vulture “reborn” as a serious contender, while 225 has a highly amusing Foolkiller story. I agree with the Foolkiller quite often, as I don't suffer fools lightly. Those without poetry in their souls are indeed the greatest fools of them all! Issues 226 and 227 features the return of the Black Cat. I found #227 in a quarter box in 1983. Issue 228 was something of a fill-in issue not by the regular creative team, a sort of catch your breath because Stern/Romita, Jr. were getting ready to kick into high gear with Issues 229 and 230.
Issues 229 and 230 are, quite frankly, among the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told. Every ingredient that has made this character great is on display here. Spider-Man is hopelessly outclassed by the Juggernaut, and everything that he tries to stop him fails. When Madame Web tries to enlist the help of The Avengers and the Fantastic Four and finds them both unavailable, Spider-Man nearly gives up. It is this strength of perseverance in the face of unbeatable odds that speaks to so many people. Roger Stern gets it. There is a reason why so many fans point to the early 1980s as one of the best periods for this title.
John Romita, Jr. comes into his own during this period. He has the genetic gift of being John Romita, Sr.'s son, and is thus the heir to the throne of this title. I've always felt that Spider-Man was his birthright, and I wish that he were still drawing it. There is great artwork throughout the book, especially the Jim Mooney inked issues. He has the pedigree and helps give the big an old school feel to it. 
If you have never read this era of Spider-Man then you need to rectify this immediately. You'll be glad that you did.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- The late, lamented Marvel Premiere Classic line was sort of a junior Masterworks line. Classic material presented in hardcover with nice paper and sewn binding at a much lower MSRP.
Why wasn't the cover of the Spider-Man: Murder By Spider trade paperback included in this book? Jeph York must have been dozing off while researching this one...
DVD-style Extras included in this book: The Sensational Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut trade paperback cover.
The covers to issues 226 and 230 done with modern computer coloring as seen on the book market version of the dustjacket (seen above).
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.75 out of 5. The restoration is excellent throughout the book, although several pages are printed crooked in issue 230. I do not believe that this is a printer error, as it is the same as some of the earlier Essentials. A disappointment whose blow is softened by the fact that I am going to give this book to my son when I upgrade to the Omnibus anyways.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Heavyweight thick coated stock paper with a slight sheen. It also has that sweet smelling toxic Chinese ink.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Sewn binding. The book lays completely flat because the book block is not glued square to the casing/spine, allowing for a good deal of flex even if you don't see much hollowing.




2 comments:

  1. OK, you win. You have this material in waaaaay more formats than I do.
    But if there was ever any run of comics that deserved multiple purchases, it's Stern's Spider-Man.
    I'm counting the days until that omnibus.......

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    Replies
    1. Haha...I still have the Essential but sold the rest. I'm going to give this book to my son. I am also WAY excited about the Roger Stern Omnibus.

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