Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Spider-Man: The Next Chapter Vol. 1

SPIDER-MAN: THE NEXT CHAPTER VOL. 1 (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 1-6, Amazing Spider-Man Annual '99, Peter Parker: Spider-Man Nos. 1-6 and Thor No. 8 (cover dates January-June, 1999)

Writers: Howard Mackie (both titles) and John Byrne (co-writer/plotter for ASM)

Artists: John Byrne (ASM), John Romita, Jr. (PP:SM) and John Buscema (ASM Ann.)

Yes! This is how I like my Spider-Man: Fighting! Laughing! Living life! And most importantly: Peter Parker! I was starting to feel worn down after reading all of those Clone Saga/ Ben Reilly trades. The often garish artwork and substandard writing coupled with Clone Spider-Man (a.k.a. Ben Reilly) tested my loyalty to the limit. I now understand why people abandoned Spider-Man in the mid-90s. These issues were a breath of fresh air, with vibrant artwork by John Byrne and John Romita Jr. that leaped right off of the pages. 

Artwork by John Byrne

I had the floppies of these, and you can read what I thought of them here. They were garage sale finds for like $1.00 a piece, and they hold up just as well on the re-read. The writing is so good, the artwork is so good...these feel like comic books to me, not “chapters in a graphic novel” (term used facetiously to describe modern, made-for-the-trade floppies). Only the Spider-Women arc towards the end is iffy, but even that had its moments. 

Artwork by John Romita, Jr.

I love these thick-ass trade paperbacks. The only problem with them is that they make me feel like I'm not maintaining my “productivity” because they can take almost a week to plow through. It's a nice problem to have when the stories are as wonderful as these are. This was an absolute joy to read.

More John Byrne goodness.

The OCD zone- Nice thick coated stock paper. All variant covers (and I mean all, even Dynamic Forces variants) are included.


  1. Great review, sir. Dig them thick-ass books...

    I didn't read much '90s Spider-Man after the Image defection (I bailed during Mark Bagley's run), but I've been curious about the relaunch with Byrne and JRJR (who are both usually solid storytellers).

    At the time, I thought that Byrne going back to Marvel and DC after Next Men was a cop-out and a step backward. But those pages look pretty good to me! I hope Marvel collects all of this Spidey stuff up to the JMS run.

    (And I'm really crossing my fingers for a complete collection of the Mark Buckingham issues, since those were so haphazardly collected the first time around...)

  2. Yeah, that's one of the reasons that I now snap pictures with my phone as I'm reading. Rather than trying to describe how awesome the artwork is, it's sometimes easier just to SHOW YOU THE ARTWORK.
    Marvel has been steadily reissuing the out of print '90s Spider-Man trades (Identity Crisis is in the pipeline; there's an Amazon fish up), and I have been steadily dumping them on eBay and upgrading. I just picked up the reissued and vastly superior Origin of the Hobgoblin TPB. I want to see everything collected. Between my floppies, both originals and Marvel Tales, I read every issue of Amazing Spider-Man from 1962-1986 in 1986-87, and I want to see everything collected because it is my mission to sit down and once again read the entire run, 1962-20??.