Thursday, June 5, 2014


SPIDER-MAN: CHAPTER ONE (Marvel, 2011; Softcover)
Collects Spider-Man: Chapter One Nos. 0-12 (cover dates December, 1998- October, 1999)
Writer and Artist (and Letterer): John Byrne
Inker, #10-12: Al Milgrom

Reboots may seem old hat nowadays, but there was a time when such things were new and handled with the utmost care. John Byrne rebooted Superman in the mid '80s when DC was trying to streamline their continuity and he was brought back to help Marvel do the same in the post-Heroes Reborn era. Marvel was dead in the water in the late '90s, the result of bad business dealings which resulted in bankruptcy. While fans are aware of the Ultimate Spider-Man series, this gentler reboot by John Byrne predates it by more than a year.

While attempting to update parts of Spider-Man's origins, Byrne introduced some concepts which didn't really work, such as making the Sandman and Norman Osborn (a/k/a the Green Goblin) related and Electro's godawful “updated” look. By and large this is a channel surfing version of the first 19 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Byrne glosses over some issues but by and large tightens things up. This is as much a retelling as it is a reboot.
Byrne was in cash cow mode here, being writer, artist, and letterer. This wasn't his high point as an artist, but his work is still decent for the most part. Many fans have decided that this series is not canon. Marvel has made so much of their continuity meaningless over the years that it can be difficult for one to tell exactly what is canon any more or not.
 I bought the floppies of this series a decade or so ago when I first heard about them, figuring that there was zero chance of this ever being compiled in a trade paperback. As always, I am happy to be proven wrong. This is an enjoyable but not essential read. If you are a John Byrne fan then it's a must read book.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love these chunky trade paperbacks. I might pass on one or two smaller books, but give me a chunky monkey of a book like this and I am all over it.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Respinning The Web by John Byrne from #1. (1 page)
#1 Dynamic Forces Variant by Jae Lee and Jose Villarrubia. (1 page)
#2 Dynamic Forces Variant by Jae Lee and Jose Villarrubia. (1 page)
#2 Variant by John Byrne. (1 page)
All 12 standard cover minus trade dress, four per page. (3 pages)
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.75 out of 5. Everything looks great except for #6, page 10 and #6, page 14. The latter has severe pixelation, like it was scanned from a printed page at an extremely low resolution.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Beautiful thick glossy stock.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick waxlike lamination which will ensure longterm durability on your bookshelf.


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