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Reviewing Spectacular Spider-Man Volumes 1 and 2 September 12, 2008

Posted by vorpalkeith in Comic Review.
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When I was at Heroes Con I managed to snag a bunch of Marvel trades (thank you 75% bin!) and I picked up the first three volumes of Paul Jenkins’ run on Spectacular Spider-Man from back in the early 2000’s (it was, after all, so long ago).  I didn’t know entirely what to expect, but I love me some Spidey and I especially love me some 75% off, so I took the carefully laid bait.  This past week I finally got around to beginning them.

What a fantastic series!  Why did I wait so long for this?

The first volume, entitled “The Hunger”, deals with the revelation of Eddie Brock’s cancer and the Venom symbiote’s search for a new host.  It reveals why the symbiote was so fixated on Spider-Man as well.   Due to his heightened abilities and adrenal system, the symbiote was able to feed on him like on nothing else.  In essence, it was addicted to his spider sense.

The second volume is called “Countdown” and it’s a classic Doctor Octopus story.  In an attempt to blackmail Spider-Man into revealing his secret identity Doc Ock kidnaps the ambassador for the newly recognized Palestinian state, derailing the delicate peace process.  If Spidey doesn’t reveal his identity Doc Ock will kill the ambassador, throwing the entire Middle East into further turmoil that threatens to boil over into a world conflict.

On of my favorite aspects of Jenkins’ writing on this is that he’s building up a healthy supporting cast around Peter Parker.  It truly makes him feel like the Friendly NEIGHBORHOOD Spider-Man.  Pete feels like someone you’d have down the hall from you at school or something and it just works so well.

I think the strongest addition to this supporting cast is a man called Big John.  He’s a heavily accented immigrant from New Zealand that came to New York for two reasons.  First, to meet girls.  Second, in the hopes that he can meet a superhero and become their sidekick.  He even has a name picked out for himself: The Kiwi Kid.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the art.  These two volumes are beautifully illustrated by Humberto Ramos, whose work I’m finding I like more and more every day.  He particularly shines when drawing Spider-Man because you truly get a sense of the movement of this character in the panels.  Great stuff.

I know that before he launched Spectacular Paul Jenkins was writing a series called Peter Parker, Spider-Man.  From the sounds of it Spectacular rolls right out of that as a direct continuation, and I think I’m going to have to start picking up the older volumes of Peter Parker, Spider-Man too.

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