Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Classics - Amazing Spider-Man #229 & #230

   When you talk about classic stories featuring The Amazing Spider-Man, we usually mention Lee, Ditko and Romita - but there have certainly been other creative teams that made their mark on the character.

   One of my favorites is featured in this two-issue series from 1982 written by Roger Stern (who is certainly one of the best - and most underrated - comics writers of all time).

   Stern was teamed with another Romita - John Jr., who was early in his career, drawing in a style that featured influences from his father to John Buscema. The stories were inked by the legendary Jim Mooney.

   Spider-Man is often at his best when facing the foe he shouldn't be able to beat - and next to the Hulk, there are few bad guys in the Marvel Universe tougher than the Juggernaut.

   Cain Marko gained incredible powers from a mystic gem, leaving him a human tank - immensely powerful, impervious to harm, virtually unstoppable - in other words, much more powerful than Spider-Man.

   Here he steps away from his usual home in the X-Men comic and journeys to New York City, where he plans to capture the mysterious psychic known as Madame Web. She calls on Spidey to defend her, and he spends two issues trying to find a way to stop the unstoppable.

   In the hands of most creative teams, it would be a one-sided fight - but Stern and Romita, Jr. come up with some ingenious attacks from Spidey - and his final solution is stunning.

   And with all that going on, Stern manages to work in the usual supporting characters and some drama at the Daily Bugle.

   Some of my favorite Spider-Man stories pit that hero against an impossible challenge, from Doctor Octopus to the Rhino or the Kingpin - and watching our hero make creative use of his powers, and his mind, and his determination, to find a way to win, makes for a mighty satisfying story.

   A real classic!

Grade: A




Mr. Brooks said...

On Mr. Stern's watch Peter, for the first time, grew up. The only Spider-Man omnibus I own is the Roger Stern version. Some of the BEST Spidey stories were written by him. Few writers could match Mr. Stern for characterization (except Dwayne McDuffie).

Underrated? Hell yes! Why isn't he writing comics now? I would put him on SUPERMAN, AQUAMAN, GREEN LANTERN, SHAZAM, or the JUSTICE LEAGUE in a heartbeat.

Chuck said...

I agree completely, Mr. B.

Also the Avengers, Dr. Strange or anything else he wanted to write.